R Chandramohan, 37, software engineer, Texas
Living in Republican Texas has taught me a thing or two about survival. Much has changed in my world since Donald Trump became president- elect. I now feel a sense of discomfort that I find hard to put in words. The next four years are going to test every American, and Indian-Americans are no exception. I am spooked by his take on a rollback on H1-B visas and how that would affect the community. I was never heavily into watching the news but November 9 changed that. Now I read Indian newspapers because they carry the relevant news better.
I came here as a student and did not feel insecure about my job. While it is stable for the most part, some insecurity has developed. Previously, when my American friends joked about the techgeeks going back to India, I would laugh with them. Somehow, the same jokes aren’t as funny anymore. The nearly $150 bn Indian tech industry relies heavily on the H1-B programme. For the fiscal year 2017, America received close to 2,50,000 H1-B visa applications, say reports. At last check, the cap was still 65,000. If Trump deals a blow to this sector, it will affect not just people like me but also the tech industry in India.
According to reports, Trump the businessman has been able to circumvent loopholes to build a profitable business. And if he knows how to do that, then he knows how to seal them and that’s not a bad thing. The issue is he makes statements which are often not backed by facts. The number of people who have used his half-baked arguments to argue has gone up. I had to defend my career choice and decision to immigrate many times in the last few weeks. Not to mention the immigrant jokes that, given the times we are facing,seem insensitive. My way of dealing with this is simple. I tell my American friends that they might want to hold off their jokes. They say I’m losing my sense of humour. So, I remind them with veiled humour that unless they belong to a native American Indian tribe, they are no longer entitled to joke about my immigrant lineage and refer them to ancestry.com to figure out theirs.
— As told to Farwa Imam Ali