A Biden administration will have no tolerance for terrorism in South Asia and it will place a high priority on strengthening US-India ties, his campaign has asserted.
"We believe that India and the United States are natural partners, and if elected, our administration will place a high priority on continuing to strengthen the US-India relationship,” it said in a written response to a series of questions asked by the Hindu American Political Action Committee.
The committee recently sent a series of questions to the campaigns of former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump as part of its decision-making process to endorse either of them before the November 3 presidential election.
“A Biden-Harris administration will have no tolerance for terrorism in South Asia -- cross-border or otherwise. Our administration will work to strengthen India's capabilities as a defence and counter-terrorism partner,” the Biden campaign said.
“During the Obama-Biden administration, the US and India strengthened their cooperation to fight terrorism in each of our countries and across the region, and if we are elected, the Biden-Harris administration will continue and build on this effort," it said.
Expressing concern about dangerous conditions for religious minorities in South Asia and elsewhere, Biden said if elected, his administration will renew America's commitment to standing as a beacon of hope for refugees around the world, including those fleeing religious persecution and seeking the freedom to worship as they choose.
Noting that the US is fundamentally a nation of immigrants, he said he is committed to immigration reform that provides a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants — including more than 500,000 from India.
“We will remove the uncertainty for Dreamers by reinstating the DACA programme and explore all legal options to protect their families from inhumane separation. All of this is in direct opposition to Trump's actions,” the campaign said.
A Biden-Harris administration will work with the Congress to increase the number of visas awarded for permanent, employment-based immigration — and promote mechanisms to temporarily reduce the number of visas during times of high US unemployment, it said.
“We will also exempt from any cap recent graduates of PhD programmes in STEM fields in the US... We believe that foreign graduates of a US doctoral programme should be given a green card with their degree and that losing these highly trained workers to foreign economies is a disservice to our own economic competitiveness,” it said.
“Critically, Vice President Biden believes that we need to reform our high skilled temporary visas support to establish a wage-based allocation process and establish enforcement mechanisms to ensure they are aligned with the labour market and not used to undermine wages, and, as part of that reform, he supports eliminating the limits on employment-based green cards by country, which have kept so many Indian and Hindu families in waiting for too long,” the campaign said.
Ajay Bhutoria, national finance committee member of Biden campaign, said in a statement that a Biden-Harris administration will celebrate Hindu holidays, as was done in the Obama-Biden administration, which celebrated Diwali at the White House, the Vice President’s residence at the Naval Observatory, and at the Pentagon.
This election year Biden recognised Holi and Ganesh Chaturthi. “In doing this, our hope is to showcase how Hindu-Americans are, in every way, Americans and that we are all bound by common values and aspirations, and that this may help to minimize the kinds of misunderstandings about Hinduism that cause bullying,” he said.
Bhutoria said the Biden campaign made history in its outreach to the Hindu-American community. “Biden became the first major-party presidential nominee to respond to a questionnaire for the Hindu-American community,” he said.
Biden's a response to real concerns in the community, addressing the unique challenges facing Hindu students to the importance of reforming the immigration system to how to help small businesses recover from COVID-19, Bhutoria said.
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