Barrage of White Supremacist Policies Continues with Latest Muslim Ban, states SAALT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), issued the fol­low­ing state­ment in response to the Trump administration’s announce­ment of a renewed and more exten­sive “Mus­lim Ban” on the day of the expi­ra­tion of the wide­ly crit­i­cized exec­u­tive order:

“No one inside or out­side of the Unit­ed States should be tar­get­ed based upon their skin col­or, their faith, or their nation­al ori­gin. Yes­ter­day’s deci­sion by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion to renew and expand on the ‘Mus­lim Ban’ will indef­i­nite­ly legal­ize and expand gov­ern­ment sanc­tioned dis­crim­i­na­tion against mil­lions. This uncon­scionable order now tar­gets eight coun­tries, includ­ing some with­out Mus­lim major­i­ty pop­u­la­tions; how­ev­er this does not change the racial ani­mus and dis­crim­i­na­to­ry intent of the orig­i­nal Mus­lim ban; it sim­ply widens the net of exclu­sion, a hall­mark sig­na­ture of this admin­is­tra­tion.”

“Can­di­date Trump called for a ‘Mus­lim Ban’ and Pres­i­dent Trump has wast­ed lit­tle time in his tenure to trans­form that ugly rhetoric into tox­ic poli­cies that betray our core Amer­i­can val­ues of equal­i­ty and jus­tice, while con­tribut­ing noth­ing to nation­al secu­ri­ty. This admin­is­tra­tion con­tin­ues its legal gym­nas­tics every time the ‘Mus­lim Ban’ is set to be heard before a court—proof pos­i­tive of the fun­da­men­tal­ly uncon­sti­tu­tion­al nature of the pol­i­cy itself. The President’s rejec­tion of the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s report con­clud­ing that the ‘Mus­lim Ban’ has no secu­ri­ty val­ue what­so­ev­er reveals that our country’s safe­ty is not a pri­or­i­ty for the Pres­i­dent. The administration’s reck­less and dan­ger­ous poli­cies are cov­ered with the fin­ger­prints of white suprema­cy and xeno­pho­bia and noth­ing more.”

“The President’s poli­cies have had dead­ly con­se­quences. SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed over 160 inci­dents of hate vio­lence aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern Amer­i­cans since the 2016 elec­tions. Dan­ger­ous white suprema­cists and hate groups—encouraged and embold­ened by the White House—have tar­get­ed our com­mu­ni­ties at his­toric rates that rival the after­math of the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks.”

“The lat­est ban, along with the administration’s numer­ous anti-immi­grant, anti-Mus­lim poli­cies such as the recent deci­sion to ter­mi­nate DACA, are designed to sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly reject Amer­i­cans of par­tic­u­lar faith, nation­al ori­gin, and immi­gra­tion sta­tus. We will con­tin­ue to stand up for every­one who is unfair­ly tar­get­ed by this administration’s divi­sive poli­cies, and we will con­tin­ue to reject any and all attempts to divide our coun­try and crim­i­nal­ize our com­mu­ni­ties.”

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

Barrage of White Supremacist Policies Continues with Latest Muslim Ban, states SAALT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), issued the fol­low­ing state­ment in response to the Trump administration’s announce­ment of a renewed and more exten­sive “Mus­lim Ban” on the day of the expi­ra­tion of the wide­ly crit­i­cized exec­u­tive order:

“No one inside or out­side of the Unit­ed States should be tar­get­ed based upon their skin col­or, their faith, or their nation­al ori­gin. Yes­ter­day’s deci­sion by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion to renew and expand on the ‘Mus­lim Ban’ will indef­i­nite­ly legal­ize and expand gov­ern­ment sanc­tioned dis­crim­i­na­tion against mil­lions. This uncon­scionable order now tar­gets eight coun­tries, includ­ing some with­out Mus­lim major­i­ty pop­u­la­tions; how­ev­er this does not change the racial ani­mus and dis­crim­i­na­to­ry intent of the orig­i­nal Mus­lim ban; it sim­ply widens the net of exclu­sion, a hall­mark sig­na­ture of this admin­is­tra­tion.”

“Can­di­date Trump called for a ‘Mus­lim Ban’ and Pres­i­dent Trump has wast­ed lit­tle time in his tenure to trans­form that ugly rhetoric into tox­ic poli­cies that betray our core Amer­i­can val­ues of equal­i­ty and jus­tice, while con­tribut­ing noth­ing to nation­al secu­ri­ty. This admin­is­tra­tion con­tin­ues its legal gym­nas­tics every time the ‘Mus­lim Ban’ is set to be heard before a court—proof pos­i­tive of the fun­da­men­tal­ly uncon­sti­tu­tion­al nature of the pol­i­cy itself. The President’s rejec­tion of the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s report con­clud­ing that the ‘Mus­lim Ban’ has no secu­ri­ty val­ue what­so­ev­er reveals that our country’s safe­ty is not a pri­or­i­ty for the Pres­i­dent. The administration’s reck­less and dan­ger­ous poli­cies are cov­ered with the fin­ger­prints of white suprema­cy and xeno­pho­bia and noth­ing more.”

“The President’s poli­cies have had dead­ly con­se­quences. SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed over 160 inci­dents of hate vio­lence aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Arab, and Mid­dle East­ern Amer­i­cans since the 2016 elec­tions. Dan­ger­ous white suprema­cists and hate groups—encouraged and embold­ened by the White House—have tar­get­ed our com­mu­ni­ties at his­toric rates that rival the after­math of the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks.”

“The lat­est ban, along with the administration’s numer­ous anti-immi­grant, anti-Mus­lim poli­cies such as the recent deci­sion to ter­mi­nate DACA, are designed to sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly reject Amer­i­cans of par­tic­u­lar faith, nation­al ori­gin, and immi­gra­tion sta­tus. We will con­tin­ue to stand up for every­one who is unfair­ly tar­get­ed by this administration’s divi­sive poli­cies, and we will con­tin­ue to reject any and all attempts to divide our coun­try and crim­i­nal­ize our com­mu­ni­ties.”

CONTACT: Vivek Trive­di – vivek@saalt.org

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

This Week in Hate: Sixteen Years after 9/11 and Hate Violence is on the Rise

Pre­pared by Rad­ha Modi

Sep­tem­ber 11, 2017 marked the 16 year anniver­sary of 9/11, and hate vio­lence against those who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived as Mus­lim, Sikh, South Asian, Arab, Mid­dle East­ern, and Asian con­tin­ues to rise. While the cam­paign and elec­tion of Don­ald Trump is her­ald­ed as the impe­tus for the grow­ing hate speech and vio­lence nation­al­ly, Islam­o­pho­bia, anti-Black­ness, and anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ment had become nor­mal­ized and insti­tu­tion­al­ized in the U.S. over the last six­teen years: from pro­fil­ing by TSA to police bru­tal­i­ty to exces­sive delays in pro­cess­ing of immi­gra­tion appli­ca­tions. Trump as well as oth­ers would not have been able to advo­cate and sanc­tion white suprema­cy so deft­ly had it not been for the con­tin­ued embed­ding of these prin­ci­ples in the foun­da­tions of U.S. gov­er­nance.

The lat­est num­bers in hate show that in the ten months since the elec­tion, a total of 168 inci­dents of hate have occurred against those who iden­ti­fy or are per­ceived to be Mus­lim or immi­grant. Fig­ure 1 illus­trates that the per­cent increase is up by 29% as com­pared to the year pri­or to the elec­tion which had a total of 130 inci­dents.

There is a per­sis­tent increase in all cat­e­gories of hate vio­lence as shown in Fig­ure 2. Ver­bal and writ­ten hate speech — at 68 unique inci­dents and prop­er­ty dam­age at 40 unique inci­dents  — have sur­passed the totals from the pri­or year. Acts of phys­i­cal vio­lence, now at 60 inci­dents, will soon exceed the total of 64 from last year. Recent exam­ples of these hate­ful acts occurred over the pre­vi­ous week. On Sep­tem­ber 4th in Ohio, a truck dri­ver fired a gun thir­teen times at a Mus­lim woman in her car. She was struck four times and is cur­rent­ly recov­er­ing at a local hos­pi­tal in Colum­bus, Ohio. CAIR is urg­ing police to inves­ti­gate this crime as a hate crime. Then on Sep­tem­ber 6, a Sikh Tem­ple in Hol­ly­wood, CA was van­dal­ized with hate speech. The words, “Nuke all Sikhs,” was scrawled on the walls of the tem­ple. Fur­ther, a Fil­ipino-Turk­ish man was beat­en by a white suprema­cist in a park­ing lot in Fuller­ton, CA on Sep­tem­ber 7th.

Fig­ure 3 demon­strates that the rise in the num­ber of hate inci­dents are region­al­ly rel­e­vant. The West Coast con­tin­ues to lead in hate inci­dents with a third of inci­dents occur­ring in that region of the U.S. The hate vio­lence occur­ring in the East­ern and Mid­west­ern regions make up about half of all inci­dents. South­ern regions of the U.S. have the low­est num­ber of inci­dents mak­ing up 16% of the total. The high­er pro­por­tion of doc­u­ment­ed hate crimes in cer­tain regions is due to a vari­ety of issues: 1) a high­er pro­por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion that is of col­or and immi­grant, 2) an ease and access to report­ing struc­tures, 3) the vis­i­bil­i­ty of the crime, and 4) the vis­i­bil­i­ty of the vic­tim.

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