Community Guide on “Public Charge”

On Jan­u­ary 27th, 2020 the Supreme Court tem­porar­i­ly lift­ed nation­wide court orders that kept the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion’s pro­posed “pub­lic charge” reg­u­la­tion from tak­ing effect.  This inher­ent­ly dis­crim­i­na­to­ry reg­u­la­tion can now go into effect nation­wide in all states except Illi­nois, where a statewide injunc­tion blocks it.

The “pub­lic charge” reg­u­la­tion expands the def­i­n­i­tion of pub­lic charge and tar­gets any­one who uses applic­a­ble health, nutri­tion, or hous­ing sup­port pro­grams. If the gov­ern­ment deter­mines that some­one is like­ly to become a “pub­lic charge,” that per­son can be refused law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dence (“green card”),change/extension of non-immi­grant visas, or entry into the U.S.

Details on exact­ly how this reg­u­la­tion will be imple­ment­ed have not yet been revealed.  How­ev­er, those most direct­ly impact­ed by the reg­u­la­tion will be low­er income immi­grants of col­or, includ­ing South Asians:

  • Near­ly 472,000 or 10% of the approx­i­mate­ly five mil­lion South Asians in the U.S. live in pover­ty.
  •  Among South Asian Amer­i­cans, Pak­ista­nis (15.8%), Nepali (23.9%), Bangladeshis (24.2%), and Bhutanese (33.3%) had the high­est pover­ty rates.
  •  Over 10% of green card recip­i­ents in FY 2016 were from South Asian coun­tries.
  •  Bangladeshi and Nepali com­mu­ni­ties have the low­est medi­an house­hold incomes out of all Asian Amer­i­can groups, earn­ing $49,800 and $43,500 respectively.3
  • 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, 48% of non-cit­i­zen Pak­istani fam­i­lies and 11% of non-cit­i­zen Indi­an fam­i­lies also receive pub­lic ben­e­fits.

Please fol­low updates via this resource from Pro­tect­ing Immi­grant Fam­i­lies.

New FBI hate crimes statistics show disturbing surge in hate crimes


Novem­ber 13th, 2018

Ear­li­er today, the FBI released its annu­al hate crimes sta­tis­tics report for 2017. The data, while a vast under­es­ti­mate of the vio­lence our com­mu­ni­ties face, con­tin­ues to show an increase in hate crimes for the third year in a row. The num­ber of hate crimes report­ed to the FBI in 2017 went up to 7,175 from 6,121 in 2016, rep­re­sent­ing a 17% increase, a sig­nif­i­cant jump from the five per­cent increase between 2015 and 2016. This is an alarm­ing upward trend of hate crimes – now con­sis­tent­ly sur­pass­ing the spike imme­di­ate­ly after Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001. The surge in hate crimes against Sikh and Arab Amer­i­cans, which rose by 243% and 100% respec­tive­ly since 2016 is par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­turb­ing. And, while the over­all num­ber of hate crimes tar­get­ing Mus­lim Amer­i­cans decreased by 11%, the 2017 total of 273 anti-Mus­lim hate crimes con­tin­ues to be a his­tor­i­cal­ly high num­ber. Since Novem­ber 2016, SAALT’s data on inci­dents of hate vio­lence aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Mid­dle East­ern, and Arab Amer­i­cans show that over 80% of the doc­u­ment­ed inci­dents are moti­vat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment.

Under­re­port­ing of hate crimes by local law enforce­ment agen­cies to the FBI remains a major prob­lem. Accord­ing to ProPublica’s “Doc­u­ment­ing Hate” project, thou­sands of local law enforce­ment agen­cies choose not to report hate crimes sta­tis­tics to the FBI at all; of those that do par­tic­i­pate, 88% report­ed zero hate crimes in 2016 close­ly mir­ror­ing the 87% who report­ed zero hate crimes in 2017. A sep­a­rate ProP­ub­li­ca inves­ti­ga­tion revealed that 120 fed­er­al agen­cies have not com­plied with man­dates to sub­mit hate crime data to the FBI. In fact, the FBI itself does not con­sis­tent­ly sub­mit the hate crimes it inves­ti­gates to its own data­base. We echo the con­cern shared by our part­ners at the Arab Amer­i­can Insti­tute, iden­ti­fy­ing glar­ing omis­sions from the 2017 hate crimes sta­tis­tics. In par­tic­u­lar, the fail­ure to include Srini­vas Kuchib­hot­la’s 2017 mur­der at the hands of a white suprema­cist in Olathe, Kansas. His killer, Adam Pur­in­ton, was con­vict­ed on a fed­er­al hate crimes charge ear­li­er this year.

The lack of polit­i­cal will on the part of the Depart­ment of Jus­tice to col­lect this crit­i­cal data com­bined with this administration’s flawed approach to under­stand­ing and address­ing hate crimes makes us all less safe and places a bur­den of data col­lec­tion on com­mu­ni­ties. Addi­tion­al­ly, this administration’s con­tin­ued refusal to acknowl­edge the grow­ing prob­lem of white suprema­cy ignores the pri­ma­ry moti­va­tion behind the vio­lence tar­get­ing our com­mu­ni­ties. The 2017 FBI data shows that of the over 6,000 hate crimes where the race of the offend­er was report­ed, over 50% of the per­pe­tra­tors were iden­ti­fied as white. SAALT’s data as illus­trat­ed in our 2018 report Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire report found that per­pe­tra­tors of hate vio­lence ref­er­enced Pres­i­dent Trump, a Trump admin­is­tra­tion pol­i­cy, or a Trump cam­paign slo­gan in one out of every five hate inci­dents doc­u­ment­ed. White suprema­cist vio­lence, fanned by the flames of racist rhetoric and poli­cies at the fed­er­al lev­el, has dev­as­tat­ed mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties. Until this admin­is­tra­tion con­fronts this cri­sis, we will con­tin­ue to face a surge in hate crimes aimed at our com­mu­ni­ties.


Novem­ber 7th, 2018

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) joins our nation in cel­e­brat­ing a sea change of lead­er­ship in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and wel­comes the prospect of sig­nif­i­cant pol­i­cy changes to reflect the needs and pri­or­i­ties of our com­mu­ni­ties.

South Asian Amer­i­cans, along­side immi­grant and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or across the coun­try, made their voic­es heard last night. The mes­sage is clear — the future we want is one that preserves dignity and inclusion for all. Vot­ers chose to reject incum­bents and can­di­dates run­ning on anti-immi­grant plat­forms in Cal­i­for­nia, Texas, Vir­ginia and Penn­syl­va­nia. Our work begins today to ensure every elect­ed offi­cial com­mits to safe­guard­ing the rights of all Amer­i­cans, includ­ing the over five mil­lion South Asians liv­ing in the U.S. We insist on account­abil­i­ty and strong, prin­ci­pled lead­er­ship for our com­mu­ni­ties.

South Asian Amer­i­cans reaf­firmed their role as con­stituents in piv­otal Con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts. In sev­er­al of the top 20 Con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts with the high­est South Asian pop­u­la­tions we saw unprece­dent­ed shifts – from the flip in Virginia’s 10th dis­trict where Demo­c­rat Jen­nifer Wex­ton defeat­ed incum­bent Bar­bara Com­stock; to the elec­tion of Demo­c­rat Haley Stevens in Michigan’s 11th dis­trict, which vot­ed for can­di­date Trump by a nar­row mar­gin in 2016; to Georgia’s 6th dis­trict in metro Atlanta that’s so close it hasn’t yet been called.

It was also a night of firsts in notable places. In Michi­gan, a state with thriv­ing and pow­er­ful Arab Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties, Rashi­da Tlaib became the first Pales­tin­ian Amer­i­can woman elect­ed to Con­gress. She joins Ilhan Omar, the nation’s first Soma­li Amer­i­can elect­ed to the House, from Min­neso­ta. Togeth­er they are the nation’s first Mus­lim women elect­ed to Con­gress. Final­ly, Sharice Davids became one of the nation’s first Native Amer­i­can Mem­bers of Con­gress, and will rep­re­sent Kansas’ 3rd dis­trict, the site of Srini­vas Kuchibhotla’s mur­der at the hands of a white suprema­cist.

Our Midterm Elec­tion Voter Guide empha­sized the impor­tance of can­di­date posi­tions on Civ­il Rights, Immi­gra­tion, Hate Vio­lence, and Cen­sus 2020. We ask you now to join SAALT in this next phase of hold­ing our new­ly elect­ed offi­cials account­able to advanc­ing and sus­tain­ing immi­grant and civ­il rights by unequiv­o­cal­ly reject­ing an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al pro­pos­al on birthright cit­i­zen­ship and instead pass­ing a clean DREAM Act; tak­ing up the charge of con­fronting white suprema­cist hate vio­lence tar­get­ing all of our com­mu­ni­ties; and elim­i­nat­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a cit­i­zen­ship ques­tion on the 2020 Cen­sus.

We will con­tin­ue work­ing with you to bridge grass­roots pow­er and pri­or­i­ties into a pol­i­cy agen­da. We remain com­mit­ted to keep­ing our com­mu­ni­ties’ pri­or­i­ties at the fore­front of those who aspire to rep­re­sent us.