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Immigrants are here not for jobs but the American dream, says Indian American Rep. Ro Khanna

Ro Khanna said the point-based system will harm the Silicon Valley and not all immigrant innovators were proficient in English when they first came.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA 17th District)

Indian American congressman from Silicon Valley, Ro Khanna, said Trump administration’s proposed point-based immigration system is detrimental to his constituency, and the country as a whole.

“People are not just software engineers. They have mothers and they have sisters and they have family. And usually people come to this country because they have a dream for themselves and their family; not because they seek to be employees at a multinational corporation,” Khanna said during a video interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. “And what this does [RAISE Act] is it says that it rolls back that idea that you can be part of the American dream.”

Khanna also said that not all immigrants, who are doing very well in the Silicon Valley, spoke good English when they arrived; but, they learned after coming to the US. “There are so many people in the valley, by the way, who didn’t speak fluent English when they came here and are now … leading innovators and have great startups. So this idea that you would be required to have a proficiency in English before you come here, I guess the question is that what problem are they trying to solve … that’s what I don’t understand.”

Khanna also expressed his views on the universal minimum income. “I am not for a universal minimum income divorced from work and this is an important distinction because there are people, Zuckerberg and others have gone and said let’s just have a universal minimum; everyone gets a check of a certain amount. What I have said is, we want to expand the earned income tax credit by trillion dollars which is basically if you are working, you get a refund back from the government.”

Explicating his concerns about the proposed merger of Amazon and Whole Foods, Khanna said that it would harm the smaller grocers. “Grocery stores for ethnic families are wealth-creating,” Khanna said. He asked whether the low prices are the sole criterion or should the impact on local businesses and jobs be also considered.

Referring to several decisions by the Trump administration, including on the foreign policies, Khanna said there is a real concern that “is he [Trump] going to do something that is foolhardy or brash.”


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