Capitol Hill Advocacy Day focuses on three critical issues: immigration, US-India relations, and religious phobia
Indian American delegates from all over the United States have strongly advocated for the abolition of country-wise limits on employment-based permanent residency to create a fairer immigration system.
The issue was raised during discussions with more than 75 US House representatives and their staff at the US Capitol in Washington DC on April 27 on Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, organized by the Foundation of India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS).
Read: FIIDS seeks H-1B grace period extension to 180 days (March 23, 2023)
The delegates aimed to provide a voice for the 4.5 million Indian Americans who contribute to various fields but lack sufficient influence on policy matters, according to a FIIDS press release.
“In our advocacy day, we focused on three critical issues: immigration, US-India relations, and religious phobia,” said KhanderaoC, Founding Director of the FIIDS.
“We strongly advocated for the abolition of country-wise limits on employment-based permanent residency to create a fairer immigration system,” he said.
“To counter China’s dominance, we emphasized the importance of unblocking, supporting, and accelerating the Initiative of Critical and Emerging Technology (ICET),” said Kand.
“Additionally, we called for the expansion of the Indo Pacific QUAD to include regional countries, addressing security concerns about the security of Taiwan, and the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.
Read: Panel for extending grace period for H1-B workers to 180 days (March 15, 2023)
“Lastly, we raised concerns about religious phobia faced by faiths of Indian origin and proposed measures such as a congressional resolution on religious phobia,” said Kand.
The delegates received a warm welcome from Congressmen, the release stated. Representatives and their staff were actively engaged, asked questions and shared comments.
Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who introduced the backlog reduction act, was commended by the delegates, who expressed their commitment to supporting the bill.
Several House representatives spoke on various aspects of the US-India relations and praised the role of the Indian diaspora.
Krishnamoorthi highlighted the strength of the India-US partnership, attributing it to Indian Americans as the bridge that brings the two countries together.
Based on his own story from struggle to success as an immigrant, Congressman Shri Thanedar offered full support to solve immigration related issues.
Read: Indian American lawmakers call for immigration reform to reduce green card backlog (December 21, 2022)
Ro Khanna commended the Foundation of India and FIIDS for their effective advocacy, stating that he received positive feedback and was heartened by their efforts.
He emphasized that the involvement of Indian Americans is not only beneficial for their community but also contributes to the prosperity, security, and strength of the United States of America.
The day concluded with a celebration reception titled “The US-India Partnership,” which brought together house members, their staff, diplomats, think tank experts, officials, and delegates, the release stated.
The Indian diaspora and the US Congress have played a “pioneering role” in building and strengthening the relationship between the two countries, India’s ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), elaborated on the US-India partnership in drug control.
Mukesh Aghi, CEO and President of the US India Strategic Partnership Forum, discussed strategic partnership principles, emphasizing trade for economic prosperity in India and technology partnership to reduce dependency on Russia.
Read: Indian-American community leader urges US lawmakers to remove the 7 per cent country limit on green cards (April 27, 2023)
Congressman Glenn Grothman expressed concerns raised by Indian Americans regarding college admissions despite having good scores, advocating for education system reform.
Nissim B Reuben, Assistant Director of American Jewish Community (AJC), emphasized the potential for the Jewish and Indian-American Diaspora to work together in both domestic and international arenas.
The event was supported by AJC, Congressman Andy Barr and Dr. Suvas Desai, according to the release.
Read: USCIRF for targeted sanctions against India for religious freedom violations (May 2, 2023)