A big shoutout to senior data journalist Sinduja Rangarajan for winning a national award from the Asian American Journalists Association. Her extensive reporting and wrangling of datasets in collaboration with Reveal at the Center for Investigative Reporting, where Sinduja worked before joining Mother Jones, shines a crucial light on challenges for H-1B visa holders. The Trump administration tightened restrictions, creating obstacles for highly skilled immigrants, largely from India and China, who often use the coveted visas as a path to residency in the United States.
Sinduja assembled a first-of-its-kind database of H-1B lawsuits against the administration, showing a substantial uptick in applications being rejected for reasons that appear deliberately arbitrary and misapplied federal law. It was Sinduja’s first big series for Mother Jones, the culmination of a long look into the Trump era’s stealth strategy of cracking down on the visa program stemming from complaints aired by Stephen Miller and Jeff Sessions in contradiction to Trump’s own claim that he wanted to help “totally brilliant people” work in the country.
Trump himself is totally brilliant people, so I should trust 45, but, you know, I just don’t. Melania herself is here on a special-case “genius” visa, as it happens. Rather trust solid datasets from reporters who show their methodology transparently. Sinduja has built a living archive for the public to expand on. She shares the award with Mother Jones deputy editor Dave Gilson and producer James West, along with Reveal’s Teresa Cotsirilos, Brett Myers, Al Letson, Jim Briggs, Fernando Arruda, and Amy Mostafa.