AAHOA Leaders Attend State Visit to Cement U.S.-India Ties, Urge Lawmakers to End H-2B Visa Caps


ATLANTA, Ga., Jun. 28 – The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), the largest hotel owners association in the nation, applauded the strengthening of the U.S.-India bilateral relationship after the state visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington.

AAHOA Chairman Bharat Patel, Vice Chairman Miraj Patel, Treasurer Kamalesh (KP) Patel, Secretary Rahul Patel, and Immediate Past Chair Nishant (Neal) Patel represented AAHOA’s 20,000 hotelier members as guests Thursday at the White House South Lawn welcome ceremony and Prime Minister Modi’s joint address to Congress.

“The hotel industry has long provided thousands of first- and second-generation immigrants from India an opportunity to achieve the American Dream of entrepreneurship,” said AAHOA Chairman Bharat Patel. “As the most populous country in the world and the crossroads of the Indo-Pacific region, India is a critical  player on the world stage and an important U.S. ally. As members of an industry founded on hospitality and personal relationships, AAHOA leaders were honored to represent one of the most important industries to the Indian American community and our nation’s economy.”

AAHOA leaders also reiterated their calls for lawmakers to eliminate caps on the H-2B visa program to encourage more of India’s talent to come to the U.S. for career opportunities to further deepen the partnership between the two countries.

“As Prime Minister Modi said in his address to Congress, Indian Americans’ talents and skills have ‘shown the potential of our partnership.’ The U.S. and India need look no further than the hotel industry, where AAHOA Members own 60 percent of U.S. hotels and are responsible for 1.7 percent of the nation’s GDP,” said AAHOA President & CEO Laura Lee Blake. “We believe more people from India should also have the opportunity to come to the U.S. and achieve the American Dream. That’s why we urge lawmakers to eliminate caps on the H-2B visa program so there are no constraints on addressing employers’ needs for additional seasonal workers. A stronger U.S.-India partnership will open doors for increased collaboration and investment, which will benefit both countries and ultimately the global community.”

AAHOA leaders had urged congressional leaders to invite the leader of the world’s largest democracy to address Congress during the state visit. In a letter to Speaker Kevin McCarthy on May 25, AAHOA Chairman Bharat Patel and AAHOA President & CEO Laura Lee Blake encouraged creating a venue to provide a constructive dialogue on ways the U.S. and India can cooperate on key issues. “Such a gesture would once again display the strong bilateral relationship our two nations share,” they wrote.

Additionally, a delegation of AAHOA Members joined top Indian dignitaries and leaders for a series of business meetings in an effort to create a mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and India.


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