In response to US President Donald Trump announced his “merit based” immigration proposal, Democrat Senator Kamala Harris invoked her unique background as a presidential candidate — being the daughter of an Indian immigrant.
“I found the announcement today to be shortsighted,” CNN quoted Harris as saying on Thursday 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 added.
“It is, and has always been, about family. And that was completely overlooked, and I would suggest, denied, in the way the policy was outlined today.”
At the event hosted by an Asian American group, One APIA Nevada, Harris dove into her barrier-breaking election to the US Senate as the first South Asian to serve in the body’s history. She acknowledged her presidential run as a biracial woman helping to shatter notions about being black, Asian and a woman.
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.
An audience member asked Harris if she would consider wearing a traditional Indian saree to her inauguration.
“Let’s first win,” Harris responded. “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.”