All posts by Kabita Sonowal

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.

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.




FDI: Is anybody listening?

Refer to David Karl’s write up, titled, Retail Reverberations on December 9, 2011. The article highlights and exposes the several loopholes of the euphoric-India shining banter. However, today on Capitol Hill will draw enough momentum to show and enhance the contribution of the Indian Corporate Inc to the American economy. This is a CII (Confederation of Indian Industries) report that will be released in front of an audience that will include American academics, statesmen, and other officials. Representatives from Indian conglomerates such as Birlasoft, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, HCL America, ICICI Bank Infosys, L&T, Mahindra Satyam, Ranbaxy, SBI, Suzlon, Tata Communications, and Tata Sons will also be present.

Today’s event on Capitol Hill is expected to banish the misconceptions about Indian firms. This effort by CII is an attempt to rectify stereotypes. It is also an initiative to highlight job creation and creation of further business opportunities in the U.S.

However, in the thick of things, FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) still rests on an edgy and precarious angle. Kaushik Basu, Chief Economic Advisor, assures that India would witness and experience ‘important’ reforms in the next six months. He said, “Among the reforms that will happen, I hope, is, subsidy reform. The Finance Minister talked about this in his budget. “We will try to use the UID system that we are developing to cut down leakage in subsidy.” He added, “In India the leakage is so big that if we can cut this down, it will help cut down our fiscal deficit … So that’s a very important reform, which I think will happen.” He admitted to a ‘slowdown’ in economic growth in India.

In a blighted world of ongoing recession in some parts of the world, there seems to be some hope at the dark end of the tunnel. The Tata India Summit scheduled for this month will be an interaction on India’s contribution to the U.S. and the world economy. It is important to note that FDI is a two-way street and contributions need to be focused.

Detention & Indignation

It seems to be a tale of history repeating itself; Bollywood film star Shahrukh Khan was detained yet again at yet another airport in the U.S. Deemed as an unfortunate situation, Indian Foreign Minister, Mr.  SM Krishna expressed disdain by saying that the ‘policy of detention and apology by the U.S. cannot continue’. He added, “Apologies from America have become mechanical.” This statement perhaps opens a can of ugly truths. While the U.S. customs and border protection authorities profusely apologized later, it still leaves several questions unanswered. In the past, Indian President, Dr. Abdul Kalam and former Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Meera Shankar were frisked at airports in the U.S., while protocol excludes former state dignitaries from such searches. It reveals a side of a lackadaisical or indifferent attitude towards adherence to standard protocol.

There lies the irony after all the brouhaha about social assimilation and respect for human dignity. This entire detention episode of Shahrukh Khan’s could have been avoided by the authorities at the click of a button if they had wanted to match the relevant information to his profile. It has set a feeling of uncertainty underneath the hypocritical garb of strengthening ties and the gamut. Despite all the apologies and the regret from the American end, it is about time to live up and act instead of harping on mere hackneyed rhetoric. The world needs something beyond this to thrive on to avoid ire, confusion, and chaos.