Recently, the Trump administration proposed a change to what is known as the “public charge” rule, in an attempt to bypass the Congress. The change will be published imminently in the federal register, at which point the public will have the opportunity to comment before it becomes official.
“Public charge” is currently applied to determine whether an immigrant is inadmissible or ineligible for permanent status based on the use of public cash assistance. The Trump administration is extending the interpretation to include members of an immigrant’s entire household for determining whether that immigrant was eligible.
While experts debate over this issue, President Trump has nominated Indian-American Aditya Bamzai, a professor at University of Virginia’s School of Law, to be a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board for the remainder of a six-year term expiring January 29th, 2020.
Bamzai is a Yale and University of Chicago Law School graduate who has served as an attorney-advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel of the US Department of Justice. He has also been an appellate attorney in the National Security Division of the Department of Justice and his private practice. He has argued cases relating to separation of power and national security in various courts including the US Supreme Court, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review.
In 2016, Bamzai joined the University of Virginia School of Law’s faculty where he teaches about civil procedure, administrative law, federal courts, national security law, computer crime, etc.
In other news related to the White House, the century-old apex body of journalists covering the US President, White House Correspondents Association (WHCA), elected their first Indian-American member to the board. Anita Kumar became the first Indian American to be part of the nine-member board.
Kumar was born and brought up in Charlottesville. After college, she started her journalism career with News and Advance in Lynchburg, Virginia and the News and Record in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Her first major break was with erstwhile St. Petersburg Times, (now known as The Tampa Bay Times). She worked for about a decade before moving to the capital. Kumar is now the White House Correspondent for the McClatchy group of newspapers.
She is covering the second president in her career. According to her, access to the President and the information from the White House has been an issue. She said,“They (journalists) want more briefings. They want more on the record statements. They want more access to other people besides (the White House Press Secretary) Sarah Sanders. They want the press office people to return their emails. That’s a big problem to get anyone to respond and answer any questions.”
While the administration is finding new ways to close in on the immigrants-legal and illegal alike to meet its agendas, there is a rise in the appointment of Indian-Americans to high positions. Whether it is a confused plan of action or a way to appear tolerant of immigrants, we wish luck to both Bamzai and Kumar on their successful careers.
Snigdha is a 'closet' writer with unapologetic opinions on life and people around her. She supports the cause of protecting endangered civil rights like free speech, equity, equality, and most importantly common sense.