Nearly 2 million people in the United States are Indians. These Indians have lived in the country long enough to notice the changes under the Obama and Trump administration. Those individuals who have had no interest in politics have become concerned about their livelihood after President Trump entered the White House. Trump’s dangerous rhetoric, his ‘America first’, subtle encouragement of xenophobia are frightening the Indians residing there.
His right wing behaviour is essentially driving Indians out of the country. Their life has become onerous by the minute, alarming them. Here are some of the major concerns Indians living in the United States have about the Trump administration.
- Personal safety from xenophobes – this is a major concern for all Indians living in the United States. The rise of racial culture has dissuaded Indians from living a peaceful life. The feeling of constant fear while commuting in their daily surrounding is a matter of great concern. There have been reports of Indians being attacked and killed by racists. Indians often hear the statement: “Go back to your country!”. Most of the Indians that enter the United States are legal immigrants and have valid residence permits. Yet, they are concerned that they cannot lead a peaceful life, for the duration of their stay, as they are worried about how they will be treated by Americans. Though there is a non-discrimination policy at universities and offices, fear still overwhelms them. There is always a chance that they can get attacked inside their office or classroom, and not just in the outside world.
- Higher tax rates – the top one per cent of America’s richest gets the biggest tax break in American history. The 35 per cent tax break which they are receiving has the NRI’s concerned. In order to make-up for the tax breaks, Indians are concerned that they will have to pay more taxes. Indians, who constantly save the money they earn are worried as to how they will manage their expenses. Rent, food and commuting costs a lot of money, and if more taxes are levied, surviving would become a Herculean task. Many Indians are considering taking up a second job, or a high paying job. Some of them are even considering coming back to India as they cannot save enough to help their families or repay their loans.
- Unavailability of the work visa – as the H1B visa, or the work visa which the U.S. issues are currently being revised by the Trump administration. They have promised to consider India’s IT industry before tightening the rules. If obtaining a visa, and extending it will be harder. Indians will have to apply for the O visa – which requires extraordinary achievement in your particular field, to be considered. Sadly, not all Indians can be exceptionally talented or have great achievements, essentially driving them out of the country. The other option is to use the L-1 visa which is used only for a short stay, and is usually by only top management officials. Indians are considering applying to countries like Canada or Germany in order to earn a living.
- Unavailability of American citizenship – all those Indians who wish to obtain American citizenship or permanent residence in the United States, may have to forgo the American dream. Indians fear that Trump may sign an executive order that will not allow foreigners to apply to citizenship. If the rules to apply or extend a visa are going to be stringent, it is obvious that Trump administration will also prevent Indians immigrants from gaining citizenship easily. The procedure of getting citizenship is already stringent and the vetting process can be lengthy at times. This would mean that more than 2 million immigrants living in the United States will have to be deported sooner or later.
5. Being harassed on aeroplanes and airports – Indians are often mistaken for Latin Americans- and are often victims of insults, ostracism and verbal abuse. In addition, irrespective of whether they are Muslim or not, they are often questioned by immigration. They are taken separately and had their bags checked. At security, they are yelled at and demanded to – ‘Take it off!’. Ordering to take off all their coats. They thoroughly frisked more than white people, disregarding their gender. Immigration officers, given nasty looks by air hostesses, and ill-treated by passengers. Being detained for hours by the airport staff, for reason in particular, is a hassle experienced most often in the United States. This is emotionally fatiguing and a terrifying experience, especially when you haven’t done anything wrong.