8th November, 2016, is the date that seems to have unfortunately set in motion an uncalled for hysteria, panic and commotion amongst the student community that seems to be gathering momentum thanks to the constant churning of misinformation, rumours and positively false news. A lot of students of wrongfully assumed and consequently made life altering decisions under the presumption that Mr. Donald Trump has been elected to sound the death knell of the American dreams. Nothing and we must stress here for the sake of the general welfare of the student community that nothing could be further from the truth. But before we go on to elucidate the reason behind our confident assumption; we would like to draw the attention of the student community to the famous quote by Mr. Elon Musk as regards the true nature and character of the American Presidency:

“Being US President is like being captain of a large ship with a small rudder – there’s a limit to how much damage they can do.”

We had the opportunity to meet a Professor from a well renowned university in the US. During the course of our conversation with the Professor, we were given to understand that the basic reason for the fear of the student community aspiring to pursue higher education in US is their wrongful presumption that the President of the United States has absolute and unbridled power to decide upon any and everything under the sun. To this end, the Professor drew our attention to the fact that executive orders issued by the President of the United States of America are subject to judicial review. In light of this, an executive order that violates the US Constitution and/or any other statute can very well be overturned by the judiciary. Aside to this, the legislative mechanism of the congress and the senate also serves to check the unbridled exercise of power by the US President.

The reason why we are trying to draw the attention of the student community to the limited nature of power of the US president is to ally their fear that no US president can write off your dreams by signing an executive order in case such order violates any US laws/statutes and/or US constitution. We are in no way trying to convey that this is in case is or has been the intention of Mr. Trump to begin with. On the contrary, he is not against foreign students pursuing higher education in the US. To clarify, President Trump is clearly against undocumented, illegal immigrants. Let us draw your attention to Mr. Trumps stand in his own words, Mr. Trump has said that:

I’m in favour of people coming into this country legally. And you know what? They can have it any way you want. You can call it visas, you can call it work permits, you can call it anything you want… As far as the visas are concerned, if we need people, it’s fine. They have to come into this country legally. We have a country of borders. We have a country of laws. We have to obey the laws. It’s fine if they come in, but they have to come in legally.”- President Donald Trump

The student community must realize the fact that they do not fall within the category of “illegal immigrant”. For some reason there is a lot of misconception about the very definition of legal immigrant that has consequentially resulted in this confusion.

A lot has been written and spoken even about the he proposed Act of Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) merely because it has the backing about of the President. As has always been the case, the first premise is to assume the negative. However, this is not really the case. On the contrary, in the event this Act is passed, it may actually be beneficial to the Indian diaspora. As per the RAISE Act, permanent merit-based system is proposed to be introduced for granting permanent residency as against the lottery system or through family members already having US citizenship. To this end, the merit system will consider high “points” for certain factors like (a) English language proficiency, (b) income levels, (c) age and (d) educational and professional qualifications for the purpose of ascertaining eligibility for a Green Card. In light of this, Indian community in US definitely stands to benefit. The RAISE Act will without doubt e of great advantage as in providing legal passage to non-resident Indians in the United States in light of the fact that most of the Indian immigrants qualify for the “points” with their elite qualifications in STEM fields.

As per the latest reports from the US Government, he is trying to make the entire H1b and the Green Card process into a merit based system which in turn would be helping the students pursuing their higher studies from the US. Students should understand the system first from reliable resources before jumping the guns and taking a call.

There is a lot of myth and confusion surrounding the H1B visa program as well. We will dispel the fear emanating from those myths in a separate article. However, in the meanwhile, we sincerely request the student community to focus on their dreams and do not let rumours, unwarranted fears and false media report rock the boat of their dreams.

 

Hiren Rathod
Business Head
Imperial Overseas Educational Consultants.

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