Category Archives: Greenhandshake Blog

Trump’s Presidency May Change the Way Silicon Valley Works

During the presidential campaign, all Silicon Valley leaders uniformly rejected Donald Trump. Now they’re struggling to come to terms with what his presidency will mean for their industry.

Under the Obama Administration, Silicon Valley became very friendly with Washington and the relationship went both ways. After the end of his term, President Obama would likely stay linked to tech, with much of the work of his charitable presidential foundation tied to the progress of innovations in Silicon Valley.

On the contrary, the reality of a Trump presidency would likely be vastly different for the tech industry. Trump stated that he plans to punish companies that offshore production by placing tariffs on their imports back to the US. Never mind the fact that Trump’s own companies manufacture thousands of items overseas.

“We’re going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries,” he promised at Liberty University as early as January, a commitment he repeated at other events.

The problem is that, at least in Apple’s case, forcing adherence to this policy would be both logistically impossible and economically disastrous. Forcing Apple to produce the iPhone in the US would make the device too expensive that it would become less competitive with foreign competitors like Samsung.

Apple would have to look for other places to cut down on expenses—including scaling back corporate operations or closing retail locations, which already employ thousands of Americans—jobs at home Trump purportedly hopes to save.

But Trump’s trade policies go beyond the case of Apple. Trump has also criticized both China and Mexico, proposing a blanket 45 percent tax on Chinese imports and 35 percent tax on Mexican imports if the countries do not reform their policies affecting US trade.

“I think the tech industry is going to have to react to this collectively,” says Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. “The question is: are they capable of acting collectively or are they individual firms that just do what’s best for them?”

In addition to imports and offshore outsourcing, much of the work in the Silicon Valley relies upon immigrants. Trump has already expressed his plans to implement stricter laws on immigration so this might be another area of concern for the tech industry.

According to the National Foundation for American Policy, more than half of start-ups in the U.S. that are valued at $1 billion or more—have at least one immigrant founder. The top job at some of tech’s most established companies have immigrants helming the ship, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Foreigners have also filled the middle ranks of many tech companies as well, especially in technical jobs.

Over the past three years, the tech industry has vocally committed itself to the work of diversity. This commitment to diversity may be even more challenging in the era of Trump. His campaign showed an unprecedented willingness to insult pretty much every minority group in the US. This is why tech CEOs is reinforcing their commitment to diversity.

The only tech VIP who has explicitly aligned himself with the new Trump administration is billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who controversially backed Trump’s candidacy and will reportedly be part of the presidential transition team.

Nghi Tran – CFO of Greenhandshake

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Questions of xenophobia cause disquiet among international students

racism-and-xenophobiaIncreasing xenophobia in the United States is being cited as one of the factors that have given Donald Trump a victory that was unexpected and proved most pollsters wrong. His rant against foreigners has heightened concerns among foreigner’s especially international students, many of whom come from China. Most of these students have availed of expensive loans and have hoped that the provisions of being able to work in the US after their studies would enable them to clear the loans that they have taken. These students are now hoping that the strident statements made by the President elect will only be electoral rhetoric and will not really translate to ground reality in the long run. Based on my experience of my experience as an international student here is my reading of how things could pan out.

China’s rise as a global economic power has always been a cause of concern in America, and many citizens feel that this has come about at the cost of American jobs. Donald Trump has been one of those hardliners who not only believes that China has been dumping cheap goods in the country that has not only damaged to the economy but also cost job losses and hardship for the working class in the country. ON the campaign trail, he has only several occasions, threatened to impose protectionist tariffs on Chinese goods as a measure to counter such imports. Another charge has been that the Yuan, the official currency of China, has been artificially propped up by the government to ensure that their goods remain competitive. AS a reaction the Chinese authorities have already begun to quietly devalue its currency to cushion any possible action by the Americans. This devaluation could have a potential impact on the Chinese students as their loans will now work out to be more expensive.

The immediate impact of the president elects policies will certainly affect immigrants, especially the illegal ones who will be a target of action. However the impact will not be as visible or significant  for international students who are anyways , unlike in other English speaking countries like Australia and New Zealand, not allowed to work off campus and is not real a threat to American jobs. On the contrary, international students contribute massively to not only the national economy but also to the local economies.

Nevertheless, international students have a genuine reason to be concerned about tone and tenor of Trump’s threats that is not new or recent-his protectionist beliefs and intent has been aired by him for over a year in various forums and there is nothing here that says that this is only rhetoric. Polarizing posters have appeared on college campuses, which together with rallies and instances of conflict among groups with divergent views have only served to heighten the concern and anxiety among these students. The next few months will be critical and every move and statement of the president elect will be closely watched for any indication on how all this gets translated on the ground.

Sue J Liu –

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The Insane Numbers Behind Trump’s Stance on Illegal Immigrants


One of the famous campaign promises of President-elect Donald Trump is his plan to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the United States and to deport the country’s current 11 million illegal immigrants.

Trump drew the attention of both fans and critics when he promised to build “a big, beautiful, powerful wall,” along the U.S. border with Mexico. He also proposed a number of other enforcement measures, including apprehending and deporting millions of people.

In an interview aired Sunday night on CBS‘s 60 Minutes, Trump laid out his plan to build the proposed wall, suggesting he would deport several million undocumented immigrants immediately.

“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Trump told 60 Minutes. “But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.”

While Trump’s dedication on his plans is out of question, putting them into action has raised concerns because it would involve steps beyond the scope of current U.S. Immigration laws and budget. Experts say that Trump’s proposal could costs billions of dollars to implement and would require hiring thousands of new enforcement agents. Critics even likened it to creating a new police state.


The Cost of Mass Deportation

In comparison with Trump’s plan to build a wall, his mass deportation proposal is more costly and tedious.

According to a government estimate, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division has the capacity to remove roughly 400,000 people a year. Currently, about 5,000 enforcers are devoted to apprehending undocumented immigrants. So, deporting more than 11 million people in the two-year time frame that Trump has promised would require more than 90,000 enforcers—about three times the size of New York City’s police force.

Aside from the additional enforcement officers, the American Action Forum also looked at other aspects of Trump’s plan. The group estimated it would take around 32,000 new immigration attorneys to process cases plus hundreds of thousands of extra detention beds, 17,000 chartered airplane flights, and 30,000 chartered bus trips each year. The total cost would be $100 billion to $300 billion, the group estimates.


The Cost of Building a Wall

Trump himself has suggested that the cost of building a wall in the US-Mexican borders would be around $10 billion—a cost that Mexico should contribute to, according to him. However, Mexican officials and even Trump’s own allies have questioned whether Mexico would ever be compelled to give its share.

The cost of the wall would likely be around $25 billion—no matter who pays. The price tag includes $10 billion for concrete panels, $5 billion to $6 billion for steel columns, and the rest for engineering and management costs, among other items.

That seems like a lot of money by most standards, but in the context of the federal budget it’s actually a relatively modest sum. By way of comparison, Boston’s Big Dig tunnel project, completed a decade ago, cost about $15 billion. Also, Trump promised during the campaign that he would spend more than $500 billion in total on infrastructure—a pledge that’s already had an impact on interest rates.

Overall, Trump’s proposal on building a wall and mass deportation is already drawing concerns from many economists and political analysts even before its implementation. The president-elect may have to think his immigration plans over before taking seats next year.

Elizabeth Olivares – Social Media Assistant

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International students wonder how President Trump policies will impact their lives


International students, who have a sizeable presence at the Boston University, are concerned about the statements made by Donald trump on the campaign trail and wonder if they this rhetoric will translate to reality post the swearing in of the new president and how his policies will affect them.

These international students, represent a sizeable chunk of  the students on campus-in Fall 2015 they numbered 8452; approximately a quarter of the BU student body.

William Grimes, associate dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, said he expects the incoming president will bring in changes in rules on immigration that will definitely affect immigrants, but legal international students would not have anything to worry about.

However, he felt that the growing specter of xenophobia could be a matter of concern to such students and could prevent students from considering coming to the US for studies and also affect the trend of students coming to the country.     

Many students, Grimes felt,  might have concerns on how they would now be treated in the US and also that many of such students who harbor the hope of  living and working in the country after graduation would now have a rethink on their prospects.

In a placatory statement that aimed to assuage any concerns of international students Grimes also reiterated that the University will continue to ensure a safe and protected environment for everyone.

Alejandro Beristain, a senior in the College of Communication and secretary of the Mexican Students Association, felt that the recent election has changed many international students’ perception of the US as a place that thrives on equality and diversity .He said that Trump’s recent statements had given them a feeling that they were not appreciated or welcome, unlike earlier on.

Roshni Shukla, president of the BU International Society while agreeing that the election had caused unease and distress among international students urged them to remain positive. She reminded these students that they have entered the country legally on their F-1, J-1, or M-1 Visa and should not have any cause for concern and reaffirmed her strong belief that U.S. will still be a country of immigrants and one that still provides so many academic and economic opportunities.

Patricia Arribas, a junior in COM, and Julia Bighetto, a freshman in the College of General Studies and an international student from Brazil, were among the students who are now worried and apprehensive about the long term effect of Trump’s policies that will have a direct bearing on them. They feel that their status as international students would protect them to an extend but felt that this would not prevent growing discrimination.

They both agreed that BU was a wonderful and an amazing place to study they said they had already seen several reports of harassment towards immigrants and advised students that  while they shouldn’t be too worried they should at the same time remain cautious.

Tuan Nguyen – Social Media Assistant

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