SOPHIA QURESHI, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

In her 15 year career, Sophia Qureshi has focused on expanding the potential for journalism and storytelling by building bridges between different worlds – journalism, nonprofits, think tanks, grassroots groups, and artistic venues.

Sophia has held positions at the United Nations, CNN, Al Jazeera, and as Director of Communications for The Center for Public Integrity (CPI), establishing journalism partnerships between commercial and non-profit worlds. She joins SAALT off a year of academic study – she completed a communications fellowship at Harvard University where she took courses in public speaking, narrative nonfiction and fiction writing, and diaspora histories.

She is a founder of Subcontinental Drift – a nationwide South Asian American coalition that fosters and provides a supportive and collaborative community for creative expression, engagement, and positive social change.

She is a political science graduate of the University of Georgia, and has a master’s degree from Georgetown University in international development and communications.

SAALT Opposes Administration’s “Public Charge” Rule Published in Federal Register Today, Encourages Community Members to Submit Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Department of Homeland Security published a new proposed “public charge” ruletoday that would deny permanent resident status (“green cards”) to lower income immigrants who use government services such as nutrition programs and housing assistance. The proposed rule was officially published in the Federal Register, triggering a 60-day period for the public to comment before the Department of Homeland Security proceeds with final rulemaking.
This rule punishes people for using the public benefits they are entitled to and is set up to prevent as many immigrants as possible from becoming legal permanent residents. It’s the latest in a series of attacks on all immigrant communities and their children. The rule directly impacts immigrants who are applying to become Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR’s or green card holders) or looking to extend or change the category of a nonimmigrant visa. If finalized, the Bangladeshi community would be the hardest hit among South Asian Americans. Nearly 61% of non-citizen Bangladeshi American families receive public benefits for at least one of the four federal programs including TANF, SSI, SNAP, and Medicaid/CHIP, according to a 2018 Migration Policy Institute Report. The same report showed that 48% of non-citizen Pakistani families and 11% of non-citizen Indian families also receive public benefits. Additionally, the proposed rule would flag all immigrant households of four earning less than $63,000 under negative scrutiny for the “public charge” test.
The impact of the rule would be felt across the South Asian American community, as over 10% of green card recipients in FY 2016 were from South Asian countries. Nearly 472,000 or 10% of the approximately five million South Asians in the United States live in poverty, according to a recent Pew Research Center study. In 2015, eight of nineteen Asian American groups had poverty rates higher than the U.S. average. Among those, Pakistani (15.8%), Nepali (23.9%), Bangladeshi (24.2%), and Bhutanese (33.3%) Americans had the highest poverty rates among South Asian American groups. The same study showed that Bangladeshi and Nepali communities had the lowest median household incomes out of all Asian American groups, which fell far below the $63,000 threshold. We encourage South Asian Americans to visit SAALT’s campaign page and easily submit a comment opposing the discriminatory “public charge” rule before December 10.
CONTACT: Sophia Qureshi, sophia@saalt.org

SAALT 2018 Midterm Election Voter Guide

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is excited to share our 2018 Midterm Election voter guide. In this critical election year, South Asian Americans have a stake in key policy questions that affect our communities. An important first step is understanding candidate stances on the issues that affect our community so we can hold them accountable for their policy positions and values—regardless of their party affiliation.

SAALT’s voter guide presents policy positions and values of candidates in the twenty Congressional districts with the highest number of South Asian Americans in the country. This guide also includes two additional races that feature a South Asian American candidate and a Congressional district whose Member holds a leadership position in the House of Representatives.

Each race shows the Democratic and Republican candidate positions on the issues of Immigration, Civil Rights, Hate Crimes, and the 2020 Census based on a series of questions. If your Congressional district is not featured in this guide, we encourage you to use the questions below to evaluate the candidates in your district. Scroll down, click through, read up, and even reach out to candidates yourself before you go to the polls on November 6th!

Are you mobilizing South Asian American voters for the 2018 Midterm Elections? Print and share this flyer to easily access SAALT’s non-partisan Voter Guide.

SAALT Releases Groundbreaking Voter Guide to Educate, Mobilize South Asian American Community in Preparation for 2018 Midterm Elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C., Today South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) released its 2018 Midterm Election Voter Guide, the only resource designed to engage, educate, and mobilize the growing South Asian American electorate in Congressional districts nationwide.
At over 5 million strong, South Asian Americans are the second-most rapidly growing demographic group nationwide, across longstanding community strongholds and newer regions in the South. As a result, South Asian Americans occupy an increasingly significant position in the American electorate. In this critical election year, South Asian Americans have a stake in key policy questions that affect our communities, and are deeply impacted by issues spanning immigration, civil rights, hate crimes, and the 2020 Census.
The Guide is a voter education tool that equips South Asian Americans and all voters with the crucial information they need to cast informed votes this November. SAALT’s non-partisan 2018 Midterm Election Voter Guide does not endorse any candidate—rather; it analyzes House of Representatives candidates’ positions on four critical issues for South Asian Americans in twenty Congressional Districts with the highest South Asian American populations. The Guide also includes analysis on two additional races that feature a South Asian American candidate and a Congressional district whose Member currently holds a leadership position in the House of Representatives.
Each race shows the Democratic and Republican candidate positions on the issues of immigration, civil rights, hate crimes, and the 2020 Census based upon their responses to a series of questions. SAALT reached out to all candidates with a questionnaire and analyzed publicly available information on their voting records on federal legislation, public statements, and policy platforms to develop our analysis. For all incumbent candidates, SAALT analyzed only their voting record on key legislation to determine their policy positions. All questions are included in the Guide to allow voters to assess a candidate’s positions themselves even if a particular Congressional district is not featured.
SAALT will be distributing its 2018 Midterm Election Voter Guide far and wide in partnership with its 62 community partners in the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO), national allies, as well as over social and traditional media. The Voter Guide will be unveiled in-person at this weekend’s The Future of South Asians in the U.S. regional town hall in Niles, Illinois in partnership with Chicagoland NCSO organizations. On Saturday, October 6th from 1-4 pm, this powerful and topical forum will address the impact of U.S. immigration policy on the South Asian American community. The Voter Guide will continue to serve as a critical community education tool that keeps the focus on the important issues impacting our nation on the road to the November 2018 elections and beyond.
CONTACT: Sophia Qureshi, sophia@saalt.org