Trump guarantees international students green cards after they graduate

Former US President Donald Trump has declared that his administration will launch a scheme to automatically award Green Cards to international students who graduate from US colleges and institutions if he is re-elected.

If Trump follows through on his pledge and is re-elected, Indian students—who make up the second largest country of origin for international students—stand to gain the most.

Collectively, alongside students from China—the largest source nation—they make up 53% of all registered international students in 2023.

The program will employ a “aggressive vetting process” to keep out “all communists, radical Islamists, Hamas supporters, America haters, and public charges (poor foreigners who are unable to fend for themselves and need government)”, the Trump campaign quickly backtracked after the former president’s remarks.

On Thursday, Trump made these comments in a podcast with two investors from Silicon Valley. In response to a question about his commitment to bringing the greatest and the brightest to America, he responded, “I do promise, but I happen to agree.”

“What I’ll do is if you graduate from college, I believe that your diploma should automatically include a Green Card, allowing you to remain in this country, he added.

A Green Card is a step toward full citizenship because it grants the bearer the ability to live and work in the US continuously (Permanent Residency). Annually, the United States of America is anticipated to issue one million Green Cards and enroll one million international students, the majority of whom come from China and India.

If the former President does indeed deliver on this promise if elected, it would mark a major expansion of the programme, doubling the number of Green Cards issued annually.

The most important question is whether he will, in fact, keep this promise.

His administration attempted to limit immigration and specifically targeted Indians entering the country on H-1B short-term non-immigrant work visas between 2017 and 2021. He had been an advocate for the H-1B program prior to becoming office.

The vast majority of Indian students enrolled in US universities and colleges go on to obtain H-1B visas, work for US businesses, and eventually obtain citizenship and Green Cards. Two notable instances are Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, and Shantanu Narayen, the CEO of Adobe. To obtain Green Cards, international students must first go through the H-1B or other work visa stage.

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