Triangle immigrants respond to President Trump's immigration plan

Reaction across the Triangle to President Trump's major immigration proposal Thursday depended a lot on which group of immigrants was being asked.

In communities surrounding Research Triangle Park, with its thousands of highly-skilled immigrant workers, there was some good news in the plan. But, in Triangle communities with many undocumented immigrants, who may be working lower-wage jobs, the plan is not going over well.

"It is good news for Nandu Konduri," said Steve Rao, referring to the RTP software engineer ABC11 interviewed back in 2017 when Konduri was fearful his H1-B visa as a highly-skilled worker would be revoked in a Trump administration crackdown.

Rao is Konduri's town councilman in Morrisville and also a member of The Partnership for a New American Economy, a coalition of mayors and business leaders pushing for comprehensive immigration reform.

"So having these H1-B's here, we think at the New American Economy is essential to our competitiveness," Rao said. "There's probably 10,000 to 15,000 in the Triangle region. These are scientists, entrepreneurs, business leaders who are driving tech and innovation."

North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis tweeted that he applauds the president's plan, calling it "good for our economy."

The proposal would reverse the current U.S. policy of giving the majority of green cards to immigrants with family ties over ones based on skills.

"No, there isn't anything that we like (about Trump's plan)," said Moises Serrano, political director at el Pueblo Inc, the Raleigh-based non-profit that advocates for immigrants' rights.

Serrano argues that America wasn't built by high-skilled immigrants; it was built by low-skilled immigration.

"For any American that agrees with this, I would like for Americans to show us the PhD's, the Masters, the Bachelor's degrees that their ancestor came with to this country," Serrano said. "We view this (plan) as trying to exclude people from Latin America and underdeveloped countries and we're also targeting thousands of migrant families."

Serrano is also a Dreamer, brought here as a child from Mexico by parents who were undocumented.

The president's plan does not address the current legal limbo of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers like serrano.

When asked today why not -- the White House said, because previous plans involving them have failed.
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