Trump’s State of Union Address was all about agenda offerings

Donald Trump’s 1 hour 20 minutes State of Union address on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 was a coalesce of – plea for unity, declaration of a new American moment, promising to suppress immigration, keeping open Guantanamo Bay, and strengthening America’s nuclear arsenal.

Trump said, “If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything”, as reported by The Times of India.

Trump rattled off his list of achievements which included historic tax cuts, a soaring stock market, eliminating swathes of regulations, and creating 2.4 million jobs.

He assured that the revised tax system plan will be immensely beneficial to the middle class and small business people. He briefly spoke on the health care issues and went on to brag about the investment of $1.5 trillion in infrastructure and partnerships with other states and private sectors.

On immigration debate, Trump repeated his recent pledge of offering citizenship to 1.8 million young immigrants. Referring North Korean nuclear missile regime as “depraved” Trump promised to reconstruct America’s nuclear arsenal and decimate terrorists, putting much more in the Guantanamo Bay. He also vouched for the final defeat of the ISIS.

Though the US President received many enthusiastic applause from the Republicans, the opposition party was mostly silent and headed straight for the exit at the end of the speech. Some of Democratic Party’s female representatives including Nancy Pelosi, wore black in honor of the victims of sexual harassment, while few wore butterfly pins in support of immigrants.

A CBS poll conducted immediately after the speech said that it was a hit among the viewers, as 75% of them liked it and other did not.

Source: Telegraph,Times Of India

Repeal of DACA puts young Indian Americans at risk of Deportation

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which was started under the presidency of Obama has been repealed by the Trump administration. This is considered as one of the most controversial decision President Trump ever made. This announcement was mad on September 5, 2017. More than 800,000 young adult immigrants were protected by this scheme and their lives are in jeopardy now.

Currently, there is no new scheme which will be implemented in place of DACA. It is said, according to Vox that those currently protected by DACA will start losing work permits from March 6, 2018. There are 20,000 Indian children who were brought into the country illegally and may now face deportation. These are data recovered from South Asian Americans Leading Togethere (SAALT).

There have been protests all over the country after the announcement. SAALT went on to say, “Over 27,000 Asian Americans, including 5,500 Indians and Pakistanis, have already received DACA. An additional estimated 17,000 individuals from India and 6,000 from Pakistan respectively are eligible for DACA, placing India in the top ten countries for DACA eligibility,” according to NDTV.

Sources – Vox, The New Yorker, NDTV

US issues new visa rules for six Muslim countries and refugees

The Trump administration has set out a new set of guidelines for six mainly Muslim countries as well as refugees. One major rule is that the immigrants need to have a close relative in the United States in order to obtain a US visa. The supreme court has put in place a partial travel ban which the then republican candidate, Donald Trump, promised during his campaign.

These set of guidelines came to light when the department cable was leaked to the press and is yet to be confirmed, according to a report by Al Jazeera. The countries which fall under this new visa rules are Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen. Refugees, irrespective of their nationality, fall under this visa rule. The term ‘close relative’ here is defined as a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son or daughter-in-law or sibling.

Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have valid invitations to the country may be exempt from the ban.

While the new travel restrictions will be enforced strictly by the visas will not be revoked from existing visa holders.

According to the cable which was obtained by the AP News, the laws will be put in place on June 29, 2017.

Image Source: Getty

Court of Appeals blocks President Trump’s bid to reinstate travel ban

A US Appeals Court has repealed Donald Trump’s attempt to reinstate a travel ban on individuals attempting to enter the United States of America from any one of seven Muslim-majority nations that have been deemed to be a security risk. The ban, which was rejected unanimously by a three-judge panel, attempted to prohibit citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States of America.

The panel rejected the bid on the grounds that it did not improve national security in any tangible way, and that the administration failed to provide evidence that anyone from the seven blacklisted countries had committed terrorist acts in the United States. Within minutes of the ruling, Donald Trump responded to the decision with a tweet indicating that the issue has not reached its culmination, and that further appeals are imminent.

The court ruling has not affected an integral part of the executive order, namely the segment that reduces the limit of 50,000 refugees to be admitted into the United States in 2017. The previous cap implemented by the Obama administration was 110,000.

The decision was met with disapproval from Republicans, with Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas saying that “Courts ought not second-guess sensitive national security decisions of the president.” The order is likely to be taken up in the Supreme Court as the Trump administration attempts to force it through, and the decision may be swayed by Trump’s appointment of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Sources: The New York Times, BBC

Image Source: Associated Press

Acceptance Speeches at Screen Actors’ Guild Awards Turn Political

The Screen Actors Guild Awards took place on January 29, 2017, wrapped the show with numerous surprises and snubs. The most memorable moments of the night included witty acceptance speeches against much debated U.S. President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies.

An event which marks the excellence of Actors for their contribution cinema and television, transformed into a political platform as numerous celebrities began to voice their displeasure over President Trump’s ban of refugees and immigrants from six Muslim countries. Each winner had a say about the ban and Trump’s unorthodox political stance in their acceptance speeches.

Star of the show Two and a Half Men, Ashton Kutcher, in his opening speech, said “everyone in airports that belong in my America.” He also added, “You are a part of the fabric of who we are. And we love you, and we welcome you.”

Even during the red carpet, celebrities like Simon Helberg, of The Big Bang Theory walked holding a placard which read “Refugees Welcome” and his wife had written “Let Them In” on her chest. Kerry Washington spoke directly to the camera showing her displeasure over the entire debacle as well.

There were celebrities who also pulled a ‘Meryl Streep’ and dedicated their entire acceptance speeches to the Immigration ban. David Harbour, who spoke for the cast of Stranger Things said, “This is unreal. I’d just like to say that with all that’s going on tonight, it’s hard to celebrate the already celebrated Stranger Things, “We are united in that we are all human beings and we’re all here together on this painful and mysterious ride that is being alive. “We will repel bullies, we will shelter freaks and outcasts, we will hunt monsters, and when we are lost, we will punch some people in the face, and we will do it all with soul, with heart, and with joy. We thank you for this responsibility.”

While Harbour was giving his speech, most could not take their eyes off Winona Ryder’s expressions as she stood beside him. Trending with numerous meme on the internet, Ryder’s bizarre expressions ranged from grimaces to surprise and no one knew why. Stranger Things winning the Best Ensemble in a Drama Series was a surprise since it didn’t win any individual awards.

Denzel Washington won his first SAG Award where he took home Best Male Actor in a Leading Role for Fences while Emma Stone won the Best Female Actor in a Leading Role for her performance in La La Land. She beat Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Natalie Portman and Emily Blunt for the same category. Another big surprise came from ‘Hidden Figures,’ which won the Best Picture beating La La Land. La La Land failed to secure a spot in the Best Picture category despite its 14 Oscar nominations. Mahershah Ali won the Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role for his role in Moonlight and Viola Davis won the same in the female category for the film Fences.

Claire Foy Was awarded Best Female Actor in a Drama Series for The Crown after John Lithgow won his Best Actor role in the same series.

Julia Louise Dreyfus, not a stranger to winning SAG awards, won the Best Actress for Comedy Series for Veep. “I’m an American patriot. And I love this country, and because I love this country, I am horrified by its blemishes, and this immigrant ban is a blemish, and it is un-American,” she said.

William H Macy won the best actor in a comedy series for Shameless. Orange is the New Black won the award for the best comedy series.

Lily Tomlin took home the 53rd SAG Lifetime Achievement Award not only for her outstanding performance in the acting field but also for her wit. In a humorous speech, she said, “You are kind of anti-climactic. Did you hear? The doomsday clock has been moved to two and a half minutes to midnight and this award came just in time.”

Sources:  The Guardian NY Times

Barack Obama passes Immigration Reform Law

Image Courtesy:
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United States President Barack Obama has said that he will exercise his executive powers to make sure that the Immigration Reform law is passed. This is an important and welcome announcement for Indians living in the US and those who are on long green card queues along with their families.

Under the new law, authorisation will be provided to highly-skilled workers and their spouses awaiting (LPR) Lawful Permanent Resident status, also known commonly as the green card. The Department of Homeland Security(DHS) would make the necessary changes for the workers to acquire and change jobs more easily. The DHS is also working on giving the spouses of H-1B visa holders work permits so long as the H-1B visa holder has a valid and approved LPR application.

President Obama’s announcement is also a welcome step for foreign science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students at US Universities as they may be allowed to stay for 12 months in the US as part of the Optional Practical Training  programme following graduation.
L-1 visa holders on the other hand will face the axe as they now need their companies to sponsor their visas. This is being done to protect American workers who suffer from immigrant workers going to the United States and claiming their jobs.


Source: Economic Times