Rep. Krishnamoorthi vows to fight discrimination

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Raja Krishnmaoorthi with media representatives

CHICAGO: “Since taking oath of office, I have worked tirelessly to represent the South Asian Community and all communities in the Congress,” said Congressman Raja C Krishnamoorthi at a press conference last week to discuss his first year in Congress and his efforts on behalf of the Desi community in 2017. He emphasized his priorities for the year ahead that includes calling for unity among South Asians.
Krishnamoorthi spoke to media Feb. 1 about what he had done for the growing hate crimes against Indian community. “My office has been at the forefront of immigration, visas, and other constituent requests that have been able top provide responsive services to the community.
“In the year ahead, I’m focused among other things, on growing and strengthening the middle class, reforming our immigration system, and also securing the passage of the Thompson-Krishnamoorthi career and technical education bill.
“We need to unite and embrace what we share in common as opposed to pushing each other apart,” Krishnamurthi said. Unfortunately, this year I have seen a rise in discrimination. I’ve done a lot more in my life defending Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews and Latinos and everybody against this evil which should not have any place in America,” he added.
Krishnamoorthi worked on a bipartisan effort as legislator on hate crimes in the aftermath of the murder of Andhra techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Olathe, Kansas last year.’

Krishnamoorthi has also worked on immigration this past year. A vast bulk of people Trump wants to deport among Indians are visa holders. Trump wants to deport children of H1 B who are aging out of status and once they become 18 are no longer protected by H1B.“Even as are addressing DACA dreamers, we should do something about H1 B dreamers,” Krishnamoorthi said.
“Trump wants to stop family chain immigration and most Indians are family oriented. This is the cornerstone of our immigration system. More than one million people come through the Family Reunification System wherein they are rooted within the community, get assistance and prosper within the families,” Krishnamoorthi said.

“You may ask – this system was adopted decades ago. President Trump called it “Chain migration” a pejorative term and hurting rhetoric. Indians work 21 hours of 24 hours and establish a successful franchise – so they hire local workers. They also want occasional help from family members and run it through bonds of trust, he said. So they do well. “I think we should be very careful to send these people back home,” he said. Do we need skill based visas? We should not eliminate family system. Under the new immigration system, Trump wants only spouse and children to visit United States.
Krishnamoorthi also introduced a range of legislation and even had his first bill, the strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, pass the House.

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Raja at Media meet

The Act will modernize career, technical and vocational education across the country through increasing funding while requiring educators and employers to work together to develop curricula focused on preparing students for in-demand jobs.
Currently there are 6 million jobs in the United States which remain unfilled due to the inability of employers to find workers with the required skills. The Thompson-Krishnamoorthi Act will directly address this problem through expanding career training programs while specifically gearing programs towards helping students develop the skills needed for family sustaining jobs.“Even in my own family, believe it or not, my children faced discrimination in the past year,” Krishnamoorthi said.
He also suggested holding workshops in colleges and universities to bring awareness and encourage younger voters as many people don’t come out to vote. Groups will encompass community leaders

Trump wants to move Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the mainland – even to a place in Rockford. The thing is the countries don’t want these prisoners back. About 670 prisoners were released from Guantanamo Bay. We can certainly close Guantanamo. Gitmos is an eyesore for our reputation.
The Congressman hoped many people from the Indian community came out and voted. I hope South Asians vote. “I’m going to put forward my credentials and hope that voters will vote for me for another term.”
Indian votes in the 8th district (majority white neighborhood) might be divided in the November elections because of the entry of two more Republican Indian-American candidates Jitender Diganvker, a businessman and Vandana Jhingan, Bureau Chief of TV Asia. Either Jhingan or Diganvker will have to win in the March 2018 primary to contest with Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat, in the Nov. 2018 elections. The district has 12.7 percent Asian population.

“Lot of South Asians come out and vote – I hope so I don’t know. I think certainly there’s a lot of energy out there because of what the President is doing, but it has not become part of our civic hygiene. Do we vote on every single election? We have to take our kids and grandkids to polling stations.
Krishnamoorthi is a Harvard Law School graduate. He helped Obama in his campaign in 2004 and 2008 campaign, and was Deputy Treasurer of Illinois 2007-2009.
In a sudden turn of events on Feb. 1, State Board of Elections did not find enough signatures in Jhingan’s candidature and cancelled her nomination, for which she has appealed. By the weekend her petition will be decided.
On gun violence, Raja said that people are required to register after three days of waiting. Because of this policy there has been a reduction on gun violence.

“ One thing that bothered me on the President’s State of Union speech is that it almost felt that he wanted to double down on it and make it a symbol of his strength, but it is a source of weakness for our country right now,” Krishnamoorthi said.
I’m happy with Trump’s performance to some extent,” Krishanmoorthi said.
“I like my Republican colleagues. I want to hold more South Asian town halls,” he said.
We need a bill to stabilize healthcare and not allow our premium to go up. Unfortunately we have not come to a vote on this.
Is Obamacare perfect? No. There are many challenges and most Desis are on Obamacare and they tell me that that they can’t survive without Obamcare. For good of the families we need to stop talking about repealing Obamacare, the Congressman noted.
Krishamoorthi also hoped to hold a “Samosa Caucus” or “Fabulous Five” where other Indian American politicians come together and discuss their concerns.
Currently, Amy Bera from California, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna are all elected to the House of Representatives. Kamala Harris is a Senator from California.


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