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'They Return To India, Become Billionaires': Trump On Green Cards For Grads

'They Return To India, Become Billionaires': Trump On Green Cards For Grads

In a significant shift from his previous stance on immigration, former US President Donald Trump has proposed granting automatic green cards to foreign students who graduate from US colleges. This move aims to prevent them from returning to their home countries, such as India and China, where they often become multimillionaires.

With the November presidential election approaching, Trump’s departure from his previous anti-immigrant rhetoric comes at a crucial time when immigration and the deportation of illegal immigrants are key issues for voters. Despite this shift, Trump has consistently supported a merit-based legal immigration system.

“I believe that graduates from colleges should automatically receive a Green Card as part of their diploma, enabling them to stay in this country. This should apply to junior colleges as well,” Trump, 78, said in the "All-In" podcast hosted by venture capitalists Chamath Palihapitiya, Jason Calacanis, David Sacks, and David Friedberg, three of whom are immigrants.

A Green Card, officially known as a permanent resident card, allows a person to reside permanently in the United States.

During the podcast, Trump was pressed by Calacanis to commit to providing more opportunities for talented individuals worldwide to immigrate to America. Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate, lamented stories of graduates from top colleges who had to return to India or China to establish successful businesses because they could not stay in the US.

“It’s tragic when we lose people from Harvard, MIT, and other top schools. They end up creating multi-billion-dollar companies abroad, employing thousands, which could have been done here,” Trump said.

Trump reiterated his support for a policy from his first term, which proposed granting Green Cards to foreign students who earn degrees from US institutions, particularly in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math).

“Graduates, whether from a two-year or four-year college or a doctorate program, should be able to stay in this country. We need to recruit and retain these brilliant people,” he asserted.

Trump criticized the current system where top graduates struggle to secure employment deals because companies doubt their ability to stay in the country. “That is going to end on day one,” he announced.

According to the latest annual Open Doors report from the Institute of International Education, over a million international students from more than 210 countries are studying at US higher education institutions during the 2022-23 academic year. China remains the top source of international students, though their numbers saw a slight decline. India, the second-largest source, saw a 35% increase, with a record 268,923 students.

Trump’s latest comments contrast sharply with the immigration policies he enforced while in office, where he sought to reduce family-based immigration and prioritize wealthy, skilled, or highly educated immigrants. During his presidency, Trump imposed significant restrictions on green cards, visa programs, refugee resettlement, and other forms of legal immigration, reducing the number of lawful permanent residents entering the country.

Trump’s presidency began with an executive order banning travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries and included proposals to cut legal immigration by half. He frequently criticized the H-1B visa program, vital to tech companies hiring foreign skilled workers, as detrimental to American prosperity. His administration expanded legal immigration restrictions during the pandemic, and Trump proposed suspending all immigration and deporting foreign students if they did not attend some classes in person. A month before the 2020 election, he again moved to tighten the H-1B visa program.


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