Vivek Ramaswamy himself has used the H-1B visa programme 29 times. (File)
Continuing his proposals of harsh policy changes, Indian-American presidential aspirant Vivek Ramaswamy, in his second Republican presidential debate, has said he would favour ending birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants in the US.
The second Republican debate of the 2024 election cycle which was held at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California on Wednesday, saw Mr Ramaswamy sharing the stage with six other candidates including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.
When asked "what legal premise" he would use to expel undocumented immigrants and their American-born children from the country, Vivek Ramaswamy, the son of Indian immigrants, resurrected a 2015 proposal of ending birthright citizenship from then-candidate Donald Trump, reported the Washington Post on Wednesday.
The first section of the citizenship clause of the US Constitution's 14th Amendment says, "All persons born or naturalised in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."
Although most agree with the long-held tradition that it grants citizenship to those born on US soil, some legal scholars argue that the phrase "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" seems to give the government some leeway to restrict the right, just as other constitutional principles can be limited, the report said.
Because of this, he argued, children of undocumented immigrants born in the United States should not be granted citizenship, because their parents "broke the law" to be in the country.
Vivek Ramaswamy, 38, also supported his opponents onstage and acknowledged other measures such as militarisation of the southern border, defunding "sanctuary cities," and an end to foreign aid to Mexico and Central America.
He said he would go a "step further" by ending "birthright citizenship for the kids of illegal immigrants in this country." A second-generation Indian-American, Mr Ramaswamy, had earlier criticised the H-1B visa programme saying the current "lottery" system needs to be "gutted" and replaced with a "meritocratic" skill-based immigration scheme to match the needs of the US.
The H-1B visa, much sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
His stance on H-1B visas is also reminiscent of the 2016 Trump campaign, when then-candidate Donald Trump, who has also hired a number of foreign workers under H-1B visas for his businesses, took a hardline stance on these foreign workers before later softening his rhetoric.
It is to be noted that Ramaswamy himself has used the H-1B visa programme 29 times.
According to Politico, from 2018 through 2023, US Citizenship and Immigration Services approved 29 applications for Vivek Ramaswamy's former company, Roivant Sciences, to hire employees under H-1B visas.
Mr Ramaswamy, who was addressed as "Trump's heir apparent" by Time Magazine has garnered quite an attention after his maiden Republican presidential primary debate held on August 23.
The first poll after the debate said that 28 per cent of the 504 respondents said that Ramaswamy performed the best.
Mr Ramaswamy's harsh proposals have helped him stand out in the crowded primary field, according to US media reports.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)