On this day exactly seven years ago, a known white supremacist opened fire with a 9 millimeter semiautomatic handgun in the Oak Creek, WI gurdwara, and killed six people. We are still mourning the devastating impact of this violence today. Just this weekend, white male shooters claimed 31 lives in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH. The El Paso shooter published an online manifesto inspired by the mass murder of Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand and echoing the Trump Administration’s daily onslaught of racist rhetoric and policy.
There were 2,009 hate crimes in 30 of the country’s largest cities in 2018 – the highest number in the past decade. Last year marked the 5th consecutive increase in hate crimes, the steepest rise since 2015, according to police data analyzed by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
Statements and repeated condemnations are not enough. White supremacist violence is killing people of color and immigrants. Any elected official refusing to acknowledge this problem and consider legislation that confronts this violence is complicit. We demand our elected officials and law enforcement agencies track the threat of organized white supremacy as a systemic issue and that they address the root causes of hate violence. We refuse to view these as isolated incidents and will continue working to dismantle all systems that perpetuate this violence, fueled by the illegitimate white supremacist claim to our nation’s stolen land.
We send love to our Sikh family and all survivors of hate on this extremely difficult day and fortify our commitment to “Chardi Kala” as we fight for justice.
Here’s what you can do today to support survivors of hate:
*Donate to help survivors and families of victims. The El Paso Community Foundation is accepting donations here.
*Offer support locally in El Paso here.
*Connect with organizations like Hope Border Institute (@HopeBorder) and NM Comunidades en Acción y de Fé (@OrganizeNM) who are offering resources and organizing vigils for survivors who cannot seek medical treatment due to fear of being targeted by immigration authorities.
* Write a letter to the editor or essay in your local newspaper about ongoing hate violence and how it affects us all
* Send a message of support to the Oak Creek Gurdwara
* Contact your public official and ask them to support the Khalid Jabara & Heather Heyer NO HATE ACT
For Immediate Release
Friday, June 21, 2019
Following the Trump administration’s announcement this week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids are expected to impact families across the U.S. beginning this Sunday, June 23rd in the pre-dawn hours. Cities expected to have the highest level of impact include: Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, Miami, New Orleans, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Newark, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Around 2,000 families are being targeted, primarily those with final orders for deportation or those who missed a hearing, with “collateral arrests” of others who might be in the vicinity.
Targeting children, youth and families in an effort to further criminalize immigrant communities is misguided and immoral. This is a blatant assault on families that will destabilize communities and harm children. Research by the Center for Law and Social Policy found evidence of behavioral changes in children who had been separated from a parent or had come in contact with immigration agents. It showed that children who have been separated from their parents frequently exhibit signs of trauma, including anxiety, depression, frequent crying, disrupted eating and sleeping, and difficulties in school.
The ICE raids announcement comes on the heels of new reports of deaths and overcrowding in detention facilities, denial of beds and sanitation for detained children, and continued unwillingness by ICE to reunify families.
Lakshmi Sridaran, Interim Co-Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) said, “The announcement of these raids further underscores the need for sanctuary policies across all cities to protect our communities. SAALT is working with our partners to quickly disseminate know your rights materials in multiple South Asian languages to prepare communities if ICE comes to their door. We are also encouraging members of the South Asian legal community to offer their expertise and aid for individuals impacted by these raids and for those currently detained.”
It is increasingly clear that Congress must cut funding from both Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and ICE, and immediately redirect funding to reunifying families and closing detention facilities across the U.S.
After years of immigrant justice organizing by a broad coalition of community members, allies and partners, elected officials have listened.
The House voted last night to pass the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which offers permanent protections and a pathway to citizenship for over two million people. The bill passed the House yesterday with no additional anti-immigrant amendments.
H.R. 6 will have a direct impact on the lives of people who came to the U.S. as children – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. It will make a difference in the lives of people who came to the U.S. because their countries were ravaged by war, disaster, or U.S. intervention – those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
In our communities alone, there are over 15,000 Nepalis with TPS and 4,500 South Asians with DACA status.
H.R. 6 will give them the ability to plan a future for themselves.
The road ahead isn’t easy. We are disturbed that this victory in the House included long debates across both parties on the use of deeply flawed gang databases and unjust criminal convictions to deny protections to some immigrants. Ultimately, the tireless political education of Members on the part of advocates ensured that the bill passed the House with no harmful additions. But, our work ahead will be to stop Congress from funding this administration’s deportation machine.
Before H.R. 6 becomes law, the Senate must vote to pass H.R. 6 and President Trump must sign it into law. We commit to ramping up the pressure on our elected officials.
Lakshmi Sridaran, Interim Co-Executive Director of SAALT said, “ The Dream and Promise Act passed the House without additional anti-immigrant concessions. This is the first step in bringing an end to this administration’s racist and xenophobic policies and laying a foundation for immigrant justice in federal policy. When we refuse to compromise our values, we keep the bar higher and set the standard for change. This must be the new path forward for additional legislation and measures to defund deportation and restore protections for all immigrant and communities of color.”
UPDATE, July 10th
Earlier this week, we put out a call for volunteers to assist with an outreach effort to provide food and restaurant workers from the South Asian community with “know your rights” resources. The alert was prompted by community reports about an immigration enforcement action targeting workers in the restaurant industry over the past week in DC. Out of respect for those directly affected, we are not providing any additional information at this time. We will continue our work to protect and defend our communities, especially at a time when immigrants are being targeted, whether at workplaces and homes or at the border.
July 8, 2019
An Indian restaurant in DC was raided by ICE last week. Several Hindi speaking employees were taken to the Montgomery County jail in Maryland.
Given the prospect of immigration raids in the DC area, we are calling for volunteers to join us for an outreach effort on July 13th and 14th.
SAALT is seeking volunteers to help with outreach, translation, and legal counsel. Click here for immediate steps you can take.
SAALT’s 2018 report documents hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at our communities from Election Day 2016 to Election Day 2017. SAALT documented 302 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities in the United States, of which an astounding 82% were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. The 302 incidents are a more than 45% increase from the year leading up to the 2016 election cycle, levels not seen since the year after September 11.
SAALT and our allies are tracking hate crimes committed against South Asian, Sikh, Muslim and Arab communities.
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