Visa Crunch

Why are Indian Americans crucial for the US Election?

The Indian Americans make up about 1.5% of the American population which is not a lot, but they are the wealthiest and most educated out of all the immigrant groups. Right now at around 4 million, the Indian Americans are the fastest-growing community, and it is the second-largest immigrant group after the Mexicans. 

There is a spotlight on Indian Americans right now as Indian origin Senator Kamala Harris has been selected by presidential candidate Joe Biden to be his running mate. The Senator’s mother, Shyamala Gopal, was a biologist from Chennai, India and her father Donald Harris who was an economist from Jamaica. After her parents divorced, she was brought up as a member of the black church along with her sisters by their mother. 

Although the Indian Americans are growing very fast in number, the populace started in meek numbers due to the restrictions on immigration in the US before the 1965 Immigration of Nationality Act. The Act of 1965 abolished restrictions on immigration based on nationality and prioritised getting high skilled workers, thus getting high traffic of teachers, doctors and managers from Asia. 

In 1957, Dilip Saund became the first Indian American to be elected in the house of representatives from the southern California district and was able to eradicate a lot of stigmas that were widespread about South Asians. In 2005, Piyush Jindal became the second Indian American to be elected in the house of representatives, followed by Pramila Jayapal the first Indian American women to be elected. Currently, there are 5 Indian Americans in the house, including Senator Kamala Harris. Indian Americans are very appealing to political parties as potential donors because they are the most affluent immigrant group, which has been accurate because Indians have been vital donors in the current election. 

The republican party has tried to capture votes from marginalised communities, including the Indian Americans for a long time. But the two Indian individuals in the house who belonged to the Republican Party Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley, but both have converted to Christianity and strayed away from their cultural roots. However, when Trump visited India in February 2020, he got received with a larger than life event hosted by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Even then a majority of Indian Americans have been leaning towards the Democratic side. In 2012, a survey conducted showed that nearly 65% of Indian Americans vote for Democrat candidates.  An updated recent study from 2020 shows that 54% of Indian Americans are supporting Joe Biden, and 29% of Indians are supporting Donald Trump. The same report states that there are 1.8 million Indian American registered voters in critical swing states like Arizona and Wisconsin. 

84% a significant number of Indian Americans voted for Obama in 2008. One of the reasons for Indian Americans favouring the Democrats is that the party has been welcoming immigrants and minorities from the beginning.

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