Following the row over his remarks on the H-1B visa programme, Indian-American US presidential aspirant Vivek Ramaswamy has said he understands what he wants to reform and stressed that the H-1B programme was “senseless”.
In an interview with Politico, Ramaswamy termed the H-1B visa programme “indentured servitude” and said he would “gut” the lottery-based system and replace it with meritocratic admission if he is elected US President next year.
The Indian-American entrepreneur, a Republican aspirant for the US President’s post, came into the spotlight after a presidential debate last month. Donald Trump is still leading the Republican race for the top post. The other frontrunners are Ramaswamy, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.
Ramaswamy’s remarks on H-1B are in line with the tough stand taken by Trump during his 2016 campaign. Trump had, however, softened his stand following his election.
Behind the row over Ramaswamy’s remarks is the fact that H-1B visa is in high demand among Indian IT professionals. It is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in jobs that require theoretical or technical expertise. Interestingly, Ramaswamy has used the visa programme 29 times.
.@Politico tried to play “gotcha” by saying I want to gut the H1-B system even though my companies have used it to hire foreign graduates from top U.S: universities. Well, U.S. energy sector regulations are badly broken, but I still use water & electricity. Turns out I actually… pic.twitter.com/EpbLY5S5Pc
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) September 17, 2023
Responding to the row, Ramaswamy posted on X, “@Politico tried to play ‘gotcha’ by saying I want to gut the H1-B system even though my companies have used it to hire foreign graduates from top US: universities. Well, US energy sector regulations are badly broken, but I still use water & electricity. Turns out I actually understand the things I want to reform: the foreign visa ‘lottery’ is senseless & the H1-B regime is a form of indentured servitude that’s a product of corporate lobbying. I’ll finally fix it.”
The Indian-American entrepreneur, who has said his parents came to US “with no money”, has pushed for tightening the immigration policy. Earlier, he has said he would use the military to secure borders and deport US-born children of undocumented immigrants.