The Rise of Indian-American Leaders in the American Political Scene

This year, we witnessed the emergence and political victories of many Indian-American leaders in the current American political scene. They have emerged leaders from diverse educational and professional backgrounds although with something in common: the urge and the mission to serve the community at large. This blog post highlights the achievements of some of these leaders who have consistently made an impact to their multi-cultural communities in the U.S. These leaders also reveal an insight into their commitments in their chosen disciplines. Sapana S. Shah won a berth in the Edison Municipal Council of New Jersey. She has been has been working with the Edison Board of Education since 2011. The young attorney at law specializes in litigation matters relating to personal injury, municipal court matters, criminal matters, employment discrimination, business & commercial litigation, and family law.

This year, Raj Mukherji, a former Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey won the State Assembly elections to New Jersey’s 33rd Legislative District. He was part of the American military intelligence after he enlisted in the Marines post the 9/11 attacks; he is known for his philanthropic activities too. He attended the University of Pennsylvania from where he earned a Master’s degree. He now joins the state assembly post with fellow Indian American Upendra Chivukula in New Jersey.
Upendra Chivukula is the first South-Asian American in the 120-member state legislature and he is also the highest ranking South-Asian elected to office in New Jersey. He has been a member of the New Jersey state assembly since 2002. He is the first Indian-American to be elected to the New Jersey General Assembly and the fourth Indian-American to be elected to the state office. He has also been a recipient of awards including New Jersey Technology Council’s Legislative Advocate for Technology Award, NJ Small Business Development Centers’ Legislative Award, induction into the High-Tech Hall of Fame, New Jersey Policy Research Organization’s – Leader of Innovation, NJ Small Business Development Centers’ Legislator of the Year Award, NAACP Edison/Metuchen Branch – Adam Clayton Powell Award, and the ADL – Americanism Award.
This November, Latha Mangipudi won the special elections for State Representative in Hillsborough District 35 in New Hampshire by a margin of 59%-41%. She is a trained Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) by profession and she is known for her role in the field of education at Nashua, where she resides with her family. She also works with people with special needs and she is member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
Town Councilman, entrepreneur, and business development executive Steve Rao emerged winner in the Morrisville City Council election in North Carolina this year. He is now the only Indian-American in the Council and was the only incumbent to return to office.

The Impact of Illegal Immigration in the U.S.

The impact of illegal immigration in the U.S. has been a topic of widespread speculation and debate for some time now. With context to what attracts illegal immigrants to the U.S. is the search for greener pastures and economic opportunities; illegal aliens or illegal immigrants to the U.S. come from all parts of the world. Despite the enforcement and the initiation of tougher measures by the U.S. immigration and other authorities to limit illegal immigration, the former’s desire to reach America is so strong that nothing in the world can dissuade them from not doing so. As the rest of it goes, they settle for the lowest wages possible and work in industries including construction, agriculture, and food-processing. Here lies the catch about why there is a demand for illegal immigrants: a globalized economy, the requirement for low-skilled labor at times of seasonal employment, the lack of a robust verifying mechanism for employers in the U.S. while hiring foreign workers, and the availability of labor at very low wages as compared to what American workers quote or demand. Further the American immigration policies have limited provisions for legal and permanent economic migration in the case of low-skilled workers. It is important to note that the American education system creates a small segment of people who are either high-school dropouts or have doctorates, thereby leaving a gap that needs to be filled by foreign workers. Therefore there is a dearth of workers required to complete seasonal low-skilled jobs or very high-skilled jobs.

George J. Borjas, economist and professor at Robert W. Scrivner Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School summarizes the impact of immigration as – “The laws of supply and demand imply that, other things being equal, an increase in the number of low-skilled immigrants will lower the wages of comparable native workers, at least in the short run, because they now face stiffer competition in the labor market. In contrast, high-skilled workers may gain from the influx of immigrant labor. Not only will they pay less for the services these laborers provide, such as painting the house and mowing the lawn, but by hiring immigrant workers they will be able to specialize in producing the goods and services to which their skills are better suited.” This summarizes the fact that today with the transition of most of the world economy from manufacturing to an economy that is knowledge-based, it has provided for mass immigration. This is how low-skilled labor is fulfilled by immigrant workers in the U.S. Most of them take up these jobs as they fetch higher wages than what they would earn in their home countries. Furthermore, there is also the ‘network-effect’ in which immigrants in the U.S. bring in more immigrants from their home countries due to whom the market for low-skilled labor in the U.S. has become very competitive. There are some American states that are more volatile in terms of the influx of illegal immigration; however the numbers are catching up in the other states. Although certain reports on immigration state that the number of illegal immigrants to the U.S. has dwindled, the U.S. market has fewer jobs right now and it is rife with stiff competition. However there is the other side of the opinion; a New York Times/CBS News Poll report revealed that 53 percent of Americans thought that ‘illegal immigrants mostly take the jobs Americans don’t want’ and that ‘without illegal immigration labor, it would almost certainly not be possible to produce the same volume of food in the country’. Some banking corporations wanted to initiate mortgage for illegal immigrants to attract investments; however that sort of initiation and the uncertainty of an unpredictable loom large. The debate continues and time will tell.

USINPAC congratulates Indian American Neeraj Sahai on his appointment as President of Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, the world’s largest ratings firm

A top Indian-American executive at Citigroup has been appointed president of Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services , the world’s largest ratings firm.

Neeraj Sahai, 56, will assume his new role at S&P from January 6, 2014, financial intelligence company McGraw Hill Financial said in a statement in New York.

Sahai, who did his master’s in economics from the University of Delhi, is currently head of Citi’s Securities and Fund Services business and also acts as chief fiduciary officer of Citigroup. He succeeds Douglas Peterson, who became president and chief executive officer of McGraw Hill Financial on November 1.

Peterson has taken over as chief executive of the parent company earlier this month. Sahai has significant experience serving global capital markets.

His insights, leadership and background in driving growth, as well as in risk, control and governance will be enormously valuable to Standard & Poor’s Rating Services , to market participants and to credit markets, Peterson said.

He added that as debt markets expand around the world to finance the increasing demand for development and infrastructure projects, S&P and its 1,400analysts would offer globally comparable measures of relative credit risk.

“I am eager to get started, to work alongside S&P’s deeply talented employees and to build on the progress Doug and the management team have achieved,” said Sahai.

In his previous role at Citi, Sahai significantly grew the business, which offers securities services to investors, issuers and intermediaries.

From 2002 to 2005, he was chief financial officer of Citi’s Global Transaction Services and before that has served in a range of other roles with Citi in the US and early in his career he held a number of positions of increasing responsibility with Citi in India.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, part of McGraw Hill Financial, is the world’s leading provider of independent credit risk research. It publishes more than a million credit ratings on debt issued by sovereign, municipal, corporate and financial sector entities. McGraw Hill Financial’s brands include the Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ and S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Source: Business Today

Dr. Rahul Jindal Felicitated with U.S Government’s Award ‘Outstanding American by Choice’

On November 13, 2013, Dr. Rahul Jindal – USINPAC Co-chair Healthcare Subcommittee was felicitated with the ‘Outstanding American by Choice’ award. This acclaimed award was presented by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at the Arlington National Cemetery, US. Dr. Jindal is currently working as a staff transplant surgeon at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He also works as a Professor of Surgery at the George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Jindal has immensely contributed to the field of healthcare and he is known for his expansive work and knowledge in this discipline. He has achieved many ‘firsts’; to name a few, he performed the world’s first surgery to link a tube with blood vessels in the failing liver of a six-year-old boy. He set up a kidney transplant program in Guyana, South America. He has driven this initiative in other countries including Antigua and Trinidad and Tobago. He has also co-authored a book titled ‘The Struggle for life: A Psychological Perspective of Kidney Disease and Transplantation’ with Lyndsay S. Baines. This book serves as a textbook in dialysis and transplant programs and it throws light on psycho-social issues patients face during dialysis and post transplantation. At the Outstanding American by Choice award ceremony, he talked about the U.S’ flair for attracting talent; he said, “Today’s ceremony is a powerful affirmation of America’s strengths, nearly half a million new citizens come every year from all corners of the world. We bring in new ideas and novel strategies to solve problems and ensure that the US will be ready for the next century.”

Dr. Jindal is closely associated with USINPAC being Co-Chair Healthcare Subcommittee. He has hosted and spearheaded many of USINPAC’s events where he has closely worked with several political leaders from both India and the U.S. He has been a driving force behind several social initiatives; in the recent past, he served as a coordinator of a major blood donation drive to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11 coordinated by the HMEC (Hindu Mandirs Executive Conference). He is also member of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and Physicians, International Transplant Society, and American College of Surgeons. We offer Dr. Jindal our heartiest wishes.

USINPAC Congratulates Latha Mangipudi on her State Representative Special Election Win

USINPAC New Hampshire (NH) Chapter Chairperson Latha Mangipudi has won the Special Elections for State Representative in Hillsborough District 35 in New Hampshire by a wide margin of 59% – 41%. She came to the U.S as a first-generation immigrant from India to study and later work here. Prior to her arrival in the States, she had received a Master’s degree in Speech and Hearing from the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing. Her interaction and exposure to the various communities shaped her understanding and commitment of working for the community. She aims to involve herself further in educating children, serving seniors, and helping the community at large. She lives with her family in Nashua. Today, she is a member of the American Speech Language Hearing association (ASHA).
Latha Mangipudi has worked as a trained Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) for more than twenty five years. She started her career at the Fernald State School in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she provided therapy services. After moving to New Hampshire, she worked at the Southern NH Hospital. She has also worked with the Nashua Center for the Multiply Handicapped (NCMH) and Interim Health Care. She has been a member of several councils including The Nashua Interfaith, Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Charitable Trust, and Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Mental Health Association. As an educator, she has served on the Board of Education in Nashua. Among other activities, she has served as volunteer coordinator of Chinmaya Maruti and the New Hampshire Chairperson of Akshaya Patra.
Latha Mangipudi has served as the Chairperson of the USINPAC New Hampshire Chapter. She has been very active in encouraging and educating the Indian-American community to involve them in political advocacy. She has also hosted and organized several USINPAC events including Congressional and Presidential get-togethers and meetings to establish working relationships with senators, congressmen, and the White House.