Trump’s tweet on H-1B and path to citizenship evokes lukewarm response

Credit: White House.

“Tweets are not enough and we need to see some action.”

President Trump’s tweet on Friday that promised H-1B visa holders simplicity and certainty could have been just the New Year gift millions of immigrants on the visa were hoping for. But looks like, quite jaded by the uncertainty and lack of a clear path of what lays ahead of them, most immigrants are still cagey about the realization of the promises.

The president posted the tweet, a day after he returned from a trip to the US-Mexico border. While all eyes are currently set on the federal government shutdown and the logistics of a wall, the president’s statement about H1B came as a surprise.

RELATED: Trump talks about changes in H-1B Visa, including a possible citizenship (January 11, 2019)

Trump, in the tweet, also declared that the United States wants highly skilled and talented people to immigrate to the country and pursue their career.

Trump tweeted: H1-B holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship. We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.”

The tweet, which has been liked more than 128,000 times and re-tweeted more than 30,000 times by 9 pm EST on Saturday, however has not immediately fueled any hopes amongst the Indian H-1B visa holders in the United States.

Kansas City-based immigration attorney Rekha Sharma Crawford thinks that there should be more concrete action from the administration for people to feel hopeful. She says that the path to citizenship can only be created by the Congress. Talking to the American Bazaar about the tweet, she says, “The president is always creating distractions that are not always supported by facts. He cannot create a path to citizenship, only Congress can. While his willingness to consider such legislation is a good sign, until the law is actually written and signed, people should remain cautiously optimistic.”

On the ground level, though the tweet did generate enough talking points, those who have been waiting for a long time in uncertainty remain cagey about the outcome of “another” promise.

More: The American Bazaar’s H-1B archive

San Francisco Bay Area-based engineer and software professional at Intel Sujata Tibrewala, who came from India to the United States, is on an H-1B visa while she awaits her green card. She says, “I will refrain from surmising until I see anything concrete, especially from this administration. And yes, if anything comes out of this then it has been long overdue.”

Talking about her own wait she says, “In any other country, we would have been citizens by now, just looking at the taxes and social security we play every year for the last 9 years.

Tibrewala also belongs to a growing number of highly qualified professionals from India, who have in the recent past toyed with the idea of moving to Canada but she says if the tweet means anything good, she would rethink her decision. “But still his tweets are not enough and we need to see some action,” she says.

But despite this jaded sense of optimism, Trump’s Indian American supporters see it as an extremely positive step. Jitendra Diganvker, a Republican who ran for Illinois 8th Congressional district this past November, says, “President Trump’s statement in his tweet emphasizes his pro-development agenda. I certainly support his views that a simpler path to citizenship for H-1B holders would greatly benefit American businesses with an accessible talent pool. Any legal entry to do business in America should be given a clear path to citizenship to sustain them for the development of our great country.”

He adds, “The news is good for the Indian American community, many of whom are H1-B holders and highly qualified.”


Waiting for the Wait to End: The human face of Indian immigrants caught in the Green Card backlog (December 4, 2018)

H-4 and H-1: Time for Indian immigrants to speak up on immigration policy, says author Amy Bhatt (January 5, 2019)

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