Democratic presidential candidate and former United States Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday praised Indian Americans for their hard work and entrepreneurship, reported PTI. Biden said the community’s work has powered the economic growth of America and helped create cultural dynamism.

Biden assuaged doubts of the community, in the virtual address of a fundraiser, and said that he would address their concerns related to the H-1B visa. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows American companies to employ foreign workers in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

On June 23, United States President Donald Trump signed an executive order to suspend several categories of foreign work visas, including the H-1B visa, which is highly sought-after by Indian IT professionals, till the end of 2020. Trump’s decision came amid a sharp increase in the unemployment rate in the US due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Trump administration’s decision has met with protests from Indians, who have received as much as 70% of H-1B visas over the past five years.

In July, a group of Indians held a protest rally on H-1B visa in Washington DC, demanding immigration law reform. Before that, a group of 174 Indians, including seven minors, filed a lawsuit against Trump’s decision. The move was also opposed by business leaders, who say it will block their ability to recruit critically needed workers from countries overseas for jobs.

On August 12, some relaxations were made in the rules for H-1B, allowing visa holders to enter the country if they were returning to the same jobs they had prior to the ban. A notice by the US State Department said this was done as “forcing employers to replace employees in this situation may cause financial hardship”.

Biden, during his address on Tuesday, noted the contribution made by Indian Americans. “Entrepreneurs running businesses around the country and around the world, innovators who make the foundation for Silicon Valley and lead some of the most influential companies in the world come from the community,” he added. “That is a continuation of who we are, we are a nation of immigrants.”

The US presidential candidate also criticised Trump for his actions related to H-1B, racial injustice and the climate crisis. He said Trump has made things worse, not better.

“We do not talk enough about how the Indian American community has powered our economic growth,” Biden said, according to PTI. “As President, I promise I am going to draw on the best, not the worst, beat this pandemic and build the economy back, help our kids get a good education and make sure healthcare is a right not a privilege, and build an immigration system that powers our economy and reflects our values.”

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