SAALT Applauds Two Orders by Federal Courts Blocking Muslim Ban 3.0

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

In response to orders by Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii and Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland temporarily blocking implementation of the Trump administration’s third attempt at a Muslim Ban, Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), released the following statement:

“SAALT applauds the decisions by Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii and Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland to block this administration’s latest attempt at a Muslim Ban. The highest ideals of our country are rooted in the freedom to exist without fear of government persecution. Between the two orders, the courts have proclaimed that the administration overstepped its authority in issuing a ban that ‘plainly discriminates based on nationality’ contrary to the ‘founding principles of this Nation’ and that the President’s own words on the campaign trail and on social media demonstrate this ban was explicitly intended to target Muslims.

The administration has labored throughout the last 9 months to implement a ban that could withstand judicial scrutiny, but the courts have not been convinced, stating vigorously that this latest ban reflects the same discriminatory intent as the two previous bans. These bans codify bigotry and xenophobia and are out of sync with our Constitution and our nation’s values.

Hate violence has skyrocketed during the President’s tenure in the White House, with white supremacist hate groups emboldened and encouraged by policies that demonize and paint our communities with suspicion. SAALT has documented over 184 incidents of hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans since the presidential elections, figures rivaling the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

As this administration continues to pursue its discriminatory policies, we’ve seen that our communities cannot rely solely on the courts to deliver justice. We are stronger when we stand together. Today SAALT and our national partners have taken to the streets nationwide in support of the #NoMuslimBanEver campaign to demand dignity and full inclusion for our communities and all Americans. SAALT, alongside our partners, allies, and communities will continue to hold the line until justice is served for all.”

***
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi
vivek@saalt.org

Civil Rights Coalition Delivers 110,000 Petitions Urging Congress to Rescind Muslim Ban Immediately

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Washington – This morning, a coalition of 15 organizations delivered a joint petition with over 110,000 signatures to members of Congress calling for legislation to rescind the newest version of the Muslim Ban immediately.

“We call on Congress today to rise to the challenge of putting country before politics and to protect the rights of all people living in the United States by defending the Constitution,” the joint letter read, “and by rejecting the ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’ from forever being enshrined in history books as the official policy of the United States.”

The coalition of organizations includes: ACCESS, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Amnesty International USA,
Arab American Institute (AAI), Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Iranian American Bar Association (IABA), Muslim Advocates, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), National Immigration Law Center (NILC), NIAC Action, National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT).

The petition was delivered to the offices of Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). Today also marks the day that the September 24 presidential Proclamation, commonly known as Muslim Ban 3.0, was set to go into effect.

To avoid a repetitive cycle of new versions of the Muslim Ban, the 15 organizations are calling on Congress to “fulfill their duties and immediately pass legislation to rescind the unconstitutional Muslim Ban and make absolutely clear that such attempts to target Muslims, or anyone on the basis of national origin, are unlawful.

***
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

Contact:  Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

SAALT Slams White House’s Immigration ‘Priorities’ List as Unacceptable; Calls on Leaders to Pass Clean DREAM Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

In response to the White House’s release of a series of hard-line measures required in exchange for allowing DREAMers to remain in the United States through the proposed DREAM Act, Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT, released the following statement:

“SAALT has vocally supported the passage of a clean DREAM Act since the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on September 5, 2017. In demanding a clean DREAM Act, we are stating unequivocally that any legislation must not include measures to increase border or interior enforcement, no cuts to family immigration, and no threats to legal immigration. All of these unacceptable provisions were included in the Administration’s priorities list issued this weekend.

Specifically, these ‘priorities’ include ramping up border and interior enforcement, including the construction of a wall along the Mexico border, a further crackdown on sanctuary cities, an extreme cap on refugees and asylum seekers, and a deep slash to family and legal immigration numbers.

It is a patently false construct to assume that ramping up enforcement and cutting immigration from every angle is a necessary step to ensure a legislative solution, one that is desperately needed after the inhumane rescission of the DACA program by this administration.

Over 27,000 Asian Americans, including 5,500 Indians and Pakistanis, have already received DACA. An additional estimated 17,000 individuals from India and 6,000 from Pakistan are eligible for DACA, placing India in the top ten countries for DACA eligibility. These individuals and families must be protected through legislation without a barrage of unconscionable measures attached therein.

Immigrants are not a threat to our national security. Instead, as numerous studies have shown, they enhance our nation and give us the opportunity to live up to our ideals as a country. Moreover, two-thirds of Americans support the DREAM Act as well as over 50% of elected officials across party lines.

With this public mandate behind them, our leaders must stay strong and ensure that this administration’s ‘priorities’ do not serve as a starting point for any bargaining at the expense of immigrant communities. What we deserve is a clean DREAM Act rooted in dignity and inclusion for all immigrant communities. We will not settle for anything less.”

***

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

Contact: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

This Week In Hate – October 11: The Spatial Spread of Hate Violence Pre and Post Election

Prepared by Radha Modi

At the 11 month mark since the election of Donald Trump, there have been 184 documented incidents of hate violence against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern compared to the total of 130 from the year before the election. The rise in hate violence this year is a 42% increase from the pre-election year. Further, SAALT finds that new incidents occur at the rate of four to five a week. For example, since the last SAALT hate violence report on October 3, 2017, there have been five new reported hate incidents.

Figure 2 organizes incidents of hate violence into descriptive categories and compares totals pre and post-election. The three categories of hate violence are incidents of physical violence, incidents of verbal/written threats, and incidents of property damage. Verbal and written threats and hateful rhetoric are the most common type of violence against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern. Since November 8, 2016, there have been 73 documented verbal and written hate incidents. While there has been a dramatic increase in hate rhetoric over the past 11 months compared to the prior year, many verbal and written incidents go unreported. Actual physical attack due to hate and bias is the second most common type of hate violence against communities represented by SAALT. There have been 63 physical assaults in the last 11 months. This total is on par with the total from the pre-election year. Finally, property damage often consisting of vandalism comprises the third category of hate incidents with 48 unique incidents occurring since November 8, 2016.

The five most recent incidents of violence occurring over the past week have targeted Muslim families, businesses, and places of worship. On October 5, Islamophobic flyers were found on the Western Washington University Campus. This is the third time in the last year that WWU has had flyers on the campus targeting communities of color. On the same day, stickers threatening Muslims were found in a government building bathroom in Portland, Oregon. A day later, on October 6, a Muslim owned store in Albuquerque, New Mexico was vandalized with the phrase “Kill em all.” Further, on October 7, a billboard for a local city council candidate in Raleigh, North Carolina,, Zainab Baloch, was vandalized with black graffiti stating “Sand N******” and “Trump.” Then two days later, on October 9, a mosque located in Farmville, Virginia had the words “F**K God & Allah” scrawled on its walls. These incidents of hate rhetoric and property damage demonstrate the spread of hate violence across the U.S. from the Southeast to the Northwest. The map below illustrates the spread of hate violence across the U.S. over the last two years using differentiating pins between incidents that occurred pre-election (orange pins) and post-election (purple pins).

Civil Rights Groups, North Carolina State and Local Officials Call For An End to Hate Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), issued the following statement subsequent to SAALT’s October 7 town hall on hate violence in Cary, North Carolina in collaboration with state and local officials, law enforcement, and community based organizations:

“America’s highest ideals are rooted in the fact that we are all created equal and have the right to pray, love, live with freedom. Nevertheless, our communities continue to be attacked and targeted via legislation based upon our real and perceived religion. This has to end.”

“From three Muslim Bans to contemptible support of white supremacy, this administration has encouraged and emboldened hate violence against our communities.  Since the election of President Trump, SAALT has tracked over 179 incidents of hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern American, already surpassing totals from the year leading up to the 2016 election.”

“In February 2015 three young Muslim Chapel Hill students and activists were murdered in their home by their neighbor.  In June 2016 Army Reserve officer Russel Thomas Langford left bacon outside of a mosque, harassed congregants in the parking lot, and then made death threats, which according to Capt. John Kivett of the Sheriff’s Office, included telling “people at the mosque that he would kill them and bury them behind the mosque.”  In May 2017, vulgar Islamophobic cartoons depicting a pig performing a sexual act on top of a Muslim man were posted across the residential halls at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.”

“These incidents reflect increasing bigotry and division targeting our communities across the country. This administration has done nothing to prevent or condemn vigilante violence or to denounce the views of die-hard racists, and has rather used the full power of the federal government to refill our nation’s reservoir of hate with every anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant policy and tweet it hurls.”

“In response to the uptick in hate violence targeting South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern communities around the country, SAALT is hosting regional town halls this year on key issues for our communities. SAALT thanks Attorney General Josh Stein, Senator Angela Bryant, Senator Jay Chaudhuri, Former Representative Rick Glazier, Farris Barakat, Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue, the North Carolina members of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO), and our allies and sponsors for collaborating on this urgent town hall.

In this time of political and social divisiveness, an answer to hate violence seems impossible, yet the solution remains clear: we must remain united for action and stand with each other to demand that all Americans are afforded full inclusion and justice in our country.  We must refuse to allow prejudice to go unchecked as we work to form a more perfect union together.”

*** 

Quotes:

Attorney General Josh Stein:

“Criminals who target people with violence because of who they are, where they are from, or how they pray must be condemned. Hate crimes go against everything this country stands for. I am committed to strengthening North Carolina’s response to hate crimes and working collaboratively to prevent these crimes that incite fear and vulnerability among our neighbors.”

State Senator Jay Chaudhuri:

“America was founded on the ideal that all of us are created equal. Hate violence that targets our communities targets our country’s founding values. America has no room for violence based on someone’s race, religion, identity, and nation of origin, and we must denounce these acts in the strongest possible terms. I am committed to working with state and local authorities, and community leaders, to make sure North Carolina stands up to hate and not on the sidelines.”

Rick Glazier – Executive Director, North Carolina Justice Center

“A trust is placed in each of us-by future generations not yet born-to fulfill our maintenance obligation to fight poverty and disease, ignorance and bigotry, and apathy and distrust.”

Chavi Koneru – Executive Director, North Carolina Asian Americans Together:

“As an organization bringing to light the issues facing the Asian American community in North Carolina, we are greatly concerned about the rise in hate violence towards members of our community who are Muslim or perceived to be Muslim. This town hall is beginning a discussion we need to have in this state about collectively addressing the issue of hate violence and supporting policy changes that can bring it to an end.”

Ritu Kaur – Kiran Inc.

“Do you realize hate crimes and domestic violence have similar traumatic effect on the victims and on the community? Let us speak out.”

Farris Barakat – The Lighthouse Projects

“As prejudice and discrimination threaten more people and is normalized in offices as high up as the presidency, an active and grassroots effort to counter this darkness is a civic duty on the people of consciousness.”

Kulpreet Singh – Sikh Gurdwara

“Each of us is a tremendous resource, and the world is a better place when we communicate and work together because of, not despite, our differences.”

Chris Blue – Town of Chapel Hill, Chief of Police and Executive Director for Community Safety

“I am honored to have been among the impressive panelists who spoke so passionately today about the nature of hate in our society and the determination and compassion that will be required of all of us to overcome it.  I am also heartened by the good work going on in North Carolina toward making this a place of inclusivity for everyone.”

***

Contact: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

This Week In Hate: October 5 – Hate Crimes, Racial Profiling, and the Link to Systemic Discrimination

Prepared by Radha Modi

Between November 8, 2016 and October 3, 2017, there have been 179 documented hate incidents against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern compared to the total of 130 from the year prior to the election of Donald Trump. The increase in hate violence during the last eleven months is symptomatic of the normalization and sanctioning of hate rhetoric by those in positions of power and influence. Concurrent with the rise in hate incidents and normalization of hate rhetoric, there is also further deepening of institutionalized violence such as racial profiling and discrimination against multiple marginalized communities.

Hate incidents fall under three broad categories of: 1) property damage due to vandalism, robbery, arson, or other forms of destruction, 2) physical assaults such as pulling of attire, shoving, or punching, and 3) verbal and written assaults either in person or through email or flyers. Of the 179 hate incidents against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern, 63 are incidents of physical assaults, 71 are incidents of verbal/written assaults, and 45 are incidents of property damage. The most notable instance of physical assault occurred in Houston, TX, on September 21, 2017. A Lyft driver assumed to be Pakistani and Muslim was verbally and physically assaulted by the passenger, Matthew Dunn.” The assault left the driver traumatized and fearful of his life. The anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment is characteristic of most hate incidents captured in SAALT’s database. While verbal or written assaults are absent of physical violence, they are equally traumatic for victims. On September 15, 2017, a white supremacist wearing a “F**k ISIS” t-shirt threatened to kill the patrons of a hookah lounge in Lake Forest, California. Then three days later on the 18th, vandals spray-painted multiple hate messages on a store owned by an Indian family. One alarming message stated: “Kill All Hindus.”

Concurrently, the violence that is happening on the streets is also institutionalized through racial profiling and discrimination of those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern. Racial profiling is a common institutionalized tactic used by law enforcement that unjustly targets and terrorizes communities of color. The ACLU reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized and searched the phones of the Alasaad family, who are Muslim and have American Citizenship, without a warrant and held the family for hours at the U.S.-Canadian border. More recently, a Muslim man was arrested, and his family was detained for three hours when he tried to deposit a check at his local bank in Wichita, Kansas. The family feels traumatized by the encounter and worries about their safety in Kansas.

As hate violence on the streets and the targeting of Muslims by law enforcement are routinized, the systemic discrimination of those who identify or are perceived as Muslim also deepens in major institutions such as education, labor, or housing. A Facebook page selling and renting homes in LaSalle, Illinois, up until recently asked members interested in joining the Facebook group: “Are you Muslim or terrorist?” A private company, Verly Pro Moving Labor, set up the Facebook page and after complaints took down the question. Also, a university professor, forced to resign, is suing his former employer, University of Central Florida, on grounds that he suffered discrimination as a Black and Muslim faculty member. These are just some of the examples that demonstrate how targeting of marginalized communities is criminalized and institutionalized.

Last Chance! Call your Representatives TODAY to demand a Clean DREAM Act


Dear Friend,

Last month you heard about our efforts to speak truth to power. South Asian DREAMer, leader, and SAALT ally Chirayu Patel told elected officials at a press conference on Capitol Hill, “We will not be used as bargaining chips in political gamesmanship between the parties. It is time for Congress to make a decision on whether they’re going to support us or whether they’re going to stand in the way of progress.” You heard SAALT’s Executive Director, Suman Raghunathan, demand a clean DREAM Act, without any compromises on increased border enforcement that will negatively impact immigrant families.

The Dream Act of 2017 is a bipartisan bill that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came here as children, and who graduate from U.S. high schools and attend college, enter the workforce, or enlist in a military program.

Last week, House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, signed a “discharge petition” to bring the DREAM Act to an immediate vote in the House of Representatives. This rare Congressional motion allows a bill to be “discharged” from committee and brought to a floor vote provided that it receives 218 signatures from Members. Currently, only 23 additional signatures are needed!

IT’S TIME TO TAKE ACTION

Here are two things you can do now to force Congress to vote on and pass a clean DREAM Act:

Call your elected officials TODAY and tell them why the DREAM Act matters to you. We urge you to target these Members of Congress and ask them to sign the discharge petition to bring the DREAM Act to a vote. Please also ask them to extend tomorrow’s October 5thDACA renewal deadline that is fast approaching. You can also call your representatives and thank them for their efforts if they are already co-sponsors of the DREAM Act and ask them to sign the discharge petition and extend the DACA renewal deadline.

Participate in the National Day of Action TOMORROWOctober 5th in Washington, D.C. led by our allies at United We Dream. It will begin with a press event with Members of Congress at 10 am on the South Senate lawn on the Capitol grounds, followed by visits to Member offices to demand a clean DREAM Act. Can’t join in person? Follow along and support the National Day of Action online using this digital toolkit.

Here’s a sample script you can use when making your calls:

“I am calling today to urge you to sign the discharge petition on the bi-partisan DREAM Act of 2017, HR 3440. As a South Asian American constituent and an American deeply invested in immigration reform, I am urging you to sign the discharge petition to bring the DREAM Act to the House floor immediately for a vote. Our DREAMers only have until tomorrow October 5thto renew their DACA status and we are asking that you extend that deadline.

This legislation would allow our DREAMers who are as American as you or me to remain in the only country they have ever known or called home. You may be surprised to know that there are at least 450,000 undocumented Indians alone in the U.S., and there are at least 23,000 Indians and Pakistanis who are eligible to remain in the country, be shielded from deportation, and legally work through the DREAM Act.

As you may know the President recently decided to end DACA, a program which enjoys overwhelming bi-partisan support among elected officials and American voters (76%), with the stroke of his pen, putting 800,000 DREAMers’ lives in limbo. Passing the DREAM Act will allow these DREAMers to remain in the U.S. and continue their lives without fear as they continue to be part of the fabric of our nation.

I’m asking you today to exercise courage and leadership on behalf of our families and our communities so we can all thrive. I urge you to sign the discharge petition for a clean DREAM Act with no border enforcement. I am happy to share more information if useful or connect you with South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national organization representing our communities in Washington, D.C. Thank you for taking my call today.”

The time is now to step up and demand all elected and appointed officials defend and protect DREAMers, immigrants, and all Americans.

****

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that fights for racial justice and advocates for the civil rights of all South Asians in the United States. Our ultimate vision is dignity and full inclusion for all.

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org