By Aashish Mishra
Kathmandu, Jan. 31: America is now 10 days into the Biden presidency and Nepali-Americans and Nepalis residing in the United States of America (USA) seem to be optimistic about his election. “Biden’s victory is a remarkable achievement for the entire Nepali-American community,” stated Harry Bhandari, state delegate representing Maryland District 8 Baltimore County in a press release issued by the pro-Biden volunteer organisation Nepalese Americans for Biden on November 7.
Bhandari, who is the first person of Nepali origin to be elected to the Maryland General Assembly, said that the election of Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris, the first female, Black, South-Asian vice-president in American history, had inspired the children of all immigrants.
Similarly, Suneel Sah, president of the Non-Resident Nepali Association’s National Coordination Council, USA, told The Rising Nepal that the Biden administration was expected to enact some changes in America’s immigration policies, particularly to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme, and implement some measures in healthcare, which will affect everyone, including the Nepalis residing there.
“Most importantly, the new president and his cabinet might not be so eager to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) extended to Nepal as the previous president was. There might also be a pathway to citizenship,” said Dominick Paneru, a 56-year-old public-school teacher of Allenville, Illinois who has been living in America since he was a teenager.
According to an October 2020 report by the US’s Congressional Research Service, TPS directly benefits nearly 15,000 Nepali nationals. “Therefore, anyone who is willing to preserve the status quo on TPS is a friend to the Nepali community,’ Paneru said.
Moreover, Paneru shared that Nepalis and the larger non-White immigrant population had always preferred Democratic leadership over Republicans. “There are some who agree with the Republicans’ market strategies but on issues like wages, healthcare, social security, they stand along with the Democrats,” he said.
Sah, though, noted that Nepalis living in the US actively participated in political discourse and activities of both parties and both of them had a significant number of followers in the Nepali community. Nevertheless, Nepalis watched the inauguration of Joe Biden with great attention and excitement, Sah said.
Likewise, as an international student, Biden’s victory makes America seem more open to scholars, felt Kapil Adhikari, a recent graduate of Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, Annapolis. “His commitment to science-based recovery of the nation is a well-needed strategy to make the country less hostile to the talented minds from across the world,” he said.
The American presidential elections were held across the country on November 3 last year. Biden won with 81,283,098 votes which translated to 306 votes in the Electoral College. Trump won 74,222,958 popular votes and 232 votes in the Electoral College.