In a podcast on Thursday, former President Donald Trump announced his desire to provide foreign nationals with automatic green cards after graduating from a U.S. college.

The move was surprising to some. According to Reuters, the proposal is contrary to the former president’s call for “hardline immigration.”

Trump reportedly spoke with Silicon Valley tech investors on an podcast called “All-In.” When angel investor Jason Calacanis asked Trump if he could promise the ability to import “the best and brightest around the world” to America, Trump responded, “I do promise.”

“But I happen to agree, otherwise I wouldn’t promise. ... You graduate from a college, I think you should get automatically as part of your diploma a green card to be able to stay in this country and that includes junior colleges too,” he continued.

According to a statement from the Trump campaign to The New York Times, this process would include “aggressive vetting.” Karoline Leavitt, Trump’s campaign press secretary, said in a statement that the distribution of green cards would “exclude all communists, radical Islamists, Hamas supporters, America haters and public charges.” The strategy would apply to the “most skilled graduates who can make significant contributions to America.”

How are people reacting?

The announcement has received multiple reactions. Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, shared his opinion with the New York Post: “If someone earns a Ph.D. at a university in a hard science, I personally will drive to their house and give them a green card,” he said. “The issue is any foreign college graduate, even from a bogus two-year master’s program or gender studies (major), would get a green card.

“If this proposal were adopted, you would see an explosion of quickie, one-year master’s programs around the country as a way of selling green cards to foreigners,” he told the Post, suggesting people could “exploit” and earn profit from “billions of people around the world.”

Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the American Immigration Council, told Reuters about his reaction: “I almost have to laugh because his administration adopted multiple policies aiming to restrict student visas and make it harder for people to stay in the country after graduating,” he said.

The Biden campaign also expressed skepticism. Spokesperson Kevin Munoz told Reuters: “Every chance Donald Trump got in office, he made it his mission to rip apart immigrant families for his own political gain.


“Trump’s empty promise is both a lie and an insult,” he continued, “especially to the countless people that have been permanently damaged by his first-term in office.”

Several Reddit users also exchanged thoughts on the nature of Trump’s declaration. One user commented: “He was in a podcast with CEOs and telling them what they want to hear.”

Another said: “If I thought he actually meant it I’d love it. I worked throughout grad school with some brilliant folks from Chile, Colombia, Pakistan, and China all of whom would be assets to the US if they decided to stay. But I don’t think he means it.”

Kris Soltis Anderson, a Republican pollster, posted her thoughts on social media: “Surprised Trump backs green cards for college grads? Don’t be,” she wrote. After quoting, “‘60% of voters overall and 89% of GOP voters agree with Trump’s call for a ‘big, beautiful door’ — pairing tough border policies with a welcoming legal immigration system for those who can contribute to our economy.’”

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