SAALT Welcomes Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer NO HATE Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 27, 2019 

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  SAALT wel­comes Sen­a­tor Richard Blu­men­thal (D‑CT) and Sen­a­tor Dick Durbin’s (D‑IL)  intro­duc­tion of the Khalid Jabara and Heather Hey­er NO HATE Act.  Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Don­ald Bey­er (D‑VA) and Pete Olson (R‑TX) intro­duced the com­pan­ion bill in the House. The bill — which pro­motes more accu­rate hate crimes data col­lec­tion and would pro­vide sup­port for hate crime vic­tims and their fam­i­lies — marks a major step in hate crimes leg­is­la­tion. 

Khalid Jabara was killed on his doorstep in Tul­sa, Okla­homa on August 12, 2016. One year lat­er, on the same day, Heather Hey­er was killed dur­ing a protest in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia. Both deaths were pros­e­cut­ed as hate crimes, yet nei­ther were report­ed in offi­cial FBI hate crimes sta­tis­tics. Both killings were moti­vat­ed by white suprema­cy.  

A coali­tion of com­mu­ni­ty and civ­il rights orga­ni­za­tions have been work­ing close­ly with Khalid and Heather’s fam­i­lies to ensure that fam­i­lies do not have to endure the same pain they have endured.  The first step to achiev­ing this is under­stand­ing the sys­temic under­pin­nings of hate vio­lence and insti­tut­ing more effec­tive ways to man­date hate crime data col­lec­tion. Every lev­el of gov­ern­ment must be held account­able for address­ing the spike in hate vio­lence aimed at our com­mu­ni­ties. The Khalid Jabara and Heather Hey­er NO HATE Act can play an instru­men­tal role in lay­ing this ground­work,” said Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Inter­im Co-Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT).  

SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed over 484 inci­dents of hate vio­lence against South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Mid­dle East­ern, and Arab Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties around the coun­try since  Novem­ber 2015.  Read the lat­est hate report here

CONTACT: sophia@saalt.org

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Supreme Court Rules Against Citizenship Question on 2020 Census

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 27, 2019 

Wash­ing­ton, D.C. : The Supreme Court of the Unit­ed States ruled 5–4 today against the addi­tion of the cit­i­zen­ship ques­tion on the 2020 Cen­sus, uphold­ing a low­er court’s deci­sion. Chief Jus­tice Roberts asked the Com­merce Depart­ment for fur­ther expla­na­tion of the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the ques­tion, say­ing the Trump Administration’s rea­sons for it were “con­trived.” Today’s rul­ing will effec­tive­ly block the ques­tion from being added for now, and giv­en the short time frame before cen­sus forms must be print­ed, the Com­merce Depart­ment must no longer waste time jus­ti­fy­ing this dan­ger­ous ques­tion.

“This is a vic­to­ry, but it should nev­er have come this far. The loom­ing threat of a cit­i­zen­ship ques­tion on the 2020 Cen­sus has already posed a chill­ing effect among immi­grant and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or who are increas­ing­ly being deport­ed, denat­u­ral­ized, and dis­en­fran­chised by this admin­is­tra­tion. Thank­ful­ly, in this instance, the Trump Administration’s tac­tics have been exposed and reject­ed. The Com­merce Depart­ment must respect the Supreme Court’s deci­sion and allow the Cen­sus Bureau to spend their lim­it­ed time and resources prepar­ing for a 2020 Cen­sus with­out the cit­i­zen­ship ques­tion. We will work to ensure our com­mu­ni­ties’ pow­er is rec­og­nized by ensur­ing that every per­son regard­less of their sta­tus is count­ed and no one is left behind in the 2020 Cen­sus,” said Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Inter­im Co-Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT.

SAALT’s lat­est South Asian demo­graph­ic snap­shotfound that the South Asian pop­u­la­tion in the U.S. grew a stag­ger­ing 40% in sev­en years, from 3.5 mil­lion in 2010 to 5.4 mil­lion in 2017.

The pur­pose of the Cen­sus is sim­ple: to lit­er­al­ly count each per­son liv­ing in the U.S. That count deter­mines more than $800 bil­lion in fed­er­al fund­ing to states for edu­ca­tion, infra­struc­ture, hos­pi­tals, parks, pub­lic ben­e­fits, and so much more. A full count ensures that our rapid­ly grow­ing and chang­ing com­mu­ni­ties are rep­re­sent­ed and receive our fair share of pub­lic pro­grams like Med­ic­aid, school lunch­es, and pro­grams for seniors.

Cen­sus Resource: https://www.countusin2020.org/resources

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SAALT Marks One Year Anniversary of Supreme Court Ruling Upholding the Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 26, 2019

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.: On June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court of the Unit­ed States ruled in favor of uphold­ing the Mus­lim Ban, mak­ing it both legal and indef­i­nite. Since the incep­tion of the Mus­lim Ban, count­less fam­i­lies have been sep­a­rat­ed, indi­vid­u­als have been denied crit­i­cal med­ical treat­ment, fam­i­ly mem­bers have been unable to attend wed­dings, funer­als, births; and many more have had no choice but to turn down oppor­tu­ni­ties of the so-called Amer­i­can dream. 

There is no human­i­ty in the Mus­lim Ban, despite the Trump Administration’s asser­tion that waivers are grant­ed in cas­es of undue hard­ship. The waiv­er process itself is a sham.  Only 5.1 per­cent of waivers request­ed are grant­ed. The process to obtain a waiv­er and the way in which waiv­er requests are eval­u­at­ed, is extreme­ly opaque, even after numer­ous FOIA requests on the pal­try num­bers of waivers that have been grant­ed. 

The Mus­lim Ban is hurt­ing familes both in the U.S. and abroad. It is a fun­da­men­tal part of our nation’s vio­lent envi­ron­ment where fam­i­lies are rou­tine­ly sep­a­rat­ed at the U.S. Mex­i­co bor­der and white suprema­cist hate vio­lence thrives. Just this month, the body of six-year old Gurupreet Kaur was found in the Ari­zona desert, one mile from the near­est port of entry, where she and her moth­er were part of a group of migrants seek­ing asy­lum. As SAALT doc­u­ment­ed in its Com­mu­ni­ties on Fire report, 1 out of every 5 per­pe­tra­tors of hate vio­lence inci­dents ref­er­enced Pres­i­dent Trump, a Trump Admin­is­tra­tion pol­i­cy or a Trump cam­paign slo­gan while com­mit­ting the act of vio­lence. Since Novem­ber 2016, SAALT has doc­u­ment­ed over 484 inci­dents of hate vio­lence and over 252 inci­dents of xeno­pho­bic rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Mid­dle East­ern and Arab com­mu­nites around the coun­try. 

It’s increas­ing­ly clear that our com­mu­ni­ties can­not rely on the Exec­u­tive or Judi­cial branch­es of our fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to pro­tect our rights. But, Con­gress has the pow­er to ter­mi­nate this racist and vio­lent pol­i­cy and has recent­ly intro­duced leg­is­la­tion that would cur­tail exec­u­tive author­i­ty for this and future bans.

Call your Mem­ber of Con­gress today (House: 202–225-3121, Sen­ate: 202–224-3121)  and urge them to cospon­sor the NO BAN Act (HR 2214/S1123), which will end this cru­el pol­i­cy and amend the Immi­gra­tion and Nation­al­i­ty Act (INA) to ensure that no com­mu­ni­ty can ever be tar­get­ed for their reli­gion with­out account­abil­i­ty.

Con­tact: sophia@saalt.org

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SAALT DENOUNCES ICE RAIDS AND FAMILY SEPARATION

For Immediate Release
Fri­day, June 21, 2019

Media Contacts
Sophia Qureshi, sophia@saalt.org
Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, lakshmi@saalt.org

Fol­low­ing the Trump administration’s announce­ment this week, Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment (ICE) raids are expect­ed to impact fam­i­lies across the U.S. begin­ning this  Sun­day, June 23rd in the pre-dawn hours. Cities expect­ed to have the high­est lev­el of impact include: Chica­go, Atlanta, Bal­ti­more, Mia­mi, New Orleans, Hous­ton, San Fran­cis­co, Los Ange­les, Den­ver, Newark, New York City, and Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Around 2,000 fam­i­lies are being tar­get­ed, pri­mar­i­ly those with final orders for depor­ta­tion or those who missed a hear­ing, with “col­lat­er­al arrests” of oth­ers who might be in the vicin­i­ty.

Tar­get­ing chil­dren, youth and fam­i­lies in an effort to fur­ther crim­i­nal­ize immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties is mis­guid­ed and immoral. This is a bla­tant assault on fam­i­lies that will desta­bi­lize com­mu­ni­ties and harm chil­dren. Research by the Cen­ter for Law and Social Pol­i­cy found evi­dence of behav­ioral changes in chil­dren who had been sep­a­rat­ed from a par­ent or had come in con­tact with immi­gra­tion agents. It showed that chil­dren who have been sep­a­rat­ed from their par­ents fre­quent­ly exhib­it  signs of trau­ma, includ­ing anx­i­ety, depres­sion, fre­quent cry­ing, dis­rupt­ed eat­ing and sleep­ing, and dif­fi­cul­ties in school.

The ICE raids announce­ment comes on the heels of new reports of deaths and over­crowd­ing in deten­tion facil­i­ties, denial of beds and san­i­ta­tion for detained chil­dren, and con­tin­ued unwill­ing­ness by  ICE to reuni­fy fam­i­lies.

Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Inter­im Co-Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) said, “The announce­ment of these raids fur­ther under­scores the need for sanc­tu­ary poli­cies across all cities to pro­tect our com­mu­ni­ties. SAALT is work­ing with our part­ners to quick­ly dis­sem­i­nate know your rights mate­ri­als in mul­ti­ple South Asian lan­guages to pre­pare com­mu­ni­ties if ICE comes to their door. We are also encour­ag­ing mem­bers of the South Asian legal com­mu­ni­ty to offer their exper­tise and aid for indi­vid­u­als impact­ed by these raids and for those cur­rent­ly detained.”

It is increas­ing­ly clear that Con­gress must cut fund­ing from both Cus­toms and Bor­der Patrol (CBP) and ICE, and imme­di­ate­ly redi­rect fund­ing to reuni­fy­ing fam­i­lies and clos­ing deten­tion facil­i­ties across the U.S.

The death of 6‑year-old Gurupreet Kaur

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 17, 2019

We are dev­as­tat­ed to learn of the death of 6‑year-old Gurupreet Kaur.

Gurupreet’s body was found by U.S. Bor­der Patrol agents in a remote desert out­side the Lukeville, Ari­zona point of entry on Wednes­day, June 12th, just days before her sev­enth birth­day.

She died of heat stroke in the Ari­zona desert where tem­per­a­tures were 108 degrees Fahren­heit, accord­ing to U.S. Bor­der Patrol and the Pima Coun­ty Office of the Med­ical Exam­in­er (PCOME).

Gurupreet and her moth­er were report­ed­ly among a group of five Indi­an nation­als who were dropped off by migrant traf­fick­ers in a remote area on the U.S.-Mexico bor­der. Her moth­er and anoth­er woman went in search of water, leav­ing Gurupreet with two oth­ers from the group. Gurupreet’s moth­er was found by a U.S. Bor­der Patrol agent 22 hours lat­er. Four hours after that, Bor­der Patrol agents found Gurupreet’s body.

Sev­en migrant chil­dren have died in immi­gra­tion cus­tody since last year. Hun­dreds more have died close to ports of entry while attempt­ing to make the per­ilous jour­ney through the desert along the U.S.-Mexico bor­der.

SAALT is send­ing a let­ter of inquiry to Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sion­er, Kevin K. McAleenan this week, demand­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion into Gurupreet’s death and infor­ma­tion about her moth­er and the oth­er migrants in their group.  

As U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion has esca­lat­ed bor­der enforce­ment and aggres­sive­ly turned away migrants attempt­ing to cross at ports of entry, deaths have con­tin­ued to mount. Migrants are forced right back into the dan­ger­ous con­di­tions that CBP and oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies often blame on migrant traf­fick­ers and smug­glers.

Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Inter­im Co-Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT said, “U.S. bor­der mil­i­ta­riza­tion, forced migra­tion, and rejec­tion of migrants attempt­ing to cross at ports of entry have cre­at­ed an envi­ron­ment where a child like Gurupreet, can die in the desert, alone. Until this sys­tem is com­plete­ly defund­ed and a new one is cre­at­ed that upholds the dig­ni­ty of all migrants — we will con­tin­ue to see unspeak­able tragedies, not with­stand­ing the count­less deaths that go undoc­u­ment­ed. While ICE and CBP have expe­ri­enced unprece­dent­ed surges in their bud­gets, their treat­ment of migrants has plunged to new lows.

SAALT has been track­ing both the rise in the num­ber of South Asians cross­ing the bor­der over the last 5 years and their treat­ment in deten­tion facil­i­ties. Between Octo­ber 2014 and April 2018, Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion (CBP) arrest­ed over 17,000 South Asians.

Of the South Asians who end up in deten­tion facil­i­ties, SAALT has tracked a pat­tern of abuse includ­ing inad­e­quate lan­guage access, lack of reli­gious accom­mo­da­tions, med­ical neglect, use of soli­tary con­fine­ment, and unac­cept­ably high bond amounts.  

We urge our com­mu­ni­ties to stay engaged and active on this urgent issue.  

Stay updat­ed and active by fol­low­ing our updates and action alerts on Twit­ter (SAALTweets) and Face­book (facebook.com/talktosaalt).

You can also sup­port by donat­ing to these orga­ni­za­tions that pro­vide imme­di­ate assis­tance:

  • The Fron­ter­i­zo Fian­za Fund is a com­mu­ni­ty bond (fian­za) fund based in El Paso and serv­ing Far West Texas and New Mex­i­co. Many detained migrants have no chance to be released while they wait the months or years until their tri­al. When some­one does receive a bond, they are often way out of reach for most fam­i­lies, rang­ing any­where from $1,500–50,000.
  • The Flo­rence Immi­grant and Refugee Rights Project is the only orga­ni­za­tion in Ari­zona that pro­vides free legal and social ser­vices to detained men, women, and chil­dren under threat of depor­ta­tion.
  • The Refugee and Immi­grant Cen­ter for Edu­ca­tion and Legal Ser­vices (RAICES) pro­motes jus­tice by pro­vid­ing free and low-cost legal ser­vices to under­served immi­grant chil­dren, fam­i­lies and refugees in Cen­tral and South Texas.
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House Passes Historic Dream and Promise Act

We’re tak­ing a moment today to pause and cel­e­brate what just hap­pened.

After years of immi­grant jus­tice orga­niz­ing by a broad coali­tion of com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, allies and part­ners, elect­ed offi­cials have lis­tened.

The House vot­ed last night to pass the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which offers per­ma­nent pro­tec­tions and a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for over two mil­lion peo­ple. The bill passed the House yes­ter­day with no addi­tion­al anti-immi­grant amend­ments.

H.R. 6 will have a direct impact on the lives of peo­ple who came to the U.S. as chil­dren — Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) recip­i­ents. It will make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of peo­ple who came to the U.S. because their coun­tries were rav­aged by war, dis­as­ter, or U.S. inter­ven­tion — those with Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Sta­tus (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Depar­ture (DED).

In our com­mu­ni­ties alone, there are over 15,000 Nepalis with TPS and 4,500 South Asians with DACA sta­tus.

H.R. 6  will give them the abil­i­ty to plan a future for them­selves.

The road ahead isn’t easy. We are dis­turbed that this vic­to­ry in the House includ­ed long debates across both par­ties on the use of deeply flawed gang data­bas­es and unjust crim­i­nal con­vic­tions to deny pro­tec­tions to some immi­grants. Ulti­mate­ly, the tire­less polit­i­cal edu­ca­tion of Mem­bers on the part of advo­cates ensured that the bill passed the House with no harm­ful addi­tions. But, our work ahead will be to stop Con­gress from fund­ing this administration’s depor­ta­tion machine.

Before H.R. 6 becomes law, the Sen­ate must vote to pass H.R. 6 and Pres­i­dent Trump must sign it into law. We com­mit to ramp­ing up the pres­sure on our elect­ed offi­cials.  

Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Inter­im Co-Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT said, “ The Dream and Promise Act passed the House with­out addi­tion­al anti-immi­grant con­ces­sions.  This is the first step in bring­ing an end to this administration’s racist and xeno­pho­bic poli­cies and lay­ing a foun­da­tion for immi­grant jus­tice in fed­er­al pol­i­cy. When we refuse to com­pro­mise our val­ues, we keep the bar high­er and set the stan­dard for change. This must be the new path for­ward for addi­tion­al leg­is­la­tion and mea­sures to defund depor­ta­tion and restore pro­tec­tions for all immi­grant and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or.”

Con­tact: sophia@saalt.org

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ACTION ALERT: URGE CONGRESS TO PASS THE DREAM AND PROMISE ACT WITH NO HARMFUL ANTI-IMMIGRANT AMENDMENTS

June 3, 2019

Last month’s pas­sage of the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) by the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee is a his­toric mile­stone in the fight for immi­grant rights. It is sched­uled for a full floor vote in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives tomor­row, June 4th.

The Dream and Promise Act offers a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for thou­sands of our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers who are Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) recip­i­ents and Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Sta­tus (TPS) hold­ers.

As this his­toric leg­is­la­tion goes to the House, we need YOU to urge law­mak­ers to both sup­port this leg­is­la­tion, which would pro­vide per­ma­nent pro­tec­tions and a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for over two mil­lion immi­grants, and reject any anti-immi­grant amend­ments or changes to the bill.

Please take a moment to call your Mem­ber of Con­gress and urge them to pass the Dream and Promise Act with NO harm­ful anti-immi­grant amend­ments.

There are over 15,000 Nepalis with TPS whose pro­tec­tion from depor­ta­tion will expire on June 24, 2019. NCSO mem­ber orga­ni­za­tion, Adhikaar has been lead­ing the fight to ensure that the thou­sands of Nepalis on TPS would be able to remain here in the U.S. with their fam­i­lies, rather than being deport­ed at the end of this month.

Over 4,500 South Asians in the U.S. are active DACA recip­i­ents (2,550 Indi­an recip­i­ents, 1,300 Pak­istani recip­i­ents, 470 Bangladeshi recip­i­ents, and 120 Sri Lankan recip­i­ents). The Dream and Promise Act would give them a per­ma­nent path to cit­i­zen­ship and access to in-state tuition and fed­er­al finan­cial aid.

It is crit­i­cal that law­mak­ers vote against any anti-immi­grant changes to the bill, regard­less of their sub­stance, includ­ing any addi­tion­al fund­ing for ICE and CBP as well as any fur­ther dis­cre­tionary pow­er to USCIS or DHS that would increase depor­ta­tions and deten­tion. Any anti-immi­grant amend­ments will serve only to delay the pas­sage of this vital leg­is­la­tion.

Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Inter­im Co-Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT said, “The Dream and Promise Act will give over two mil­lion immi­grants a fun­da­men­tal right — the right to build a life and plan for a future in this coun­try. We urge all Mem­bers of Con­gress to act bold­ly and pass this leg­is­la­tion with no anti-immi­grant amend­ments. It’s time for Con­gress to chip away at this administration’s racist poli­cies and vot­ing for H.R. 6 with­out delay is a step in the right direc­tion. It is our hope that this leg­is­la­tion will the be the first of many and lay a strong foun­da­tion for immi­grant jus­tice. ”