Rally supporting Biden-Harris ticket held in Silicon Valley

Fremont, CA: Democratic supporters led by entrepreneur couple Vinita and Ajay Bhutoria organized a Get Out the Vote rally here for the Biden-Harris ticket last Sunday.  Supporters turned out wearing masks and following safety guidelines and they comprised small business owners, teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, elected officials, community leaders, and students.

They also did phone banking and outreach in battleground states. There are over 1.3 million Indo Americans in battleground states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Nevada and maybe the margin of victory. 

Bhutoria said, “This one is probably the most important election of our lifetime. There’s so much at stake. Right now in our country we are facing at least four crises: public health, economic downturn, racial injustice and climate change. It is important for all of us to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.”

Raj, 20, a Junior at Claremont McKenna College, said, “The decisions we make today will impact not only the next four years, but generations to come. Clearly, President Trump will not protect our nation’s commitment to racial justice, equal educational opportunities, and the preservation of our environment.” He said Biden-Harris is a historic ticket for women and Indo-Americans.

Prakash Thapa, a Nepali American small business owner, “We will make Donald Trump a one-term president. We need a president who will unite our country, who cares more about humanity and bring out our best — not one who stokes division and brings out our worst.”

Mahesh Nihalani, senior community leader, added that the Biden, Harris are strong proponents of India-US relationship, so “Abki Baar Biden Sarkaar.”

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Indian American political action group IMPACT raises record $10M

Washington, DC: IMPACT, the leading Indian American advocacy and political action committee on Oct 19 announced that it had raised $10 million over the past three months. The considerable war chest will be spent to support turnout efforts in the Asian American and Indian American community and to elect IMPACT’s 2020 slate of candidates including Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the first Indian-American on a national ticket, as well as Indian-American candidates running up and down ballots in states across the country.

“IMPACT’s fundraising strength reflects trends we’re seeing across the country,” IMPACT Executive Director Neil Makhija, said. “There’s a level of enthusiasm and excitement about this year’s election among Indian American voters that is palpable, and unrivaled in previous cycles. With an Indian American on the presidential ticket for the first time in history, and a record number of Indian American candidates running for office, Indian American voters are poised to exert a considerable amount of influence in this year’s election, and IMPACT will help mobilize and harness this emerging power.”

IMPACT will invest in the presidential, state-wide, and congressional races in battleground states across the country. Investments include committee contributions, paid advertising, targeted turnout operations, and infrastructure building. 

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Hope Biden will end country cap for H-1B visas: Democrat Indian American lawmakers

Washington, DCIndian-origin lawmakers during a recent virtual summit expressed hope that a Biden administration would remove the country cap on legal permanent residency in the United States.

A Green Card, officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued to the immigrants in the US that allows a non-US citizen to live and work permanently in America.

Indian IT and medical professionals, most of whom are highly skilled and come to the US mainly on the H-1B work visas, are the worst sufferers of the current immigration system which imposes a seven per cent per country quota on allotment of the coveted Green Card for permanent legal residency.

Professionals from India with H-1B visas are facing a delay of decades to get their Green Card.

One of the original co-sponsors of the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act, Democratic Congressman from Illinois Raja Krishnamoorthi said that removing the per country cap from employment-based Green Cards would remove the Green Card backlog for Indian IT professionals, who are being brought here often to fill the shortages in the IT industry.

“I’m hopeful that under a Joe Biden administration, we’re finally going to be able to get this legislation through the Senate, and then signed into law and of course, as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package as a whole,” Krishnamoorthi said during a virtual panel discussion with three other Indian-origin lawmakers — Dr Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna — at the day-long IMPACT Summit.

The discussion was moderated by former US Ambassador to India Rich Verma.

Congresswoman Jayapal, who is vice chairman of the House Immigration subcommittee, said that they have been working on a number of immigration-related issues including making sure that the spouses of H-1B workers are able to work in the US.

It includes addressing undocumented workers, a number of whom are Indians. Referring to a recent report, she said that 6.5 per cent of Indian-Americans are living below poverty lines.

Probably for the first time, the four Indian-origin lawmakers, popular as Samosa Caucus, were having a virtual panel where congressman Khanna said that he really believes that the Indian-American community can “be decisive” in swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

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How to vote in New York’s 2020 election

All New York voters who are worried about catching or spreading an illness will be able to cast an absentee ballot in November, allowing residents to vote safely from home amid the coronavirus pandemic:

Rather than distributing absentee ballot applications to all registered voters, as New York did for its June primaries, voters will need to request their absentee ballots from local election officials. But absentee ballot restrictions will be relaxed this year, allowing anyone concerned about catching or spreading the virus to vote remotely.

This is the first presidential election in which voters can get to the polls ahead of Election Day. The early voting window will run from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1.

How do I register to vote?
You can register online, by mail or in person. Access the state’s voter registration portal to register online. You’ll need information found on your driver’s license and the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you don’t have that information you can download a voter registration form, fill it out and either mail or deliver it to your county’s board of elections. You’ll need to include a copy of a valid photo ID, a utility statement or a paycheck with your registration application.
You can also call 800-FOR-VOTE and request that a voter application be mailed to you. Registration forms must be postmarked by Oct. 9 and received by your county’s board of elections no later than Oct. 14 to vote in the November general election.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For early voting, polling sites and hours are determined locally.
New Yorkers are not required to present identification at the polls.
To make polling places safe from coronavirus, masks are required for all workers and voters. Election workers will also be provided personal protective equipment, and everyone at polling locations will be asked to social distance. Hand sanitizer will also be available.

The key races in New York state are: U.S. President; U.S. House: All 27 seats; State Senate: All 63 seats; State Assembly: All 150 seats

Information courtesy AARP

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PM Modi great friend of mine, Indian-Americans would vote for me: Trump

By The SATimes News Service

Washington, DC: Highlighting the great relationship that he has developed with Indian Americans and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump said that he would think that Indian Americans will vote for him in the November 3 presidential election.

“We have great support from India. We have great support from Prime Minister Modi. I would think that the Indian (American) people would be voting for Trump,” the president told reporters at a White House news conference.

Trump was responding to a question on a video titled, “Four more years” released by the Trump Campaign during the Republican National Convention last month. Tweeted by Kimberly Guilfoyle, national chair of Trump Victory Finance Committee and retweeted by his son Donald Trump Jr, the video conceptualized by Al Mason, co-chair of the Trump Victory Indian American Finance Committee, has short clips from the Modi-Trump joint address in Houston last year and Ahmedabad in February this year.

“Would Kimberly, Don Jr, and Ivanka Trump, who are very popular among Indian Americans, would be campaigning on your behalf among the Indian Americans with your views on India-US relationship?” he was asked.

“I know India and I understood those young people (Kimberley, Donald J Trump Jr and Ivanka) that you mentioned. They’re very good young people. And I know their relationship with India is very good and so is mine,” Trump said.

The president said that he has a very good relationship with PM Modi.

“Prime Minister Modi is a friend of mine and he’s doing a very good job. Nothing easy, but he’s done a very good job,” he said as he recollected his historic address at the ‘Howdy Mody’ event in Houston last September.

“We had an event in Houston, as you know. And it was a fantastic event. I was invited by Prime Minister Modi and this was a massive (event)… And it was incredible. And the prime minister could not have been more generous. We have great support from India. We have great support from Prime Minister Modi,” Trump said.

The president then referred to his India visit early this year in February before the coronavirus pandemic hit the two countries.

“I also, as you know, went to India just prior to the pandemic setting in because India has been hit very hard, left really about a week before that, and we had an incredible time. What we saw the people are so incredible it’s really an incredible place, an incredible country and its definitely big,” he said.

“But you’ve got a great leader and he’s a great person,” Trump said. (PTI)

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Indian Americans offer key advantage in battleground states: Trump Jr.

Washington, DC: President Donald Trump has a key advantage in the battleground states that could re-elect him in November, his eldest son Donald Trump Jr has said, citing an op-ed which claims that 50 per cent of Indian-American voters in these states are moving away from the opposition Democratic Party towards his father though most of the opinion polls show that Biden is several points ahead of Trump.

Trump Jr, who is leading his father’s 2020 re-election campaign, played a key role in the outreach to the Indian-American community in 2016, which he has continued during the last three-and-a-half years.

“A Key Advantage in Battleground States Could Secure 2020 for Trump,” he tweeted on Sunday, along with an op-ed written by an ardent Trump supporter Al Mason in the latest issue of American Greatness news website.

According to the article, Trump, a Republican, could find himself the recipient of tens of thousands of Indian-American votes across the United States.

“I have stirred the pot with my findings – and the air bubbles of appreciation by the Trump supporters and fear of the Democrats are floating around,” Mason, one of the honorary co-chairs of the Trump Victory Finance Committee, told PTI after the tweet by Trump Jr.

“As the co-chairman of the Trump Victory Indian American Finance Committee, I have seen firsthand the results of grassroots polling efforts of Indian-American communities in each of these states,” Mason wrote in his op-ed.

Come November 3, 2020, Trump could find himself the recipient of tens of thousands of votes from Indian-American communities across the US, and in particular, in the battleground states, including Florida, Virginia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, that Trump needs most to secure his reelection, Mason said.

Quite simply, the results show that as many as 50 per cent of potential Indian-American voters, the vast majority of whom traditionally have voted Democrats in presidential elections, will defect from the Democratic Party and vote for President Trump, he said.

“This mass defection could add tens of thousands of new Trump voters in key battleground states and could very well end up helping to secure the president’s reelection,” Mason said.

In response to a question, Mason said that the Democrats have discussed similar findings at their town hall, attended by heavy weights like former US ambassador to India Richard Verma, Biden Unity Task Force Economic Policy Advisor Sonal Shah, former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Center for the American Progress Action Fund CEO Neera Tanden.

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Gautam Raghavan first Indian American in Biden’s transition team

Washington, DC: Indian-American Gautam Raghavan has joined the transition team announced by the Biden campaign.

Headed by Delaware Senator Ted Kaufman, the transition team will lay the groundwork for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to constitute his administration if he wins the November US presidential election and defeats incumbent Donald Trump.

Raghavan, who previously worked in the White House during the Obama administration and currently was the chief of staff to Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, is the only Indian-American in the Biden transition team.

“Gautam Raghavan joins Biden Transition,” said Impact, an Indian-American political advocacy group which he has founded.

“The next president will confront an ongoing global health pandemic and inherit an economy in its worst shape since the Great Depression. No one will have taken office facing such daunting obstacles since Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” Kaufman said in a statement.

“Joe Biden is prepared to meet these urgent challenges on the day he is sworn in as president, and begin the hard work of addressing the public health crisis and rebuilding an economy that puts working families first,” he said.

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