Immigration

Trump to Indian Wives: Forget About Your American Dream

He wants to keep them in the kitchen with their "involuntary housewife visa"

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The Trump administration doesn't want to make life miserable for immigrants who don't play by the rules of America's broken

Indian Dancers in NY
Richard B. Levine/Newscom

immigration system but even those who do. Consider its treatment of the spouses of high-skilled H-1B immigrants, the vast majority from India.

These spouses aren't allowed to work till their husbands'—and their—green cards are processed. When I came to the United States from India in 1985, I note in a column in The New York Times, the average wait times to switch from these visas to green cards was four years.

But things have gotten infinitely worse for Indian spouses who came after me because, thanks to a layer of quotas, green card backlogs for Indian nationals now span decades. This means that Indian wives are essentially frozen out of the U.S. labor market for life, even though they tend to be highly qualified. Hence they've taken to calling their visa "the involuntary housewife visa."

The real solution to their plight would be to get rid of the quotas that have created the green card backlogs. And, indeed, there is a bipartisan bill called the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017 that would eliminate both the per country quota for employment-based green cards and increase the quota for family-based ones.

But any such legislation did not have a prayer of passing during President Obama's term. So he took a small step in addressing their plight by handing work authorization to those H-1B spouses whose green card application had been filed and accepted and so it was just a matter of time—a very lon….g time, to be sure—before they got their green cards. This made complete sense given that at that stage these women are here to stay, and so what would be the point of preventing them from working and paying taxes?

The policy offered relief to about 100,000 primarily Indian women, but the Trump administration has announced that, come June, it will rescind the Obama-era rule—no doubt because it has succumbed to the restrictionist argument that work authorization for H-1B spouses means that the United States would end up "importing" two foreign workers for every one.

But squandering talent won't only not Make America Great Again, it'll make the restrictionist worry that immigrants today prefer to live transnational lives rather than assimilate a self-fulfilling prophecy. "A job is not just income," I note. "It is also an assimilation program because it offers an entry into a new culture and a chance to form new friendships."

Go here to read the piece.

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  1. Finally, something Trump and Indian men are on agreement.

    1. Start making extra cash from home and get paid weekly… By completing freelance jobs you get online… I do this three hr every day, for five days weekly and I earn in this way an extra $2500 each week…

      Go this web and start your work.. Good luck…… http://www.jobs63.com

  2. You know who else want’s women to stay in the house? Public sector mass transit employers. A New York City mass transit strike caused my mom to go from working in a Manhattan office to being a freelancer at home for the first time back in the 1970’s.

  3. He wants to keep them in the kitchen with their “involuntary housewife visa”

    It’s almost like Shikha wants to be considered as a parody.

    1. “Trump to Indian Wives: Forget about your American dream”

      Being married to a man who gets a work contract in America does not fit the definition of “The American Dream”.

  4. I’m sort of in a relationship with a guy in Europe, and it will be more economical to live and work there this autumn than to fly over the Atlantic every time we want to hook up. This week, I sent out my first email to inquire about work and was told that the business only hires people who can legally work in the UK.

    Every country has its restrictions. Perhaps we can create reciprocity visas so that people from a country can get another 10,000 immigration visas per year if that country offers 10,000 immigration visas to Americans. This would address concerns about fairness.

    In the mean time, I’ll email my editor abroad to see what country her company is registered in. We’re looking for writers. Darn … my to-do-list keeps growing. I might have to postpone building that website to replace the Craigslist dating section that can give politicians heart attacks over sex-trafficking.

    1. Sure, because I’m sure that tens of thousands of Americans want to emigrate to India.

      1. Every country has its restrictions. Perhaps we can create reciprocity visas so that people from a country can get another 10,000 immigration visas per year if that country offers 10,000 immigration visas to Americans. This would address concerns about fairness.

        My understanding is that the TSA would have to step up their asset forfeiture game in order to make this even close to equitable.

      2. Re: DenverJ

        Sure, because I’m sure that tens of thousands of Americans want to emigrate to India.

        Arthur C. Clarke did it. Why not?

        1. He was British. A bunch of them moved to India, mostly, I suspect, to teach the natives how to speak the most incomprehensible English possible, as revenge for Americans telling the King to stuff it.

        2. Sri Lanka.

    2. Ok? Outside of “open borders libertarians”, no one is arguing that there shouldn’t be restrictions. What’s being argued is that the restrictions we have are bad ones, and should be changed for the better.

      1. No need for the scare quotes.

  5. Where’s Old Mexican? I want him to explain to us how a market surplus of wives in India and a dearth of them in the US has caused an export of them to our shores.

    1. With any luck he’s training his Indian replacement before he’s furloughed.

      1. That only happens to the unproductive with delusions of indispensability.

        1. And are near the top of the pay scale and can see retirement drawing nearer. You’re benevolence to the new arrival knows no limits.

        2. Shouldn’t you be picking my grapes and wiping up the cum stains from my hotel room?

    2. Each individual Indian man who is married to a wife but works in the US weighs the utility of having his wife in the US against the cost of bringing her here. if the utility is greater than the cost he’ll try to bring her here.

    3. Re: mad.casual,

      I want him to explain to us how a market surplus of wives in India and a dearth of them in the US has caused an export of them to our shores.

      Right. Who’s exporting wives?

      1. Right. Who’s exporting wives?

        The Indian market, duh. Borders are meaningless and the market, in and of its own purity, provides for all. Obviously, the only reason these women are here is because tech companies have hired them to be spouses for the foreign-born workers. You might wonder how we got so many American workers who just happen to prefer Indian wives but it just happened that lots of Indian workers were out-of-work due to the market surplus of programmers in India and they just happened to get jobs thousands of miles away from where they were born and lived. In the thousands of intervening miles and dozens of countries, who themselves have excesses of programmers, there’s not a single long-standing social structure or rigidly-enforced government disparity to be found. Just pure markets and the artificial borders that only idiotic Trumpistas want to put up to inhibit those markets.

  6. There’s no question in my mind but that our immigration laws should be seriously reformed.

    Try selling that to white, blue collar, middle class, swing voters in swing states–after they’ve been denounced as deplorable racists by elitists of all political stripes. Why would average people trust the arguments of those who dismiss them as a bunch of stupid racists?

    I guess the telling moment came when the Democrats abandoned their filibuster for the dreamers faster than you can say, “Midterm elections”. They couldn’t even muster support within their own party for the most sympathetic “immigrants” imaginable!

    On an intellectual level, pro-immigration people must know this. On another level, the idea that they need to make the case for immigration to deplorables is so sickening to so many of them, they can scarcely imagine what horrors that might entail. Indeed, the problem with motivating people to change their behavior is that you generally have to convince them that you care about them–and there are few ways to do that if you don’t actually care about them.

    We must rid ourselves of our elitism. There is no other way forward.

    1. Re: Ken Shultz,

      Why would average people trust the arguments of those who dismiss them as a bunch of stupid racists?

      Why is it needed to argue with them anything? Rights are not subject to popularity contests. Doesn’t work with goods nor services (e.g. guns, alcohol, drugs, prostitution) and it certainly doesn’t work with immigration.

      Stoopid Marxians make the same complaint when talked down to by gun owners. I say: both the white supremacists who populate Trumpista rank and file and the gun-grabbing Marxians deserve to be treated with the utmost contempt.

      And NO, the Constitution doesn’t grant rights. It is written expressively and with no equivocation to restrict the government from encroaching on people’s rights.

      1. “Why is it needed to argue with them anything? Rights are not subject to popularity contests. ”

        Legal rights are subject to popularity contests. They are called elections or coups, depending on circumstance.

      2. “Rights are not subject to popularity contests.”

        You’re finally starting to get it.

        Now just add the part where the rules of naturalization are set by congress, and you’ve basically got it.

        Yes, The First Amendment is a prohibition against congress violating our rights.

        The Constitution enumerated the power to set the rules of naturalization to congress–so, no, according to the Constitution, immigration isn’t a right. It’s a policy set by way of popularity contests.

        So if you want a more liberal immigration policy, I guess you have to persuade the swing voters in swing state.

        Chop! Chop!

    2. ‘They couldn’t even muster support within their own party for the most sympathetic “immigrants” imaginable!’

      I don’t think you’ve actually ever seen a Dreamer activist speak.

  7. Trump to Indian Wives: Forget About Your American Dream

    Shikha wants Americans to forget their American dream. Of controlling what their government does that is.

    1. Hey, LC, you made some great posts the other day in the Gorsuch thread.

    2. Re: lovetheTrumpstate,

      Shikha wants Americans to forget their American dream.

      Liar.

      1. Liar.

        Considering “Immigrant Wives” (let alone “immigrant spouses” or “immigrant partners” in the current American zeitgeist) would describe them as adequately as “Indian Wives” and actually be both more American, technically correct, and more inclusive. It’s pretty clear that “Liar.” is less apt than something like “You’re mistaken.” or “That can’t be proven.” at best.

    3. Shikha 2020: Foreigners First!

  8. This means that Indian wives are essentially frozen out of the U.S. labor market for life

    Because them Immigruntz takum er jebz, that’s why.

    1. The gerbils are shitting on the sawdust in the cages that I provide for them… That’s all that they do, all day long, and I pay them in gerbil-food…

      And I am envious / JEALOUS!!! No one, EVER, gave me free gerbil-jerbz or sawdust to shit upon! For lack of anyone to shit upon, I MUST resort to shitting upon them thar illegal humans!!!

      Have some sympathy for my perspective, will ya?!?!?

    2. “Borderz takum er werkerz”

      Immigration policy is public policy. There’s no reason that policy should benefit employers over workers.

    3. You of all people should be worried about competition from illiterate housewives.

  9. Are we going to cut the H1B quota in half?

    1. You could (perhaps largely fairly) accuse me of talking out of both sides of my mouth, yes indeed… Because I am an “open borders” libertarian, yes indeed, I am! God or Intergalactic Justice or Karma or Natural Rights or Zeus do/does NOT give a hoot about where we draw lines in the sand! Humans are humans are humans, dammit!

      Yet corporations like the (fictional) “Hardlips Peckhard” (AKA, HP) corporation will go and announce, even on their own internal website, that they are “black-listing” laid-off HP employees!!! As a laid-off “Hardlips Peckhard” (AKA, HP) employee, you are NOT allowed, at ANY wage, to compete with your H-1B competitors!!! WHERE is your sense of “fair play”, ye Government-Almighty-and-corporate-dicks-sucking apologists, ye?!?!?

  10. […] it’ll make the restrictionist worry that immigrants today prefer to live transnational lives rather than assimilate a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Trumpistas are going to believe that no matter if these wives are all PhDs. It’s not a “worry”; it’s a prejudice.

    1. If they’re PhDs they can apply for an H1B visa on the same terms as their husbands.

      1. H1B doesn’t work that way.

        There has to be a specific job available. That job has to be posted, and there have to be no qualified Americans who apply. H1B is for a fairly unique skillset.

        So what ends up happening is you get a foreign student who graduates and they have a couple of years to work on that visa, so they go to work. Then they turn out to be really good. So the employer writes a job description for exactly them. Then they go get them an H1B visa.

        PhD’s are not in short supply in most fields. It is just high demand areas like materials science where a PhD would put you in line for an H1B. I doubt your PhD in Alternative Dispute Resolution is going to get an H1B in most situations.

        1. Yeah, she has to apply for the H1B like everyone else.

          If she’s in a crappy field that no one wants, then why should we want her?

          He was trying to make the point that “look at these valuable women Trump won’t let in”. If they’re so valuable, they can compete based on value. If they’re not, they’ll lose. That’s the way it should be.

        2. There has to be a specific job available. That job has to be posted, and there have to be no qualified Americans who apply. H1B is for a fairly unique skillset.

          Lol. Yeah, no. The employer self-certifies that they tried to find qualified candidates and couldn’t. Then they self-certify that they are offering a prevailing wage, even though H1B hires typically make between 15% and 30% less than their American counterparts. Then they are given an H1B candidate from a contractor that farms H1B applications and that candidate enters into an employment contract for the term of their visa. During that time they can’t change employers or change jobs or ask for a raise without jeopardizing their visa. And corporate America gets a slave class just like Big Ag has for the last 50 years.

    2. So… India’s best and brightest come to America, leaving the lower castes to suffer in poverty. That’s a unique brand of compassion.

      1. So… India’s best and brightest come to America, leaving the lower castes to suffer in poverty. That’s a unique brand of compassion.

        Except for two things. 1. The issue is cyclical. You continue to pull people out of poverty which you are arguably reinforcing and 2. in the case of these women and India it is, or could reasonably be considered, very much more of a refugee situation. In the G20, India is generally labeled as the worst place to be a woman. For clarity, that list includes Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and China.

        Not to say that India is like a gulag for women but if you held sexual equality and immigration as policies in any way equal not only would immigrating or recruiting women based on their marital status be demeaning, the reinforcing or perpetuation of India’s inequality should give some pause as well.

  11. Once admitted to this country to work, a foreign worker should have the same negotiating leverage re his/her employer as anyone else. If you tie the foreign worker to a particular job, that will encourage preferences for foreign workers because they’re more exploitable.

    Of course, admitting someone to the country means letting in a potential citizen, so they should be evaluated not just as a worker but as a possible candidate for citizenship (though they may not apply immediately or at all).

    So in addition to whatever criteria we have for workers, let’s look for potential-citizen qualities like, say, attachment to American institutions.

    1. So in addition to whatever criteria we have for workers, let’s look for potential-citizen qualities like, say, attachment to American institutions.

      Who you going to trust to determine what “attachment to American institutions” looks like? And are you going to trust whoever has that job after the presidency swaps parties?

      1. I wouldn’t trust anyone.

        Immigration should be tested by the reality of assimilation to American values and net contributions to existing Americans.

        We should not take further immigration from populations that do not pass that test.

  12. Aren’t you being sexist for assuming that it’s the women being brought here and not the other way around?

    I used to work with (in a crappy job) the husband of an Indian woman who was a computer programmer on an H-1B

  13. Trump to Indian Wives: America First!

  14. ‘ This means that Indian wives are essentially frozen out of the U.S. labor market for life, even though they tend to be highly qualified. Hence they’ve taken to calling their visa “the involuntary housewife visa.” ‘

    If they’re so highly qualified, let them apply for visas on the same terms as their husbands, instead of riding their husband’s dicks to legal status in the US.

    “Involuntary housewife visa” – nobody is pushing the visa on them. I certainly won’t be holding a grudge if they choose to remain in India.

    “The US is oppressing me by giving me a visa, but not under the terms that I want” – get bent.

  15. “The real solution is for America to be the property of Not Americans, and for Americans to suck it”

  16. I have some limited experience in this area. I have helped 2 people obtain H1B visas.

    They were both fantastic people. Seriously A-player types. They both ended up staying here and getting their citizenship. They both have families. One has started his own business, the other’s husband has started his own business. Both families are firmly in the upper-middle class / lower level rich class.

    The US is unquestionably better for having these people here. They probably employ 75 people between the two of them, all making solid middle class wages. Maybe a few of their employees are making over $200k. On a taxes collected basis alone, we are better off. But they are strong family people of solid character. The kind of people you want in your neighborhood, with great kids who are going to be top performers when they head out to start their own families. There’s a lot of upside here.

    1. You must have really broken the mold then. The average H1B holder is a single male with only an undergraduate degree taking a 15-30% pay cut over the prevailing wage in their industry working for one of 3 contractors who obtain 2/3 of the H1B visa quota every year.

  17. Thanks for this article. I work in IT, and therefore with a lot of Indian people, but I am sadly uninformed about the specifics of immigration law. This was all news to me, I’ve worked with very talented Indian women but I had no idea there was these sort of restrictions.

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