Trump says he would give green cards to foreign graduates of US colleges

Republican contender known for his hardline stance on immigration says graduates should be able to stay in the country.

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Former US President Donald Trump has pledged to carry out the largest deportation operation in US history [Jeffrey Phelps/AP Photo]

Former United States President Donald Trump has said he would automatically grant green cards to foreign graduates of US colleges if re-elected, an unexpected turn from the Republican known for his tough rhetoric on immigration.

During a podcast interview with Silicon Valley tech investors on Thursday, Trump promised to make it easier to bring talent to the US and said anyone who graduates from a US college should be able to stay in the country.

“It’s so sad when we lose people from Harvard, MIT, the greatest schools, and lesser schools that are phenomenal schools also,” Trump said during an appearance on the All-In Podcast hosted by Chamath Palihapitiya, Jason Calacanis, David Sacks and David Friedberg.

“I think you should get, automatically, as part of your diploma, a green card to be able to stay in this country and that includes junior colleges, too,” Trump added.

A green card gives individuals the right to live and work permanently in the US and offers a pathway to citizenship.

Trump’s proposal, which would create potentially hundreds of thousands of new citizenship applicants each year, marks a sharp departure from the hardline positions on immigration that propelled his rise within the Republican Party.

Trump, who once claimed migrants were “poisoning the blood of our country”, has pledged to undertake the largest deportation of undocumented migrants in US history if reelected in November and has repeatedly attacked his Democratic rival, President Joe Biden, as being soft on immigration.

At a campaign event in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Trump hit out at a programme Biden announced this week that will allow undocumented spouses of US citizens to apply for permanent residence without having to leave the country.

“Our country is under invasion. We should not be talking amnesty, we should be talking about stopping the invasion instead,” Trump said.

Some 11 million migrants are living in the US without authorisation, according to estimates by the Department of Homeland Security.

Although Trump has directed much of his ire at undocumented migration, he sharply reduced legal immigration during his time in office.

The Trump administration cut the number of green cards and immigrant visas by 418,453 and 11,178,668, respectively, according to an analysis by the libertarian Cato Institute, although most of the decline was due to restrictions introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During his appearance on the All-In Podcast, Trump said the pandemic had disrupted his plans to hand out green cards to foreign graduates.

“I know of stories where people graduate from a top college, or from a college, and they desperately wanted to stay here. They had a plan for a company, a concept and they can’t,” Trump said.

“They go back to India, they go back to China, they do the same basic company in those places and they become multi-billionaires employing thousands and thousands of people, and it could have been done here.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies