Statement on New Zealand attack: Standing with our communities.

March 15, 2019

We all woke up today to the hor­ri­fy­ing news out of New Zealand. We are shak­en.

Our hearts are bro­ken.

We are mourn­ing and stand­ing with the vic­tims and fam­i­lies impact­ed by this act of mass vio­lence, and all our Mus­lim broth­ers and sis­ters world­wide. We offer our love, sup­port, and sol­i­dar­i­ty.

White suprema­cy, xeno­pho­bia, and Islam­o­pho­bia fueled the shooter’s attack, which killed 49 peo­ple in two mosques dur­ing Fri­day prayers in Christchurch.

As many of our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers in the US go to Fri­day prayers in their local mosques today, we encour­age every­one to seek the sup­port they need. We’ve includ­ed a list of men­tal health resources and com­mu­ni­ty actions below.

Islam­o­pho­bia and white suprema­cy are a glob­al phe­nom­e­non. We know that Islam­o­pho­bia and its rip­ple effects in the US are real and con­tin­ue to deeply affect our com­mu­ni­ties’ safe­ty and sense of belong­ing in the US. More than one in four hate vio­lence inci­dents we doc­u­ment­ed in our Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire report were fueled by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment.

We also know the pow­er of the polit­i­cal bul­ly pul­pit is real, and has a real impact. Of the hate vio­lence inci­dents we doc­u­ment­ed, one in five per­pe­tra­tors invoked Pres­i­dent Trump’s name, his administration’s poli­cies, or his cam­paign slo­gans as they vio­lent­ly attacked our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers. We remain ever com­mit­ted to fight­ing Islam­o­pho­bia and white suprema­cy.

Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er, said, “Hous­es of wor­ship should be places of refuge and peace, not scenes of a mas­sacre. We are stand­ing with Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties every­where as the world mourns and we seek to keep our com­mu­ni­ties safe. As hard as it is not to cave into fear at times like these, we have no choice but to keep fight­ing against Islam­o­pho­bia in all its forms.”

 

Men­tal health sup­port from the Mus­lim Well­ness Foun­da­tion

NYC vig­il

Trag­ic Events toolk­it from the Fam­i­ly and Youth Insti­tute

Fundrais­er to sup­port the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims

Immigration Advocates Warn of Physical and Mental Harm to Hunger Strikers in El Paso Detention Facility

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 15, 2019

EL PASO, TX — Immi­gra­tion advo­cates and med­ical experts are deeply con­cerned over the ongo­ing hunger strike at the El Paso Ser­vice Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter and the dire sit­u­a­tion fac­ing peo­ple held in indef­i­nite deten­tion, espe­cial­ly as their health dete­ri­o­rates.

The “El Paso 9” have been sub­ject­ed to bru­tal force-feed­ings, mis­treat­ment and retal­ia­to­ry actions by U.S. Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment (ICE) and pri­vate con­trac­tors fol­low­ing their hunger strike, which began in late Decem­ber 2018. At least two of the “El Paso 9” have entered the 11th week of their hunger strike.  

Of the group of men who were on hunger strike or sup­port­ing the hunger strike, two have been deport­ed, three have been trans­ferred to the Otero Coun­ty Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter in New Mex­i­co, and four remain detained at the El Paso Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter, two of whom are still on hunger strike and are in med­ical iso­la­tion.

Nathan Craig, a vol­un­teer with Advo­cate Vis­i­tors in Deten­tion, who recent­ly vis­it­ed one of the hunger strik­ers in El Paso, said, “At this point, hav­ing not eat­en since Decem­ber, he can bare­ly walk and hold up his head. In his frail state, think­ing and talk­ing are slow and labo­ri­ous. He must be afford­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to recu­per­ate out­side of deten­tion so that he can pre­pare for his mer­its hear­ing and cross-exam­i­na­tion.

Physi­cians for Human Rights (PHR), which has long argued that force-feed­ing against an individual’s wish­es is uneth­i­cal and inhu­mane, says pre­cau­tions must be tak­en to ensure those on hunger strike receive ade­quate med­ical atten­tion and accom­mo­da­tions. PHR also rec­om­mends that Con­gress fund alter­na­tives to deten­tion pro­gram­ming that rep­re­sent a long-term solu­tion to pre­vent human rights vio­la­tions doc­u­ment­ed in immi­gra­tion deten­tion. Below is an offi­cial state­ment by Physi­cians for Human Rights:

Hunger strik­ing is a non­vi­o­lent form of protest under­tak­en when oth­er means of express­ing griev­ances are unavail­able, and hunger strik­ers must be pro­tect­ed from any and all reprisals. Physi­cians for Human Rights calls for all pre­cau­tions to be tak­en to ensure that hunger strik­ers receive need­ed med­ical atten­tion, and that accom­mo­da­tions be made to ensure appro­pri­ate trans­port so that they are not injured. Not eat­ing may result in light­head­ed­ness, so wheel­chairs should be pro­vid­ed as need­ed.

“Exten­sive med­ical research shows that immi­gra­tion deten­tion is harm­ful and strong­ly cor­re­lat­ed with neg­a­tive men­tal health out­comes, while pro­longed or indef­i­nite deten­tion vio­lates the right to be free from tor­ture and oth­er cru­el, inhu­mane, or degrad­ing treat­ment.

“The U.S. immi­gra­tion deten­tion sys­tem has repeat­ed­ly demon­strat­ed a dan­ger­ous lack of account­abil­i­ty and trans­paren­cy, and the recent hunger strikes are just one more exam­ple illus­trat­ing this dire sit­u­a­tion. As a long-term solu­tion, PHR strong­ly rec­om­mends the use of alter­na­tives to deten­tion that are humane and cost-effec­tive and that have been proven to ensure com­pli­ance with immi­gra­tion enforce­ment.

In a sep­a­rate com­ment, Altaf Saa­di, MD, a neu­rol­o­gist at UCLA and a mem­ber of Physi­cians for Human Rights’ Asy­lum Net­work, said,

Pro­longed deten­tion caus­es sig­nif­i­cant med­ical harm to indi­vid­u­als due to both denial and delays in med­ical care, inad­e­quate staffing, puni­tive approach­es to men­tal health needs like the mis­use of iso­la­tion, and harm­ful con­di­tions of con­fine­ment more broad­ly like poor and over­crowd­ed liv­ing con­di­tions. The human toll of deten­tion is com­pound­ed for those already vul­ner­a­ble and suf­fer­ing from trau­ma based on per­se­cu­tion they have endured in their home coun­tries. We don’t want more patients join­ing the list of those whose deaths have been linked to sub­stan­dard care in deten­tion, nor do we want to see the last­ing impacts of deten­tion-relat­ed psy­cho­log­i­cal harm.”

ICE has threat­ened the hunger-strik­ing men with depor­ta­tion despite the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of their health.

Immi­gra­tion and civ­il rights groups are demand­ing the imme­di­ate release of the men and for them to be able to address their asy­lum cas­es out­side of deten­tion, as they should have been able to do from the begin­ning.

Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Direc­tor of Nation­al Pol­i­cy and Advo­ca­cy for South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) said, “These asy­lum seek­ers, like so many before them, resort­ed to a hunger strike to draw atten­tion to the litany of abus­es they face at the hands of ICE on top of the indef­i­nite delays in adju­di­cat­ing their asy­lum cas­es.  We demand the imme­di­ate release of all of the detained indi­vid­u­als so they can be cared for by their com­mu­ni­ty. And, we demand an imme­di­ate inves­ti­ga­tion into the civ­il rights vio­la­tions, retal­i­a­tion, and med­ical neg­li­gence at the El Paso Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter, a facil­i­ty that SAALT and our part­ners have been mon­i­tor­ing and lodg­ing com­plaints about over the last five years. We know the treat­ment of detained indi­vid­u­als in El Paso is a micro­cosm of con­di­tions across deten­tion facil­i­ties in this coun­try.”

Media con­tact: Sophia Qureshi, sophia@saalt.org, 202–997-4211

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Free­dom for Immi­grants 

Advo­cate Vis­i­tors with Immi­grants in Deten­tion (AVID), in the Chi­huahuan Desert

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT)

Defend­ing Rights & Dis­sent

Nation­al Immi­gra­tion Project of the NLG

Detained Migrant Sol­i­dar­i­ty Com­mit­tee

Ruby Kaur -Kaur Law Pllc

La Resisten­cia

 

NAKASEC, SAALT, and SEARAC Welcome Introduction of American Dream and Promise Act

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.: Asian Amer­i­can orga­ni­za­tions wel­come the intro­duc­tion of the Amer­i­can Dream and Promise Act. The bill, intro­duced by Reps. Lucille Roy­bal-Allard (D‑CA 40), Nydia Velazquez (D‑NY 7), and Yvette Clarke (D‑NY 9), pro­vides a major­i­ty of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants eli­gi­ble for the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) pro­gram and indi­vid­u­als with sta­tus under the Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Sta­tus (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Depar­ture (DED) pro­grams a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship.

There are more than 11.5 mil­lion undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants, 1.7 mil­lion of whom are Asian Amer­i­can. The top five coun­tries of ori­gin for Asian Amer­i­can undoc­u­ment­ed indi­vid­u­als are India, Chi­na, South Korea, the Philip­pines, and Viet­nam. The leg­is­la­tion would pro­tect over 2 mil­lion indi­vid­u­als from deten­tion and depor­ta­tion by cre­at­ing a per­ma­nent path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for these pop­u­la­tions. Fur­ther­more, approx­i­mate­ly 120,000 Asian Amer­i­can DREAM­ERs and 15,000 Nepali Amer­i­cans who cur­rent­ly live in the Unit­ed States through the TPS pro­gram would ben­e­fit from the process cre­at­ed in this bill.

Quyen Dinh, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SEARAC, states:

We applaud the lead­er­ship of Reps. Roy­bal-Allard, Velazquez, and Clarke for intro­duc­ing this bill. It is an impor­tant step for immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties and, if passed, would pro­vide more than 9,000 Viet­namese Amer­i­cans with a per­ma­nent path­way to cit­i­zen­ship. Our com­mu­ni­ties are hope­ful that this act will cre­ate a strong foun­da­tion and pave the way for addi­tion­al leg­is­la­tion that lib­er­ates all mem­bers of our com­mu­ni­ties from the fear height­ened deten­tions and depor­ta­tions inflict. And as Con­gress moves this bill for­ward, we must ensure that we do not divide immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties into those deserv­ing and unde­serv­ing of pro­tec­tions by uti­liz­ing only mod­el immi­grant nar­ra­tives. SEARAC will con­tin­ue to work with mem­bers of Con­gress to pass the Amer­i­can Dream and Promise Act and fix our fun­da­men­tal­ly bro­ken immi­gra­tion sys­tem to cre­ate humane immi­gra­tion process­es that pro­tect South­east Asian Amer­i­can fam­i­lies from the trau­ma of deten­tion and depor­ta­tion and reunite our fam­i­lies in the Unit­ed States.”

Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT, states:

We wel­come the intro­duc­tion of the Amer­i­can Dream and Promise Act, sets out to pro­vide a long await­ed path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for over two mil­lion indi­vid­u­als, includ­ing those with DACA, TPS, and DED. The South Asian com­mu­ni­ty in the Unit­ed States alone has over 23,000 Dream­ers and 15,000 Nepali Amer­i­cans with TPS who will direct­ly ben­e­fit from this leg­is­la­tion. While Con­gress embarks on this impor­tant step, we will con­tin­ue to fol­low the lead­er­ship of DACA, TPS, and DED hold­ers, who advo­cate for poli­cies that would uplift all — rather than leg­is­la­tion that would ben­e­fit one immi­grant com­mu­ni­ty at the expense of anoth­er. We must not allow any com­pro­mis­es that would under­mine this hard work and deliv­er this bill’s pro­tec­tions for the price of increased enforce­ment and oth­er harm­ful and unnec­es­sary addi­tions. We look for­ward to build­ing on this leg­is­la­tion to improve our entire­ly bro­ken immi­gra­tion sys­tem to ensure that all immi­grant fam­i­lies are pro­tect­ed from deten­tion, depor­ta­tion, and denat­u­ral­iza­tion.

Birdie Park, DACA Recip­i­ent with NAKASEC, states:

We are excit­ed about for­ward motion in Con­gress for immi­grant youth, TPS hold­ers, and those with DED. We call upon our mem­bers of Con­gress to be coura­geous and not nego­ti­ate any­thing harm­ful for our com­mu­ni­ties onto this bill.”

 

ICE Deports Two Hunger Strikers Detained in El Paso

For Imme­di­ate Release
March 1, 2019
CONTACT: Sophia Qureshi, sophia@saalt.org

El Paso, TX: Two of the #ElPaso9 hunger strik­ers were deport­ed on Thurs­day, Feb­ru­ary 28th from the El Paso, TX Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter (EPPC). The two deport­ed were among the Sikh men seek­ing asy­lum who have been on hunger strike, some for over 60 days.

Amrit Singh, the uncle of two of the men who remain detained in El Paso, was noti­fied of the depor­ta­tion ear­ly Thurs­day.

Immi­grant and civ­il rights groups are deeply dis­turbed by this devel­op­ment. In ear­ly Feb­ru­ary, Rep. Veron­i­ca Esco­bar (D‑TX), who rep­re­sents the Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict where the El Paso Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter is locat­ed, request­ed inde­pen­dent psy­cho­log­i­cal and med­ical assess­ments of the men after the doc­tor in the El Paso facil­i­ty cleared the men on hunger strike for their depor­ta­tion trav­el. ICE has nei­ther acknowl­edged nor ful­filled the request. 

Nathan Craig of Advo­cate Vis­i­tors with Immi­grants in Deten­tion (AVID) vis­it­ed the El Paso Facil­i­ty last Sun­day and report­ed signs of rapid­ly dete­ri­o­rat­ing health among the detained asy­lum seek­ers. He said,“Some of the men were receiv­ing glu­cose by IV. One of the men report­ed to us that IVs are insert­ed if their health con­di­tion dete­ri­o­rates to the point that med­ical tests indi­cate that a large amount of pro­teins are spilled in their urine.”

The “El Paso 9” have been sub­ject to inter­mit­tent and invol­un­tary force-feed­ing and soli­tary con­fine­ment since Jan­u­ary. The men were on hunger strike to protest the ongo­ing delay in hear­ing their cas­es and ver­bal and phys­i­cal abuse by the guards. Some of the men are still on hunger strike.

On Feb­ru­ary 8th, 27 immi­grant and civ­il rights groups sent a let­ter to Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty (DHS) Sec­re­tary Kirst­jen Nielsen demand­ing the imme­di­ate release of the nine men on hunger strike and for an inves­ti­ga­tion into the facil­i­ty. DHS has not respond­ed to the let­ter. Advo­cates across the coun­try have been call­ing the El Paso ICE field office all month to stop the depor­ta­tions of the #ElPaso9, but it appears their phone lines have been either rerout­ed or dis­con­nect­ed.

Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran of SAALT said, We are out­raged by this devel­op­ment. The men who were deport­ed yes­ter­day were in no phys­i­cal con­di­tion to trav­el — much less to a coun­try where their lives are already endan­gered. The inhu­mane treat­ment of indi­vid­u­als in deten­tion facil­i­ties across the U.S. is uncon­scionable. The remain­ing indi­vid­u­als in the El Paso facil­i­ty must be released imme­di­ate­ly and giv­en ade­quate med­ical atten­tion.”

Jen­nifer Apo­da­ca of Detained Migrant Sol­i­dar­i­ty Net­work said,Depor­ta­tion con­tin­ues to be used as a final and cru­el form of retal­i­a­tion by ICE to tar­get indi­vid­u­als who have wit­nessed and speak out against abu­sive treat­ment and vio­la­tion of civ­il rights. ICE con­tin­ues its prac­tice of evad­ing account­abil­i­ty by deport­ing indi­vid­u­als to ensure that those with crit­i­cal infor­ma­tion are gone, essen­tial­ly eras­ing evi­dence. We demand that all depor­ta­tions be halt­ed imme­di­ate­ly until the full set of infor­ma­tion is made pub­lic.


Advocate Visitors with Immigrants in Detention (AVID) in the Chi­huahuan Desert works to end the iso­la­tion of immi­gra­tion deten­tion. Our vol­un­teers are from Las Cruces, El Paso, and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties. We vis­it and write to migrants who are detained in El Paso, Otero, and West Texas. avid.chihuahuan.org
Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee (DMSC) is a com­mu­ni­ty group based in El Paso, TX, that fights to free the bor­der from the crim­i­nal­iza­tion and mass incar­cer­a­tion of migrants. We aim to reach this goal through sup­port ser­vices, orga­niz­ing, and actions that pro­mote more humane pub­lic pol­i­cy and respect for migrants and oth­er mar­gin­al­ized 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.
Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a nation­al coali­tion of orga­ni­za­tions and indi­vid­u­als work­ing to expose and chal­lenge the injus­tices of the Unit­ed States’ immi­gra­tion deten­tion and depor­ta­tion sys­tem and advo­cate for pro­found change that pro­motes the rights and dig­ni­ty of all per­sons. Found­ed in 1997 by immi­grant rights groups, DWN brings togeth­er advo­cates to uni­fy strat­e­gy and build part­ner­ships on a local and nation­al lev­el to end immi­gra­tion deten­tion. Vis­it www.detentionwatchnetwork.org.
Defending Rights & Dissent (DRAD) is a nation­al civ­il lib­er­ty orga­ni­za­tion that strength­ens our par­tic­i­pa­to­ry democ­ra­cy by pro­tect­ing the right to polit­i­cal expres­sion and work­ing to make the promise of the Bill of Rights a real­i­ty for every­one.
Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM) orga­nizes low income South Asian and Indo-Caribbean immi­grants, work­ers, and youth in NYC for edu­ca­tion­al, immi­grant, racial, work­er, and gen­der jus­tice.