SAALT Marks Historic 2020 Election

Elec­tion win opens up greater poten­tial for push­ing poli­cies that mat­ter to South Asian com­mu­ni­ties
Novem­ber 9, 2020: SAALT con­grat­u­lates Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden and Vice-Pres­i­dent-elect Kamala Har­ris on their his­toric win and we look for­ward to the oppor­tu­ni­ty to push for pro­gres­sive and inclu­sive poli­cies for South Asian Amer­i­cans across the U.S with the new Admin­is­tra­tion. Despite attempts by the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion to thwart the demo­c­ra­t­ic process, the hard work of orga­niz­ers, poll work­ers, and vol­un­teers ensured greater account­abil­i­ty around vot­er sup­pres­sion than ever before. Ulti­mate­ly, this led to a clear and deci­sive vic­to­ry for the Biden cam­paign.

Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT, said: “This elec­tion opens up greater poten­tial for push­ing the poli­cies that mat­ter to our com­mu­ni­ties. We will rely on the same vig­i­lance that pro­pelled his­toric vot­er turnout and accu­rate vote counts to hold this Admin­is­tra­tion account­able to our com­mu­ni­ties. This means a com­plete over­haul of our immi­gra­tion sys­tem that ensures a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for all, COVID-19 relief pack­ages that include immi­grants of all sta­tus, increased lan­guage access resources, an end to deten­tion and the mil­i­ta­riza­tion of U.S. bor­ders, and the trans­for­ma­tion of polic­ing as we know it. We will cel­e­brate and heal, but we also know the work of undo­ing the immense harm of the last four years and affir­ma­tive­ly lay­ing the ground­work for mean­ing­ful sys­tems change requires inten­tion and polit­i­cal will. In order for this Admin­is­tra­tion to tru­ly acknowl­edge the Black and brown com­mu­ni­ties whose years of orga­niz­ing deliv­ered this weekend’s vic­to­ry, beyond rep­re­sen­ta­tion, we expect them to exer­cise that polit­i­cal will to the full extent on behalf of our com­mu­ni­ties.“

The his­toric vot­er turnout and inspring shifts of tra­di­tion­al­ly con­ser­v­a­tive states were a direct result of years of orga­niz­ing by Black and brown com­mu­ni­ties who felt the brunt of the Trump Administration’s xeno­pho­bic and racist polices and dan­ger­ous rhetoric. In par­tic­u­lar, a grow­ing and increas­ing­ly engaged South Asian pop­u­la­tion played a crit­i­cal role in Geor­gia. The South Asian pop­u­la­tion in the South tripled from 2000 to 2014, and of the top ten met­ro­pol­i­tan areas in the U.S. that expe­ri­enced the largest South Asian pop­u­la­tion growth, five were in the South. Groups like Georgia Muslim Voter Project, Asian Amer­i­cans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, and Project South, work­ing to imple­ment Stacey Abrams’ strat­e­gy of appeal­ing to dis­en­fran­chised vot­ers of col­or instead of rely­ing on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Party’s usu­al out­sized focus on mod­er­ate white vot­ers, har­nessed the polit­i­cal orga­niz­ing pow­er of com­mu­ni­ties of col­or across the state. This crit­i­cal shift in pri­or­i­ties should inform the Biden-Har­ris Admin­is­tra­tion. 

How­ev­er, giv­en the nar­row mar­gin of vic­to­ry in this elec­tion that took days to deter­mine, it is clear that there remains defin­i­tive sup­port for racist and xeno­pho­bic poli­cies and that white suprema­cy is a dan­ger­ous force that will remain a threat to our com­mu­ni­ties. This is paired with the vio­lent Islam­o­pho­bia and Hin­du nation­al­ism aimed at many South Asian pop­u­la­tions. Dis­man­tling these inter­linked sys­tems of insti­tu­tion­al­ized vio­lence is an impor­tant part of the work we now have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to direct­ly address with the new admin­is­tra­tion, espe­cial­ly giv­en Vice Pres­i­dent Har­ris’ iden­ti­ty.  At SAALT, we look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to build com­mu­ni­ty pow­er, strength­en­ing coali­tions across com­mu­ni­ties of col­or, and advo­cat­ing for just and equi­table fed­er­al poli­cies along­side the new Admin­is­tra­tion. 

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SAALT condemns Trump Administration’s latest expansion of immigration restrictions

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.: As the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion inten­tion­al­ly fails to address a nation­al health cri­sis that has already claimed the lives of over 120,000 peo­ple in the U.S., they con­tin­ue to dou­ble down on crim­i­nal­iz­ing immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties while still exploit­ing their labor to car­ry us through the pan­dem­ic. This week’s exec­u­tive order extend­ed the 60 day ban on the issuance of green cards announced in April and fur­ther expands the ban to H‑1B, H‑2B, L, and cer­tain J non-immi­grant visas through the end of the year. This pri­mar­i­ly tar­gets high-skilled and guest work­ers, under­min­ing fam­i­ly reuni­fi­ca­tion and diver­si­ty visa pro­grams. 

SAALT’s Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran said,“Over 70 per­cent of H1B visa hold­ers in the U.S. are from South Asian coun­tries. Our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers and their fam­i­lies con­tin­ue to be jeop­ar­dized because of these restric­tions. If the goal was to pro­tect U.S. work­ers, they would be giv­en PPE, sick days, and health­care in the midst of this dead­ly pan­dem­ic. From the Mus­lim Ban to tar­get­ing a range of immi­grant pop­u­la­tions from H‑1B visa­hold­ers to DACA recip­i­ents, this admin­is­tra­tion’s racist and anti-immi­grant agen­da under­scores their abysmal fail­ure in lead­er­ship.”

For more infor­ma­tion on who will be impact­ed by this lat­est exec­u­tive order, check out this fact sheet from the Cen­ter for Immi­grant Rights Clin­ic at Penn State Law.

Con­tact: sophia@saalt.org

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ACTION ALERT: ICE Raids Indian Restaurant in DC

UPDATE, July 10th

Ear­li­er this week, we put out a call for vol­un­teers to assist with an out­reach effort to pro­vide food and restau­rant work­ers from the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty with “know your rights” resources. The alert was prompt­ed by com­mu­ni­ty reports about an immi­gra­tion enforce­ment action tar­get­ing work­ers in the restau­rant indus­try over the past week in DC. Out of respect for those direct­ly affect­ed, we are not pro­vid­ing any addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion at this time. We will con­tin­ue our work to pro­tect and defend our com­mu­ni­ties, espe­cial­ly at a time when immi­grants are being tar­get­ed, whether at work­places and homes or at the bor­der.

July 8, 2019

An Indi­an restau­rant in DC was raid­ed by ICE last week. Sev­er­al Hin­di speak­ing employ­ees were tak­en to the Mont­gomery Coun­ty jail in Mary­land. 

Giv­en the prospect of immi­gra­tion raids in the DC area, we are call­ing for vol­un­teers to join us for an out­reach effort on July 13th and 14th.

SAALT is seek­ing vol­un­teers to help with out­reach, trans­la­tion, and legal coun­sel. Click here for imme­di­ate steps you can take.

 

 

 

Communities on Fire: Resisting Hate Violence and Xenophobic Political Rhetoric

SAALT’s 2018 report doc­u­ments hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric aimed at our com­mu­ni­ties from Elec­tion Day 2016 to Elec­tion Day 2017. SAALT doc­u­ment­ed 302 inci­dents of hate vio­lence and xeno­pho­bic polit­i­cal rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Mus­lim, Sikh, Hin­du, Mid­dle East­ern, and Arab com­mu­ni­ties in the Unit­ed States, of which an astound­ing 82% were moti­vat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment. The 302 inci­dents are a more than 45% increase from the year lead­ing up to the 2016 elec­tion cycle, lev­els not seen since the year after Sep­tem­ber 11.