In response to Donald Trump's immigration plan, Kamala Harris invokes Indian heritage

Last Updated: May 18 2019 19:07
Reading time: 1 min, 37 secs

Kamala Harris, the first Indian-origin Senator reprimanded President Donald Trump's merit-based immigration plan saying it was “short-sighted” and invoked her unique background as a Democratic candidate for the White House in 2020, being the daughter of an Indian immigrant.

On Thursday, Trump rolled out the system that would prioritise high-skilled workers over those who already have relatives in the country when determining who receives green cards.

Harris, Senator from California, criticised the proposal, which Democratic leaders have vowed to fight, saying that Americans routinely celebrate a “unified culture” and the US Constitution guarantees equality for all people.

“I found the announcement today to be short-sighted,” said the 54-year-old California Democrat, slamming the Trump plan before an Asian American audience in Las Vegas.

On the plan’s intention to award immigrants certain points based on education or skills, Harris said, “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants.” “The beauty of the tradition of our country has been to say, when you walk through the door, you are equal. We spoke those words in 1776, ‘we are all equal’ and should be treated that way. Not, oh well, if you come from this place, you might only have a certain number of points, and if you come from that place you might have a different number of points.” Asians have historically immigrated as family units, Harris pointed out.

“Let’s first win,” Harris said, smiling. “My mother raised us with a very strong appreciation for our cultural background and pride. Celebrations that we all participate in regardless of how our last name is spelled. It’s the beauty of who we are as a nation.” In her campaign stump speech, Harris always includes stories about how her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, impacted every aspect of her life. And while she has spoken about visits to India during her book tour, Harris on the trail has leaned far more into the African American identity her mother raised her to embrace.