'They come back to India and become billionaires': Trump offers green cards to graduates

'They come back to India and become billionaires': Trump offers green cards to graduates

Former U.S. President Donald Trump proposed automatically issuing green cards to foreign students who graduate from U.S. universities, a major shift from his previous stance on immigration. The move is aimed at preventing them from returning to their home countries, such as India and China, where they often become multi-millionaires.

As the November presidential election approaches, Trump has reversed his previous anti-immigration rhetoric, coming at a critical time when immigration and deportation of illegal immigrants have become key issues for voters. Despite this shift, Trump has always supported a merit-based legal immigration system.

“I think college graduates should automatically get a green card as part of their diploma, allowing them to stay in this country. That should also apply to junior colleges,” Trump, 78, said in a speech led by venture capitalist Chamath Parihar. “All-In” podcast hosted by Chamath Palihapitiya, Jason Calacanis, David Sacks and David Friedberg , three of whom are immigrants.

A green card, formally known as a permanent resident card, allows a person to reside permanently in the United States.

During the podcast, Calacanis pressed Trump to commit to providing more opportunities for talented people from around the world to immigrate to the United States. Republican candidate Donald Trump lamented stories of top college graduates who were forced to return to India or China to start successful businesses because they were unable to stay in the United States.

“It’s a tragedy when we lose talented people from Harvard, MIT, and other top schools. They end up creating billion-dollar companies abroad, employing thousands of people, that could have been successful in America is done,” Trump said.

Trump reiterated his support for a first-term policy that proposed issuing green cards to foreign students who earned degrees from U.S. institutions, particularly in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“Graduates, whether they are from two-year colleges, four-year colleges or doctoral programs, should be able to stay in this country. We need to recruit and retain these talented people,” he asserted.

Trump criticized the current system in which top graduates struggle to secure employment deals because companies doubt their ability to stay in the United States. “This will be over on day one,” he declared.

According to the latest annual Open Doors Report from the Institute of International Education, more than 1 million international students from more than 210 countries studied at U.S. higher education institutions in the 2022-23 academic year. China remains the largest source of international students, although numbers have declined slightly. The number of students from India, the second largest source country, increased by 35% to a record 268,923 students.

Trump's latest comments stand in stark contrast to the immigration policies he implemented during his time in office, in which he sought to reduce family-based immigration and prioritize immigrants who are wealthy, skilled or highly educated. During his presidency, Trump imposed severe restrictions on green cards, visa programs, refugee resettlement and other forms of legal immigration, reducing the number of legal permanent residents entering the country.

Trump began his presidency with an executive order banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries and proposing to cut legal immigration in half. He has often criticized the H-1B visa program, which is critical for technology companies to hire foreign skilled workers, as detrimental to U.S. prosperity. His administration has expanded legal immigration restrictions during the pandemic, and Trump has proposed suspending all immigration and deporting foreign students if they do not attend certain classes in person. A month before the 2020 election, he again tightened the H-1B visa program.

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