SAALT Demands A Clean DREAM Act Without Compromises

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
In response to reports of a deal on DACA made by Democratic leadership and the President, with rumors of increased border enforcement provisions included in that agreement, Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights and racial justice organization, released the following statement:

“We demand a clean DREAM Act, without any compromises on increased border enforcement that will negatively impact immigrant families. Last week’s cruel termination of DACA by President Trump is just the latest in this administration’s toxic anti-immigrant policies. Over 800,000 lives reduced to bargaining chips for a more militarized border is unconscionable, unacceptable, and un-American. Democratic leadership including Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi must stand up for DREAMers, stand up for our country’s ideals of equality and fairness for all people, and stand against this administration’s anti-immigrant policies.”

“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 respectively are eligible for DACA, placing India in the top ten countries for DACA eligibility. These families are at risk of deportation and must be protected, not with a wall or more armed forces on the border, but with a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring new Americans.”

“This is a category 5 administration, threatening millions of people who find themselves in its path, forced to hide underground and in the shadows for any hope of survival. A climate change of hate is to blame, with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim policies blustering and wreaking havoc across our nation. Reversing this trend, before it’s too late, is the need of the hour, and it must begin with a clean DREAM Act without compromises.”

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

SAALT’s Congressional Briefing on Hate Violence Sounds the Alarm for Justice

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On September 12, 2017, one day after the 16th anniversary of the tragic attacks of September 11, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights and racial justice organization, held a Congressional briefing to address the rising tide of hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans under the current administration. SAALT was joined by five members of Congressional leadership and national partner organizations to denounce this administration’s anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant policies that embolden hate against our communities.

“Post-9/11 has transformed into present-Trump, with hate violence reaching levels that rival the aftermath of the September 11 attacks,” stated Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT. “The White House has a sworn responsibility to condemn and prevent all forms of hate. Today’s briefing with Congressional leaders is an important step in making sure this administration does not renounce its responsibilities to our communities and nation.”

The current administration has been fundamental to the growth and audacity of white supremacist and Islamophobic movements in the United States. The White House has unleashed numerous divisive policies that have awoken and emboldened hate against our communities, including several permutations of the “Muslim Ban,” rescinding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and supporting the RAISE Act, among others.

Since the election, SAALT has documented over 150 incidents of hate violence against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, South Asian, Middle Eastern, or Arab American, already surpassing totals from the year leading up to the 2016 election. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, anti-Muslim hate groups grew by 197% in 2016, and, according to the FBI, anti-Muslim hate crimes increased by 67% in 2015.

“SAALT, along with our national partners, will continue to demand and strive for a just and inclusive society for all Americans,” stated Ms. Raghunathan. “We stand ready to work with Congressional leaders to mount a decisive opposition to bigotry and division of all kinds and to reinforce our communities’ important place in the fabric of our nation.”

——

Co-Chairs, Sponsors, Speakers, Partners, and Quotes:

Honorary Co-Chairs of the briefing include: 
Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT);
Senator Ben Cardin (MD);
Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL)

Member Co-Sponsors of the briefing include: 
Representative Judy Chu (CA-27);
Representative Maxine Waters (CA-43);
Representative Barbara Lee (CA-13);
Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-7);
Representative Ro Khanna (CA-17)

Members of Congress who joined the briefing include:
Representative Judy Chu (CA-27);
Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-7);
Representative Ro Khanna (CA-17)

Partner organizations include:
South Asian Network;
Desis Rising Up and Moving;
Sikh Coalition;
DACA Network

Representative Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus:
“Thank you to South Asian Americans Leading Together for organizing today’s briefing and being such a strong leader in the fight to defeat hate. Since the 2016 Presidential election we have witnessed heightened xenophobic and anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence targeting communities of color across the nation. This hate, rhetoric, and the violence is particularly alarming because it is reminiscent of what we saw in the aftermath of September 11 attacks, when Muslims, South Asians, Sikhs and others became the targets of hate. In 2017 we’ve seen racial tensions come to a head, which has been largely fueled by white supremacists. The Trump administration’s dangerous political rhetoric has explicitly targeted South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Arab, and Middle Eastern communities, such as the President’s ill-conceived and un-American Muslim travel ban. But the xenophobic sentiment is also being driven by xenophobic policies such as President Trump’s decision to terminate the DACA program, and its desire to upend our family based immigration system. Our nation’s values affirm that all people deserve to be welcomed and to feel safe no matter what they look like or who they worship. Hate has no place in America, and we have to continue to remain vigilant in protecting the rights of all Americans against this rising tide of hate violence.”

Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-7):
“The hate violence we are facing in 2017 is not new. But what we are facing, what it feels like, is a sanctioned hate that comes from places like the White House. We ask that the President cease his incendiary rhetoric that helps to fuel many of these hate crimes. It is crystal clear that we still have a tremendous amount of work to do, and that work must come from leaders in Congress and from our communities insisting that we are not a country that continues this anti-immigrant xenophobic rhetoric. You can tie a direct thread between everything that has been happening and the leadership that comes from the White House. It isn’t enough just to be speak out, there needs to be accountability that actually takes direct action to ensure that the President understands that he is the President of all of the United States of America. Let’s see every defeat as an opportunity to grow our movement, and let’s see every win as a victory in our step to push for that more perfect union.”

Representative Ro Khanna (CA-17):
“It’s time that we, together as a nation, speak openly and respectfully about how to end any hate and violence directed towards Muslim, Arab, and South Asian communities. I will always stand up against racism and violence. To those who have faced prejudice know that you are not alone and we are with you.”

Contact:  Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

Minority leader Pelosi joins CAPAC and Asian American DREAMers to demand immediate passage of the DREAM Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights and racial justice organization, fully supports calls by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Judy Chu, and other members of Congressional leadership for the immediate passage of the DREAM Act. These demands come on the heels of last week’s decision by the Trump administration to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the latest in this administration’s anti-immigrant policies that puts 800,000 people at risk of deportation from the only country they’ve ever called home.

“This administration’s heartless, endless efforts to target and marginalize immigrant communities makes the immediate passage of a clean DREAM Act all the more urgent,” stated Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT. “SAALT joins Congressional leadership in staunch support of the immediate passage of the DREAM Act, and we call on all elected and appointed officials to defend our communities through their words and actions.”

At a press conference on the DREAM Act, Representative Nancy Pelosi noted, “It’s an honor to be here with DREAMers, who are advancing the American dream. With their courage, with their optimism, and with their inspiration, they make America more American.”

Representative Judy Chu stated, “It was only last week that President Trump issued one of the cruelest orders he ever could, the end of DACA, forcing 800,000 people to face deportation to countries that they do not even know. We are here to say, ‘We will fight for our DREAMers.’”

Chirayu Patel, Co-Founder of the DACA Network and a DREAMer himself, stated, “I have built a life here: gone to elementary, middle school, high school, and college. The decision by President Obama in 2012 to enact the DACA program was a consequential day for me, as I believed this was the first step to earn my American citizenship. Last week’s decision by President Trump turned my life upside down. We will not be used as bargaining chips in political gamesmanship between the parties. We are calling on Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act now. Now is the time for Congress to make a decision on whether they’re going to support us or if they’re going to stand in the way of progress.”

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 Pakistan respectively are eligible for DACA, placing India in the top ten countries for DACA eligibility. With the termination of DACA, these individuals could face deportation at the discretion of the administration.

Our immigration laws are badly broken – disregarding our values is not the answer to fixing them. We call on Congress to do its job and immediately pass a clean DREAM Act that creates a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring new Americans. This is the only way to align our immigration laws with the values Americans hold dear.

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

Civil Rights Coalition Denounces ACT For America’s Anti-Muslim Online Campaign; Calls on the President to #CounterACTHate

Washington – Civil rights leaders, faith based, human rights, and community organizations condemn today’s bigoted, anti-Muslim online campaign by ACT for America, reportedly the nation’s largest anti-Muslim hate group.  This online campaign was scheduled for just two days before the anniversary of September 11 to target and manufacture hatred for American Muslims at a time when violence against Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and Sikh communities is reaching historic highs.

ACT originally planned to coordinate 67 anti-Muslim rallies across 36 states under the theme “America First.”  However, after thousands of Americans came out in peaceful resistance to white supremacy and racism in Charlottesville and Boston, ACT decided to call off its rallies and shift to today’s online campaign, a clear signal that messages of justice and solidarity are drowning out messages of hate nationwide.

This is not the first time civil rights groups and anti-racist protestors stared down ACT’s bigotry.  In June ACT held anti-Muslim rallies in 30 cities across the nation under the theme “March Against Shariah”.  This campaign was met with strong resistance from civil rights groups who held alternative events that telegraphed calls for love, fairness, and justice. The Trump administration was silent in response.

ACT’s founder, Brigitte Gabriel, has made her racism clear. She has said, “Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim” and has argued, outrageously, that Muslims are a “natural threat to civilized people of the world, particularly Western society.”  In a video message launching the America First rallies, Ms. Gabriel exclaims, “Let’s show our president that we are behind him in securing our nation.” In accordance with the bigotry that ACT promotes, its previous anti-Muslim rallies have attracted a host of armed militia-type groups and white nationalists.

Likewise, President Trump has made no secret of his bigotry,, stating on the record, “I think Islam hates us” and moving forward with his administration’s dogged pursuit of a “Muslim Ban,” among other policies.  The words and actions of the administration, including high-level advisors who are known standard-bearers for white supremacist movements, as well as the President himself, increasingly fuel and validate violence targeting Muslims and people perceived as Muslim. The FBI’s 2015 hate crimes statistics, the most updated data available, show a 67% increase in hate crimes against Muslims in 2015, while violence aimed at South Asian, Sikh, and Arab communities continue to rise. The xenophobic statements by the President and Gabriel run counter to the values of justice and inclusivity that we seek to uphold.

Peaceful resistance by civil rights groups, immigrant and faith communities, and communities of color has been the strongest counterweight to the insults and injuries of white supremacists and this administration. We demand this administration, and all elected and appointed officials, condemn groups that peddle hate in the strongest possible terms, and back that condemnation with swift action and policies that contribute to the transformation of our institutions. The hatred must stop now. As a coalition of diverse organizations representing communities of color and immigrants at the national, state, and local levels, we are committed to condemning bigotry of all kinds and advancing the principles of racial justice.

Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director, South Asian Americans Leading Together, said, “ACT for America’s racism and fear mongering are incompatible with core American values of justice and equality in a nation where people of color will constitute a majority of residents within the next two decades.  ACT’s decision to shift from nationwide rallies to an online campaign, while still toxic, is in no small terms a victory and emblematic of the power of standing together, united from all faiths and backgrounds against bigotry. The Trump administration must end its anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant campaign that emboldens hate groups to commit horrific acts of violence against our communities. Silence is no longer an option. The President, along with all elected and appointed officials, must condemn Islamophobia and white supremacy and ensure that our communities can live in a just and inclusive society for all Americans.”

SAALT Condemns President Trump’s Decision to Terminate DACA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights and racial justice organization, condemns President Trump’s decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the latest in a litany of this administration’s anti-immigrant policies.  This morning Attorney General Sessions announced the destructive change, citing DACA’s executive overreach as the main source of critique, reflecting this administration’s amnesia and its unconstitutional actions to date, not the least of which include the “Muslim Ban.”

“America’s values are founded on the ideal that all people are created equal and deserve justice. The President’s decision to terminate DACA puts 800,000 individuals at risk of deportation from the only country they’ve ever called home. Ending DACA is the latest evidence of this administration’s utter lack of commitment to our nation’s founding values of equality and fairness,” stated Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT.  “Our current patchwork of immigration policies and programs is broken, and we demand Congress does its job to craft a commonsense immigration process that creates a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring new Americans. This is the only way to align our immigration laws with the values Americans hold dear.”

The Trump administration will phase out DACA after a six-month delay, punting responsibility to Congress to craft legislation to protect Dreamers. Passing the DREAM Act 2017 is an important first step, but what the nation needs is comprehensive immigration reform.

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 Pakistan respectively are eligible for DACA, placing India in the top ten countries for DACA eligibility.  With the termination of DACA, these individuals could face deportation at the discretion of the administration.

The CEOs of Apple, Google and Facebook and many other business leaders have all staunchly supported DACA and opposed its termination, citing their need for talented workers in a direct rebuttal to claims that DACA has hurt the American economy.

When asked about DACA in February the President stated, “We are going to deal with DACA with heart.”  Yet today the Attorney General called the termination of DACA a compassionate decision, revealing how tone deaf and inconsistent this administration is to its past statements and American values. The administration has announced several permutations of the “Muslim Ban”; continually called for the construction of a wall on the southern border of the United States; has rolled back Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA); supported the RAISE Act that seeks to slash immigration in half within a decade; and encouraged, endorsed, and emboldened bigotry, white supremacy, and hatred toward immigrants, Muslims, and people of color across the nation. That is not the type of ‘heart’ this nation needs.

Since its inception, this administration has demonstrated a crucial lack of heart, compassion, values, and respect for the law when it comes to DACA and immigration.  It is time for Congress to step up and pass comprehensive immigration reform, and for all elected and appointed officials to defend our communities through words and actions.  We are here to stay, we have the same rights to America as anyone else, and we are not going away.

Contact:  Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

VICTORY: ACT for America Cancels Islamophobia Hate Rallies

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights and racial justice organization, believes ACT for America’s decision to cancel its September 9 nationwide series of anti-Muslim rallies is a victory against white supremacy and Islamophobia. ACT felt the need to separate itself from the violent white supremacist groups exposed in Charlottesville last month, which is a triumph for South Asian, Muslim, Arab, Sikh, Hindu, and Middle Eastern communities nationwide. Nevertheless , we must not forget that violent tenets of white supremacy underpin ACT for America’s core mission to authorize Islamophobia through state sanctioned discrimination.

“White supremacy and Islamophobia are incompatible with core American values of justice and equality. ACT for America’s decision to cancel its Islamophobic rallies is a clear signal that messages of love are drowning out messages of hate,” stated Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT. “This is in no small terms a victory and is emblematic of the power of standing together, united from all faiths and backgrounds against bigotry and division.”

ACT, reportedly the nation’s largest anti-Muslim hate group, was planning over 67 rallies in 36 states under the theme “America First” just two days before the anniversary of the events of September 11th, 2001 to target and manufacture hatred for Muslim Americans at a time when violence against Muslim communities remains at a high pitch. ACT’s founder, Brigitte Gabriel, has made her racism clear, stating on numerous occasions, “Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim” and Muslims are a “natural threat to civilized people of the world, particularly Western society.” In a video message launching the September 9 rallies, Ms. Gabriel exclaimed, “Let’s show our president that we are behind him in securing our nation.”

The President, likewise, has made his racism clear, stating on the record, “I think Islam hates us,” supporting his administration’s dogged pursuit of a “Muslim Ban” among other policies, and essentially validating white supremacist violence in his recent statements in response to Charlottesville. The administration’s rhetoric, policies, and white supremacist allegiances have emboldened hate violence against our communities. Since the election of Donald Trump, SAALT has documented 141 incidents of violence against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, Middle Eastern, or Arab American, already surpassing totals from the year leading up to the election.

ACT already attempted to fan the flames of Islamophobia earlier this summer with little success. In June ACT held similar Islamophobic rallies in 30 cities across the nation under the theme “March Against Shariah.” This effort was a resounding failure, and was met with strong resistance from civil rights groups who held alternative events that far outnumbered the size and scope of ACT’s efforts. The White House was silent in response.

Despite the administration’s selective silence, our communities continue to decry and mobilize against Islamophobia and white supremacy of any kind, and it’s evident that groups such as ACT for America are hearing our message loud and clear. It’s high time the administration and the President, along with all elected and appointed officials, condemn Islamophobia and white supremacy in the clearest and strongest terms to ensure that our communities can live in a just and inclusive society for all Americans.

CONTACT: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

SAALT Condemns White Supremacist Violence and Mourns the Loss of Life in Charlottesville, VA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights and racial justice organization, condemns this weekend’s white supremacist, neo-Nazi, KKK rallies in Charlottesville, VA and mourns the loss of life in the terrorist attack that killed Heather Heyer and injured 20 peaceful anti-racist protestors. The administration’s delayed, insufficient, and tone deaf response to both the bloodshed and hate is a clear sign that the White House does not take the values of freedom, justice, and equality for all Americans seriously.

“In recent months, white supremacist hate groups have targeted South Asians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, African Americans, Jews, Latinos, and other immigrants and people of color in a rising tide of violence. This weekend’s tragic events in Charlottesville, and the administration’s anemic response, is emblematic of the White House’s ongoing campaign against communities of color,” stated Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT. “We demand a total and complete shutdown of white supremacy and insist the President abandons the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-American policies and rhetoric that have validated and emboldened such violence across the nation. We also demand that the white supremacist leadership in this administration be immediately terminated.”

Since the election of Donald Trump, SAALT has documented 141 incidents of violence against those who identify or are perceived as Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, Asian, Middle Eastern, or Arab American, already surpassing totals from the year leading up to the election. The administration’s anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies have emboldened and encouraged such violence, including in May when two men in Portland were stabbed to death while attempting to stop a noted white supremacist from verbally attacking a Muslim passenger on a train.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), white supremacist groups grew by over 54% from 2001 to 2014, with Klan groups growing from 72 to 190 in number between 2014 and 2015.

At Charlottesville on Saturday, David Duke, the former Imperial Wizard of the KKK, stated, “This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed and that’s why we voted for Donald Trump.”

Our constitutional guarantees of freedom have been hijacked by white supremacist hate groups, with support from the White House, and we must continue to respond with a definitive and unified pushback. SAALT stands ready with our partners and communities to continue the resistance against division and discrimination until our communities are free to live in a just and inclusive society for all Americans.

Contact:  Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

SAALT vehemently opposes updated RAISE Act that cracks down on legal immigration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights and racial justice organization, vehemently opposes today’s updated bill introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) that aims to crackdown on legal immigration.  The bill, named the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, would significantly reduce the number of immigrants who can obtain green cards and other visas and would cut the number of legal immigrants allowed in the United States by 40% in the first year and by 50% over a decade.

First introduced in April, today’s updated version of the RAISE Act would eliminate preferences for extended family members similar to the “Muslim ban”, eliminate the diversity visa lottery, limit refugees offered permanent residency to 50,000 per year, and institute a “skills-based points” merit system.

“America is a nation of values, founded on an idea that all people are created equal. Policies that break families apart and create false divisions among immigrants based on flawed notions of meritocracy do not live up to these values. Today’s revised RAISE Act, backed heavily by the White House, is part of an undisguised and coordinated attack on immigrant communities across the spectrum,” stated Lakshmi Sridaran, Director of National Policy and Advocacy at SAALT. “The draconian use of legislation and executive orders to criminalize and marginalize immigrant communities reveals the inherent xenophobia of this administration. From bans to walls to raids to this current focus on slashing green card numbers, there is a concerted effort to purge immigrants from our nation. We must resist all efforts to diminish immigrant communities and divide American-born and immigrant workers.”

Numbering over 4.3 million, South Asians are the fastest growing demographic group in the United States, with the majority of our communities foreign born. The RAISE Act will make reuniting families a draining if not impossible task for South Asian immigrants who already struggle under a woefully outdated immigration system that makes family reunification a burdensome task.

We implore Congress to support all forms of immigration, welcome refugees, promote sanctuary cities, pass the DREAM Act, and adopt an accurate and long view of our country’s history that sees immigrants as a fundamental aspect of American life.

Contact:  Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org

SAALT Declines to Attend Today’s Department of Justice Hate Crimes Summit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national civil rights and racial justice organization, will not participate in today’s Hate Crimes Summit organized by the U.S. Department of Justice due to the Trump Administration’s ongoing efforts to disregard and undermine the civil rights of all Americans, regardless of our appearance, how we pray, or where we were born. Illustrating a continued denial of civil rights on the part of the current Administration, today marks the first day that partial implementation of the Muslim Ban resumes after the Supreme Court’s announcement earlier this week.

SAALT and other invited organizations for today’s Summit learned only 36 hours ago that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will provide opening remarks this morning and will not answer questions from press or attendees. Given that this serves as a photo opportunity, we are not convinced the Summit will be a forum for substantive dialogue. Combating hate violence is central to SAALT’s mission, and we have been deeply committed to developing solutions that stem the tide of violence targeting South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, and Middle Eastern Americans since our inception.

Furthermore, SAALT is profoundly disturbed by the infrastructure this Administration has created to combat hate crimes. Established in a February 9 executive order, the Department of Justice’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety has made it a top priority to criminalize undocumented immigrants. Unconscionably, the Department of Justice has embedded a “Hate Crimes Subcommittee” into this taskforce, equating the criminality of perpetrators of hate violence with those who are undocumented.

Among their many transgressions, this Department of Justice has deeply undermined the trust that is foundational for communities to feel comfortable reporting hate crimes to law enforcement. From issuing and repeatedly appealing an unconstitutional Muslim Ban to publically supporting Texas’ draconian state immigration enforcement law, SB 4, to rolling back police accountability measures, this Administration has broadcast a very clear message to all of our communities. Given this reality, we believe that the Attorney General’s remarks and the subsequent discussion today will only amount to window dressing.

South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab Americans are experiencing levels of hate violence not seen since the year after 9/11. In the seven months since the 2016 presidential election SAALT has documented 104 incidents of violence against our communities. We believe discriminatory government policies, executive orders, and litigation have actively contributed to the very rise in hate violence that the Department of Justice will attempt to discuss today.

SAALT has a long and successful history of engagement with the Department of Justice on behalf of our communities across numerous administrations. However, the current Department of Justice continues to be at the center of policies that criminalize our communities. We have worked with our allies within and outside government for over fifteen years to improve policies on reporting and investigating hate crimes. SAALT remains deeply committed to being rooted in community and building our power with everyone impacted by the rising tide of violence in our nation. We will continue to fight the discriminatory policies, executive orders, and litigation coming out of this Administration.

Contact:  Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director, SAALT.  suman@saalt.org

SAALT Objects to the Supreme Court’s Partial Reinstatement of the “Muslim Ban”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a national South Asian racial justice and civil rights organization, strongly objects to the Supreme Court’s decision to reinstate part of President Trump’s “Muslim Ban”. It is disappointing that the highest court in our land will hear the federal government’s appeal despite federal appellate courts repeatedly striking down and staying key parts of the “Muslim Ban” as unquestionably unconstitutional.
“Reinstating any part of this administration’s patently discriminatory ‘Muslim Ban’ is contrary to the values of the United States and the ideals this country was founded on,” stated Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT. “The President’s executive orders, and the Supreme Court’s decision to partially reinstate the ban, amounts to government sanctioned discrimination. It does not make America safe, it makes America afraid.”
Individuals from the six majority-Muslim countries identified in the President’s executive orders who do not have a “bona fide” relationship with a person or organization in the United States will be barred from entering the country. This administration’s dogged pursuit of a “Muslim Ban” has provided a prominent platform for white supremacists and anti-immigrant voices.
The “Muslim ban” discriminates against travelers as well as any Muslim or individual perceived as Muslim in the United States.  These individuals have the right to walk down the street without fear of harassment or violence by virtue of how they pray, what language they speak, or their nation of origin. Today’s Supreme Court announcement is coupled with the Administration’s announcement on Friday that it will no longer actively support efforts to counter Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other far-right hate groups as part of the “Countering Violent Extremism” program. This change is divorced from the reality of terrorism in the United States, as Klan groups continue to multiply and feel emboldened in the current political climate.
South Asians are the fastest growing demographic group in the nation, yet this administration’s policies, under the guise of national security, paint millions of people with suspicion and make our communities question their place in this quintessential nation of immigrants. SAALT calls on Congress to overturn the President’s “Muslim Ban” to safeguard our national integrity and to state clearly and convincingly that hate and fear will not be allowed guide our country’s policies now or in the future. We reject any attempt to discriminate and divide us base upon how we pray, what we look like, and where we come from.
Contact: Vivek Trivedi – vivek@saalt.org