Nikki Haley, Ajit Pai, Seema Verma, three Indian Americans in Trump Administration
Nikki Haley, Ajit Pai, Seema Verma(Left to Right) , three Indian Americans in Trump Administration

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Indian-Americans have emerged as the most prominent ethnic minority in President Donald Trump’s mostly white and male administration.

Nikki Haley is serving as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Ajit Pai currently serves as the chair of the Federal Communications Commission and Seema Verma was just confirmed Monday to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. All of this rings one central theme — Indian-Americans have been positioned with key roles in shaping the Trump administration’s policy, from international relations to healthcare.

Another Indian-American, San Francisco-based attorney Harmeet Dhillon, who is also a member of the Republican National Committee, is currently a top candidate to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

Trump’s appointments coincide with a surge in the election of Indian-Americans to Congress, however, they are all Democrats. Washington state’s Pramila Jayapal last year became the first Indian-American woman elected to the House of Representatives, and California Sen. Kamala Harris became the first woman of Indian descent elected to the Senate.

California voters decided to send Rep. Ami Bera back for a third term, while Silicon Valley replaced Rep. Mike Honda with Ro Khanna. Raja Krishnamoorthi was also elected to represent Chicago’s western suburbs.

Indian-Americans voted 87 percent for Clinton and 9 percent for Trump, with the remaining voters choosing other candidates. In 2012, the first year Asian-American Decisions polled Indian-Americans, 83 percent voted for President Barack Obama, while 10 percent voted for Republican Mitt Romney.

Recent racially-motivated attacks, including the shooting death of Garmin employee Srinivas Kuchibhotla at a Kansas bar, may leave Indian-Americans wondering what Trump will do to protect minority communities from violence.

At least so far, though, Indian-Americans are the diversity of Trump’s administration. Haley, Verma and Pai have shared parts of their personal and family stories as the children of Indian immigrants.

Framed by a tapestry reproduction of Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” and member state flags, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks to reporters after a Security Council meeting on the Middle East, Feb. 16, 2017, at U.N. headquarters.

During her January confirmation hearing before the Senate, Haley called her upbringing “an American story.”“Growing up in a small rural community in the South, our family was different,” she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “We were not white enough to be white. We were not black enough to be black. My father wore a turban. My mother wore a sari. Our new neighbors didn’t quite know what to make of us, so we did face challenges, but those challenges paled next to the abundance of opportunities in front of us.” The Senate confirmed her with a vote of 96-4.

Pai, who grew up in Parsons, Kansas, was elevated to chairman of the FCC by Trump in January. He’ll need to be reconfirmed by the Senate later this year.

Upon his promotion to chairman, Pai paid tribute to his parents, who came to the U.S. from India 45 years ago, “with literally no assets other than $10, a transistor radio and a desire to achieve the American dream.”

“I hope my tenure as chairman will show me to be worthy of the sacrifices they’ve made for me and the lessons they’ve taught me,” Pai said. “And I’m ever grateful that this wonderful country has given me and my family the opportunity to dream big.”