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August 3, 2017
In The News

President Trump’s plan to limit immigration to all but highly skilled English speakers is bad news both for Silicon Valley and the country, said Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, whose South Bay district includes includes that high-tech hub.

While talented immigrants are both needed and welcome in Silicon Valley, he said in a video discussion with Chronicle political writers Joe Garofoli and John Wildermuth, “people aren’t just software engineers. They have mothers, sisters, families,” all of whom want to be part of the American community beyond the tech world.

Cutting back on immigration and virtually barring non-English speakers from coming to the United States will hurt the country, added Khanna, whose parents immigrated to the United States from India.

Immigration is one of the country’s great advantages, he said, since by welcoming people from around the world, the country gets insight into the thinking of people around the globe.

Khanna also talked about his concerns about Amazon’s proposed merger with Whole Foods, which would create a new powerhouse in the grocery business.

Bigger isn’t always better, especially when it threatens to steamroll the many small grocers in his district and across the country, he said.

“Grocery stores for ethnic families are wealth-creating,” Khanna said, employ people and are passed down over the years. “Do we believe (lower) consumer prices are the Holy Grail” or should regulators also look at the impact the proposed merger will have on local businesses and on jobs?

During the interview, Khanna, a Fremont attorney and economist elected to Congress last November, talked about his efforts to nudge Democrats toward backing a more progressive agenda, including single-payer health care, free public college, a $15-an-hour minimum wage and higher tax credits for low-income workers.