Get a green card after graduation? Donald Trump's U-turn offers hope for Indians

Former US President Donald Trump, seeking to return to the top job in this year's election, has softened his stance on immigration and introduced a new proposal that would benefit Indian and other foreign students.

The Republican leader, known for his staunch rhetoric against immigration, has promised that if he is elected, foreign students who graduate from American universities will automatically receive green cards, allowing them to permanently reside in the United States.

Trump said these students graduated from American universities and became billionaires after returning to their home countries such as India and China. He tried to replicate the same approach in the United States.

The upcoming US presidential election in November is expected to feature a second showdown between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump, with immigration and deportation of illegal immigrants being one of the key issues of concern to voters.

On the campaign trail earlier this year, Trump referred to illegal immigrants as “animals, not humans.” However, he said in a recent podcast that he has always supported a merit-based legal immigration system.

He said on the “All-In” podcast that he plans to automatically offer green cards to students graduating from U.S. universities as part of their diploma, which would help them stay in the United States.

The podcast is hosted by Chamath Palihapitiya, Jason Calacanis, David Sacks and David Friedberg, all venture capitalists, three of whom are immigrants.

“People graduate from top colleges or universities and they really want to stay here, they have a plan for a company, a concept, but they can't — they go back to India, they go back to China,” Trump recalled on the podcast. Do the same basic companies in those places… they become billionaires and employ thousands of people that could have been done here.

A green card is the identification document for permanent residence in the United States.

The former president further lamented that “we've lost talent from Harvard, MIT, and the greatest schools.”

He also reiterated the policy for the first semester that foreign students receive green cards after earning higher education degrees in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.

“Anyone who graduates from college, you're there for two or four years, and if you graduate from college or get a Ph.D., you should be able to stay in this country,” Trump said.

“We force those talented people, the people who come out of college, the top of their class from the best colleges, and you have to be able to recruit those people and retain those people,” the former president asserted.

Some top graduates can't even reach deals with companies because they don't think they can stay in the country, but this “will end one day,” he said.

Trump's recent comments stand in sharp contrast to his immigration policies during his administration, which included restrictions on green cards and visas.

As of the 2022-23 academic year, there are more than 1 million foreign students studying at American universities in the United States, and this number is expected to continue to rise.

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