Two-Day Mobilization Demanding Passage of a Clean DREAM Act Brings Hundreds of Our Communities to Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Washington, D.C. — Over the next two days, more than 120 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) immigrant youth and allies from over 15 states will convene at the U.S. Capitol to demand the passage of a clean DREAM Act by December 8. After the termination of DACA on September 5, eighteen AAPI organizations came together to form the AAPI immigrant rights organizing table to organize and advocate for a clean DREAM Act.

The convening will open on November 15 with a press conference and a rally followed by over 30 meetings with legislators on both sides of the aisle, urging them to support a clean DREAM Act that creates a pathway to citizenship for immigrant youth without harming other members of the immigrant community.

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) has the privilege of facilitating the presence of two South Asian DREAMers, Chirayu Patel and Ruchir, at the mobilizations to drive home the message that our communities have a strong stake in the passage of a clean DREAM Act.

Chirayu Patel arrived in the U.S. on a visa at the age of 11 and has tried to resolve his status since 1994. He has paid his taxes, graduated from college, and received DACA status in 2012. He is an outspoken activists and has continually asked policymakers to exercise their power and influence to pass a clean DREAM Act as soon as possible.

Ruchir has been working in Silicon Valley for over 13 years, at companies large and small, supporting their I.T. infrastructure in various capacities and contributing to America’s economy. With the protection of DACA, he was able to get a bachelors degree that allowed him to provide for his family.

When the first DREAM Act was introduced 16 years ago, it was inspired by an Asian American student barred from attending a prestigious music college due to her immigration status. Today almost 17,000 AAPIs have benefitted from the DACA program with South Korea, China, India and the Philippines among the top countries of origin of AAPI DACA-eligible populations.

It is the moral responsibility of Congress and the demands of a majority of Americans to ensure that a clean DREAM Act is passed before the end of the year and is attached to the spending bill to be voted on December 8. Every day we wait, more and more immigrant youth fall out of status, losing their ability to work, attain a higher education, and protection from deportation.

Mobilization led by the undocumented community is what won DACA in the first place. Together, we will not stop until a clean DREAM Act is passed and until all 11 million undocumented immigrants have a pathway to citizenship.

For more information, go to aapidream.org.

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Participating groups include: 18MillionRising • Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) • Asian Americans Advancing Justice • Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) • Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO • ASPIRE • HANA Center • Korean Resource Center • NAKASEC • National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) • National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) • National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) • OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates • OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates Greater Seattle • RAISE (Revolutionizing Asian American Immigrant Stories on the East Coast) • South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) • Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) • The Office of Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym • UPLIFT

Contact: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

Hate remains on the rise, according to the FBI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Hate remains on the rise, according to the FBI’s 2016 hate crimes statistics released this week. Since 2015, anti-Muslim hate crimes increased by 19%, anti-Hindu hate crimes increased by 100%, and anti-Sikh hate crimes increased by 17%. These surges are on top of the historic spike in hate crimes reported in the FBI’s 2015 data, now marking the highest levels of violence aimed at our communities since the year after 9/11. Tragically, hate has become the new normal for our communities.

In response to the rising tide of violence, Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), released the following statement:

“The FBI’s hate crimes statistics underline that violence has become a fact of life for our communities. These incidents are just a fraction of the violence our communities experience on a daily basis. According to FBI’s own estimates, for every one hate crime reported, five hate crimes go unreported. Enough is enough – the violence must stop.

Trump, as a candidate and now as President, has encouraged and emboldened hate violence against our communities through his administration’s anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. Since the election, SAALT has documented over 205 incidents of hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans, a 58% increase from the year prior. From Muslim Bans to terminating DACA to support of white supremacy, this administration’s rhetoric and divisive policies are dragging our country backwards.

Our nation was founded on the principle that all people should enjoy the freedom of religion. Yet our communities continue to live in fear based on the color of our skin, our nation of origin, the ways we pray and the languages we speak. Increasing levels of hate violence don’t make America great, they make Americans afraid, and SAALT calls on all elected and appointed officials, as well as law enforcement, to defend our country’s highest values of dignity and full inclusion for all. We are stronger when we stand united and weaker when we are divided.”

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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: November 8- Hate Violence and Hate Rhetoric

Prepared by Radha Modi

Over the past week, six new incidents of hate violence occurred against South Asian, Muslim, and Middle Eastern communities marking the end of the first year of the Trump administration. The latest numbers in hate show over the past 12 months, there have been a total of 205 unique incidents of hate; a 58% increase from the previous year.   

There is a persistent increase in all categories of hate violence as shown in Figure 2. Verbal and written threats are by far the most common category of hate incidents with 83 occurring over the past year. Five of the six recent hate incidents involved written hate rhetoric or threats against mosques and local politicians.

For example, over the past week, numerous threats have been directed towards a mosque in Patterson, NJ and a mosque in Passaic, NJ. Further, hate-filled fliers were found in Hoboken, NJ with a picture of Ravi Bhalla, a local Sikh mayoral candidate, stating Don’t let TERRORISM take over our town! A day prior, unknown perpetrators sent mailers to Edison, NJ residents attacking local school board candidates.

 

The increase in verbal and written assaults points to a growing trend of sanctioned and normalized hate rhetoric that is xenophobic and Islamophobic by elected officials including Donald Trump. The rise in state-sponsored implicit or explicit hate rhetoric is encouraging the targeting of those perceived to be foreign and Muslim as well as other marginalized communities. For instance, after the truck attack of bikers by Sayfullo Saipov, President Trump tweeted out alarmist messages that supported his targeting of Muslim immigrants: “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!”, “I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!, andCHAIN MIGRATION must end now! Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!”. In comparison, Trump has yet to call out the extremism of white shooters in Las Vegas, NV and Sutherland Springs, TX. These tweets, undoubtedly, are meant to encourage anti-immigrant sentiments and nativist fears in the U.S.

 

THIS WEEK IN HATE: November 1- Continued Increase in Hate Violence

Prepared by Radha Modi

As of November 1, 2017, there have been 199 documented incidents of hate violence against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern. Most notably, hate violence this year has increased by 53% compared to the previous year.

The three categories of hate violence, physical violence, verbal/written threats, and property damage, have all surpassed the totals from the year before the election as well. Verbal and written threats and hateful rhetoric are the most common type of violence with 78 documented incidents occurring since November 8, 2016. A recent incident of verbal assault occurred against a Muslim student, Fay Alwattari, at the University of Cincinnati by his music professor. The professor responded to Alwattari’s assignment with a barrage of incendiary comments such as: “The U.S. President’s first sworn duty is to protect America from enemies, and the greatest threat to our freedom is not the President, it is radical Islam. Review this list of Islamic terrorist attacks and then tell me about your hurt feelings.” University of Cincinnati is investigating the professor’s problematic behavior. In addition to verbal assaults, incidents of physical violence also continue to rise with three new incidents occurring in the past week including an attack on a Hindu Temple by an unknown suspect in Lexington, KY. Currently, the total number of physical assaults for this year are 68 incidents. Finally, property damage often consisting of vandalism comprises the third category of hate incidents with 53 unique incidents occurring since November 8, 2016.

Just this past weekend, a four foot cross wrapped in bacon was left at a mosque in Twin Falls, Idaho. Local law enforcement are investigating this incident as a hate crime.

Consistent with the numbers from last week, women who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Arab, or Middle Eastern continue to be the most common target of hate making up 29% of hate violence in the SAALT database. Hate incidents against men, youth, and Muslim places of worship come in second with comparable percentages. Nineteen percent of hate violence is against youth, a slight increase from the previous week. On October 25th, Christopher Beckham harassed two Muslim girls wearing hijabs coming off of a school bus and threatened their father with a knife. He told them to “go back to their country” and that he would kill them when he got out of prison.