Congressman decries “meanness and arbitrariness” in immigration policies

Rep. David Price (D.-N.C.), and Swadesh Chatterjee, a member of the Global Leadership Council at the University of North Carolina, at Spring 2019 conference organized by the U.S.-India Friendship Council on Capitol Hill last month.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a no-holds barred indictment of President Trump and his administration, a veteran U.S. lawmaker from the Deep South, has said he’s never seen such “meanness and arbitrariness” in immigration policies in his 30 years in the U.S. Congress as he has now.

Rep. David Price (D.-N.C.), speaking at Spring 2019 conference organized by the U.S.-India Friendship Council on Capitol Hill last month, titled, “The U.S.-India Partnership: Economic, Immigration & Strategic Issues,” to focus on the way forward during the remainder of the 116th Congress, lamented that “all of us in our offices right now are seeing the human costs of not addressing this (immigration) issue, and having an administration in power that is absolutely beyond the pale in a range of immigration policies.”

In fact, he asserted that Trump and the administration has “made immigration a demagogic and destructive political issue.”

Price told the conferees numbering over 300 Indian American political activists and fund-raisers from across the country, “I don’t see any reason to sugarcoat it or minimize the impact—it is a very difficult time for immigrant communities and for those who care about our country’s values and country’s history as a welcoming and hospitable country.”

Price, an erstwhile professor of political science and public policy at Duke University, before being elected to Congress in 1987, and now a ranking member on several Congressional committees, including the Appropriations subcommittees on homeland security, State Department, and foreign operations, said that all of these immigration cases were “compelling,” but argued that “everything is problematic these days—whether it’s a university trying to get some speakers come in for a panel from overseas or whether it’s someone who’s waited for years to bring a family member to this country.”

“Refugees who have been waiting for years and years find that process being slow-walked in a cynical way and basically they are closing the door of this country to people from the most desperate parts of the world,” he added.

Price said that “I’ve never had a harder time in my entire 30 years in this place in getting to the levels of the Homeland Security Dept. that I need to talk to or deal with a particular problematic case. I’ve never seen it like this.”

Price said that he was aware that “the Indian American community in particular have a special interest in the country quotas (for a green card) and the Immigration Fairness legislation, which we hope we are going to pass.”

He acknowledged, “We also have the shortages of H-1B visas, we have the challenge of H-4 visas and doing right by the individuals and the families and the communities that depend on those.”

“It’s a matter of fairness and equity all around and also meeting our country’s workforce needs and our economic needs,” he reiterated.

“I plead with you to recognize the breadth of this issue,” he told the audience,” and called for “solidarity with immigrant communities, immigrants from all walks of life and from all parts of the world.”

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