South Asian Migrants in Detention

South Asian Migrants in Deten­tion: A Fact­sheet

This fact sheet pro­vides an overview of trends in South Asian migra­tion along the U.S. South­ern bor­der, con­di­tions many South Asian migrants face in deten­tion facil­i­ties, spe­cif­ic deten­tion cas­es SAALT has tracked since 2014,  and num­bers of undoc­u­ment­ed Indi­ans.

Denaturalization Operation

Accord­ing to the Unit­ed States Cit­i­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion Ser­vices (USCIS) fail­ure to com­ply with any eli­gi­bil­i­ty require­ment for nat­u­ral­iza­tion is sub­ject to revo­ca­tion of nat­u­ral­iza­tion. Most recent­ly, the Depart­ment of Jus­tice (DOJ) filed civ­il denat­u­ral­iza­tion com­plaints against Baljin­der Singh of New Jer­sey, Parvez Man­zoor Khan of Flori­da, and Rashid Mah­mood of Con­necti­cut under Oper­a­tion Janus. In Jan­u­ary 2018, Baljin­der Singh of New Jer­sey, whose fin­ger­prints were miss­ing from the cen­tral­ized dig­i­tal fin­ger­print repos­i­to­ry, was denat­u­ral­ized by the USCIS.

Accord­ing to the Immi­grant Legal Resource Cen­ter (ILRC), “Unit­ed States cit­i­zen­ship is not absolute—it may be “lost” in either of two ways: 1) Any cit­i­zen, by birth or nat­u­ral­iza­tion, may choose to aban­don it vol­un­tar­i­ly; or 2) if acquired through nat­u­ral­iza­tion, the gov­ern­ment may revoke cit­i­zen­ship if they can prove a per­son obtained cit­i­zen­ship ille­gal­ly. Expa­tri­a­tion is the vol­un­tary aban­don­ment of cit­i­zen­ship, while denat­u­ral­iza­tion is the revo­ca­tion of nat­u­ral­iza­tion and cit­i­zen­ship by the gov­ern­ment.

Denat­u­ral­iza­tion applies only to peo­ple who became cit­i­zens through the nat­u­ral­iza­tion process. The ratio­nale for denat­u­ral­iza­tion is that the indi­vid­ual should not have been grant­ed nat­u­ral­iza­tion in the first place. There­fore, the
gov­ern­ment may revoke cit­i­zen­ship if the indi­vid­ual ille­gal­ly pro­cured or pro­cured cit­i­zen­ship by ‘con­ceal­ment of a mate­r­i­al fact or by will­ful mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion.’ Once cit­i­zen­ship is lost, the per­son reverts back to their pre-nat­u­ral­iza­tion sta­tus.

In the past, denat­u­ral­iza­tion pro­ceed­ings were rare and usu­al­ly brought only against alleged war crim­i­nals and in oth­er extreme cas­es. How­ev­er, con­tin­u­ing their assault on immi­grants, fam­i­lies, and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has increased resources ded­i­cat­ed to pur­su­ing denat­u­ral­iza­tion in an effort to strip cit­i­zen­ship from
nat­u­ral­ized cit­i­zens.”

This resource, co-cre­at­ed by the ACLU and Immi­grant Legal Resource Cen­ter (ILRC), dis­cuss­es the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s denat­u­ral­iza­tion oper­a­tion and describes the process of denat­u­ral­iza­tion, who the tar­gets are and the num­ber of cas­es as well as the his­tor­i­cal con­text for these efforts.

This practice advisory, cre­at­ed by the ILRC briefly describes these recent efforts to increase denat­u­ral­iza­tions, the legal grounds and process for denat­u­ral­iz­ing a cit­i­zen, and the con­se­quences of denat­u­ral­iza­tion.

SAALT’s Guide to Advocacy for Legal Immigration Reform: H‑1B and H‑4 visas and the South Asian American Community

A Guide to Advocacy for Legal Immigration Reform: H-1B and H-4 visas and the South Asian American Community

Introduction

The South Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty is one of the fastest grow­ing demo­graph­ic groups in this nation and spans a rich diver­si­ty of immi­gra­tion sta­tus­es from undoc­u­ment­ed to Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA), to Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Sta­tus (TPS) to asy­lum seek­ers to H‑1B and H‑4 visa hold­ers to green card hold­ers.

As we grow to over five mil­lion South Asians in the Unit­ed States, the diver­si­ty of our pop­u­la­tion has also grown. Near­ly half a mil­lion Indi­an-Amer­i­cans alone are undoc­u­ment­ed. As India ranks one of the top ten coun­tries of ori­gin for DACA recip­i­ents, 3,600 Indi­an Amer­i­cans obtained DACA since 2012.[1] Near­ly 1,879 Pak­istani Amer­i­cans and 594 have applied and received DACA.[2]  Over 9,000 Nepali Amer­i­cans are at risk of los­ing TPS in June 2019.[3] In fis­cal year 2018, South Asians have been detained in 16 out of the 19 bor­der patrol sec­tors across the coun­try rang­ing from Rio Grande Val­ley to Vermont.[4] Since 2015, over 90% of the H‑4 visa hold­ers grant­ed employ­ment autho­riza­tion are from India, and may lose their work per­mits with an antic­i­pat­ed rule from this cur­rent administration.[5]

Our nation’s immi­gra­tion sys­tem has been bro­ken and unjust for cen­turies: from enslave­ment to forced migra­tion and dis­place­ment to dis­crim­i­na­to­ry quo­tas based on coun­try of ori­gin to the present day. Today, depor­ta­tions have rapid­ly increased, the bor­der has become mil­i­ta­rized, cit­i­zens are being denat­u­ral­ized, and autho­rized immi­grants are aging out their visas, being denied work autho­riza­tion, and unable to obtain green cards.

SAALT has been con­sis­tent­ly engaged in the fight for undoc­u­ment­ed South Asian Amer­i­cans, DACA recip­i­ents, TPS hold­ers, asy­lum seek­ers and refugees, and H‑4 visa hold­ers. We believe these pop­u­la­tions with­in our com­mu­ni­ty are the most vul­ner­a­ble and have the least atten­tion, resources, and advo­ca­cy ded­i­cat­ed at the nation­al lev­el.

In today’s frac­tured polit­i­cal cli­mate, we have observed a dis­turb­ing trend. Some immi­grant rights advo­ca­cy groups are advo­cat­ing for immi­gra­tion poli­cies that ben­e­fit them, but harm oth­er immi­grant groups. One such exam­ple is using green card pro­cess­ing fees to fund a bor­der wall, which we dis­cuss in detail lat­er in this guide.

Com­pre­hen­sive immi­gra­tion reform that tru­ly trans­forms our immi­gra­tion sys­tem is the only path for­ward to address the strug­gles of all immi­grant pop­u­la­tions. SAALT does not sup­port any solu­tion, leg­isla­tive or oth­er­wise, that would advance the rights of one group of immi­grants at the direct expense of anoth­er group.

In this guide, we lay out SAALT’s per­spec­tive on the polit­i­cal and advo­ca­cy land­scape for H‑4 visa hold­ers who stand to lose their hard fought work autho­riza­tion and H‑1B visa hold­ers and oth­ers who face indef­i­nite wait times for green cards.

What is an H-4 Visa?

The H‑4 visa is issued to spous­es and depen­dent chil­dren of H‑1B visa hold­ers, also known as “high­ly skilled work­ers” employed in spe­cial­ty occu­pa­tions requir­ing rel­e­vant bachelor’s or advanced degrees. Since 1997, more than 1.7 mil­lion indi­vid­u­als have received H‑4 visas. Accord­ing to the State Depart­ment, the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty (near­ly 90%) of these indi­vid­u­als are of South Asian descent.

In Decem­ber 2017, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty announced its intent to rescind Employ­ment Autho­riza­tion Doc­u­ments (EAD) for H‑4 visa hold­ers, which will revoke their right to work. A Notice of Pro­posed Rule­mak­ing (NPR) is expect­ed to be pub­lished as ear­ly as Jan­u­ary, 2019. This pro­posed rule is a direct out­growth of this Administration’s “Buy Amer­i­can, Hire Amer­i­can” exec­u­tive order, which guts employ­ment pro­tec­tions, ben­e­fits, and pay for for­eign work­ers, tar­get­ing H‑1B and L visa hold­ers. Strip­ping the hard fought work autho­riza­tion of H‑4 visa hold­ers, grant­ed to some spous­es and minor chil­dren of H‑1B visa hold­ers through an Oba­ma-era rule is yet anoth­er com­po­nent of this administration’s anti-immi­grant agen­da. Please see here for a more detailed guide on this impor­tant issue.

What is a “legal DREAMer” and why should I care?

Minor chil­dren, who age out of their H‑4 visa at the age of 21 and must bridge to a stu­dent or oth­er visa to remain in the coun­try, have been called “legal DREAM­ers” by some advo­ca­cy groups.  Please see here for guid­ance from South Asian immi­gra­tion attor­neys around the coun­try who explain the shared plight, but impor­tant dis­tinc­tions between H‑4 visa hold­ers and DACA recip­i­ents.

This fram­ing as legal “DREAM­ers” is flawed. It cre­ates a “hier­ar­chy of the deserv­ing,” uti­liz­ing divi­sive argu­ments about who should be “first in line” rather than view­ing an entire­ly bro­ken immi­gra­tion sys­tem that serves no one.

What can we learn from DREAMers?

We have many DACA recip­i­ents or DREAM­ers with­in our own South Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty. The DREAM­ers have been suc­cess­ful in win­ning over 75% of the Amer­i­can pub­lic and Mem­bers of Con­gress, who sup­port them remain­ing in the coun­try with a path toward cit­i­zen­ship. They have accom­plished this because they are unwill­ing to sac­ri­fice any oth­er group of immi­grants to win, all while fac­ing the threat of depor­ta­tion them­selves every day. In fact, they have joined forces with Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Sta­tus (TPS) recip­i­ents to demand that the next Con­gress pass leg­is­la­tion that com­bines pro­tec­tions for both DACA and TPS recip­i­ents with­in the first 100 days, which will like­ly hap­pen.

If they can exem­pli­fy this lev­el of lead­er­ship and col­lab­o­ra­tion, then we must fol­low their exam­ple and find ways to joint­ly address the prob­lems fac­ing autho­rized and unau­tho­rized immi­grants instead of insist­ing that DREAM­ers go to the back of the line.

What is H.R. 392 and how does it resolve the green card backlog?

Indi­ans in the U.S. have among the longest wait times for green cards.  The rea­son? Cur­rent immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy does not allow one par­tic­u­lar coun­try to account for more than 7% of visas lead­ing to a green card in any giv­en year. This means coun­tries that fall below the 7% thresh­old have much short­er wait times than large coun­tries like India, which has among the longest green card back­logs.

The “Fair­ness for High Skilled Immi­grants Act of 2017” (H.R. 392 in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives & S. 281 in the Sen­ate), first intro­duced by Rep. Chaf­fetz of Utah and Rep. Lof­gren of CA and most recent­ly cham­pi­oned by Rep. Yoder of Kansas fol­low­ing the mur­der of Srini­vas Kuchib­hot­la by a white suprema­cist at a Kansas bar in his Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, would lift the 7% green card cap in an effort to clear sig­nif­i­cant back­logs. How­ev­er, help­ing clear the green card back­log for Indi­ans does not actu­al­ly elim­i­nate the back­log, it sim­ply moves it around to oth­er coun­tries.

At this time, the lan­guage of H.R. 392 has been includ­ed in the House appro­pri­a­tions (fund­ing) bill for the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty (DHS). While the Sen­ate passed a Con­tin­u­ing Res­o­lu­tion in an effort to avoid a gov­ern­ment shut­down, nei­ther the House nor the Sen­ate passed the actu­al Home­land Secu­ri­ty appro­pri­a­tions bill. The Sen­ate ver­sion of this bill does not cur­rent­ly include lan­guage about lift­ing green card caps. If the House lan­guage is includ­ed in the final ver­sion of the appro­pri­a­tions bill, it could pass each cham­ber and ulti­mate­ly be sent to the Pres­i­dent for sig­na­ture. Even if the House pass­es the Con­tin­u­ing Res­o­lu­tion to avoid a gov­ern­ment shut­down now, this would only delay the vote on the fund­ing bill until Feb­ru­ary 8, 2019.

How does H.R. 392 hurt some immigrant groups?

While H.R. 392 has gained wide and even bi-par­ti­san sup­port, its pro­pos­al to remove green card caps does not actu­al­ly increase the num­ber of green cards avail­able, but redis­trib­utes them by appli­ca­tion date rather than coun­try of ori­gin. This inher­ent­ly favors nations with much larg­er demand for green cards, most notably, India. But, this comes at the direct expense of coun­tries with low­er demand, who will expe­ri­ence high­er wait times. Among South Asian coun­tries, this puts green card appli­cants from Bangladesh, Pak­istan, Sri Lan­ka, Nepal at a much greater dis­ad­van­tage.

Between 2015–2017, only 55,000 Pak­ista­nis, 46,000 Bangladeshis 37,000 Nepalis, and 5,300 Sri Lankans obtained green cards. [6] Com­par­a­tive­ly, indi­vid­u­als from the top two coun­tries of ori­gin, Chi­na and India, obtained 228,000 and 190,000 green cards respec­tive­ly.

And, this makes it even hard­er for coun­tries like Iran, Libya, Soma­lia, Syr­ia, Yemen, North Korea, and Venezuela who fall in this cat­e­go­ry and are addi­tion­al­ly impact­ed by this administration’s dis­crim­i­na­to­ry immi­gra­tion poli­cies like the Mus­lim Ban. Such a pro­pos­al all but clos­es the door on nation­als from these coun­tries who want to remain in the coun­try or be reunit­ed with their fam­i­lies. In FY 2017, Indi­an nation­als were the num­ber one ben­e­fi­cia­ries of H‑1B visas with over 276,000 approved peti­tions fol­lowed by 34,477 visas grant­ed to Chi­nese nation­als. Only 1,643 Pak­ista­nis received H‑1B visas; 1,390 Ira­nis; 1,279 Nepalis; and 900 Venezue­lans. [7]

Addi­tion­al­ly, not all green card appli­cants are H‑1B visa­hold­ers. For exam­ple, for­eign nurs­es are not eli­gi­ble for H‑1B visas and must obtain green cards to work in the Unit­ed States. H.R. 392 would dras­ti­cal­ly reduce the num­ber for­eign-born nurs­es who could enter the coun­try with green cards from 77% to 100% in the next five years and beyond, dev­as­tat­ing the health­care sys­tem. H.R. 392 ignores the real prob­lem, which is a sig­nif­i­cant mis­match in immi­grant visas over­all to meet the demand for for­eign-born, high-skilled work­ers across indus­tries.

Why is H.R. 392 not the best solution?

In Jan­u­ary, 2018 a “Dear Col­league” let­ter cir­cu­lat­ed by Con­gres­sion­al co-spon­sors of H.R. 392 from both par­ties framed H.R. 392 as a poten­tial solu­tion for the “DACA prob­lem.” In it they state, “H.R. 392 can be passed along with amend­ed lan­guage con­tain­ing a fee that can be assessed upon the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the leg­is­la­tion that will raise bil­lions of dol­lars. These crit­i­cal funds can be used to enhance the like­li­hood of pas­sage of a DACA deal, by either enabling Con­gress to pay for bor­der secu­ri­ty or oth­er items in a man­ner that does not increase deficits, bur­den U.S. tax­pay­ers, or cause any oppo­si­tion to the nature of the fund­ing source.” This means the funds from addi­tion­al green card pro­cess­ing fees would go toward fur­ther mil­i­ta­riz­ing the bor­der, pos­si­bly even fund­ing this administration’s wall.

In Feb­ru­ary, 2018 hun­dreds of Indi­an-Amer­i­cans ral­lied out­side the White House sup­port­ing this administration’s immi­gra­tion poli­cies, draw­ing atten­tion to the green card issue. In par­tic­u­lar, they held a sign say­ing “Dream­ers pay for the wall” and offered to pay addi­tion­al fees toward their green card appli­ca­tions to finance a bor­der wall by sup­port­ing H.R. 392.

The South Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty must cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly reject such a divi­sive approach toward immi­gra­tion reform.

What is a stronger solution?

The Reunit­ing Fam­i­lies Act, which will be re-intro­duced in the new Con­gress, would improve our fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion sys­tem, reunite and keep fam­i­lies togeth­er, clear the fam­i­ly-based back­logs and eliminate the country caps in both family and employment-based visas, rec­ti­fy­ing the back­logs for all those seek­ing employ­ment-based green cards. At a time when the admin­is­tra­tion is attack­ing immi­grants from all direc­tions, it is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant that we advo­cate for solu­tions that strength­en and unite rather than divide our com­mu­ni­ties.

Please find the full Guide to Advocacy for Legal Immigration Reform here.

[1] “State-Lev­el Unau­tho­rized Pop­u­la­tion and Eli­gi­ble-to-Nat­u­ral­ize Esti­mates” Cen­ter for Migra­tion Stud­ies, 2015 http://data.cmsny.org/

[2] Wong, Tom. “DACA AAPI Data” WHIAPPI (2016)

[3] “Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Sta­tus Des­ig­nat­ed Coun­try: Nepal” U.S. Cit­i­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion Ser­vices https://bit.ly/2KIQU6I

[4] “Bor­der Patrol Arrests CBP Data through April 2018 sort via All < Cit­i­zen­ship < Bor­der Patrol Sec­tor” TRAC Immi­gra­tion http://trac.syr.edu/phptools/immigration/cbparrest/

[5] “Evo­lu­tion of the H‑1B: Lat­est Trends in a Pro­gram on the Brink of Reform” Migra­tion Pol­i­cy Insti­tute, 2018 https://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/publications/H‑1B-BrinkofReform-Brief_Final.pdf

[6] “Table 3: Per­sons Obtain­ing Law­ful Per­ma­nent Res­i­dent Sta­tus by Region and Coun­try of Birth: Fis­cal Years 2015 to 2017.” Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty https://bit.ly/2ScgTHS

[7] “Char­ac­ter­is­tics of H‑1B Spe­cial­ty Occu­pa­tion Work­ers. Fis­cal Year 2017 Annu­al Report to Con­gress.” U.S. Cit­i­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion Ser­vices https://bit.ly/2Gl568j

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.

SAALT Releases Groundbreaking Voter Guide to Educate, Mobilize South Asian American Community in Preparation for 2018 Midterm Elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Today South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) released its 2018 Midterm Election Voter Guide, the only resource designed to engage, edu­cate, and mobi­lize the grow­ing South Asian Amer­i­can elec­torate in Con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts nation­wide.
At over 5 mil­lion strong, South Asian Amer­i­cans are the sec­ond-most rapid­ly grow­ing demo­graph­ic group nation­wide, across long­stand­ing com­mu­ni­ty strong­holds and new­er regions in the South. As a result, South Asian Amer­i­cans occu­py an increas­ing­ly sig­nif­i­cant posi­tion in the Amer­i­can elec­torate. In this crit­i­cal elec­tion year, South Asian Amer­i­cans have a stake in key pol­i­cy ques­tions that affect our com­mu­ni­ties, and are deeply impact­ed by issues span­ning immi­gra­tion, civ­il rights, hate crimes, and the 2020 Cen­sus.
The Guide is a vot­er edu­ca­tion tool that equips South Asian Amer­i­cans and all vot­ers with the cru­cial infor­ma­tion they need to cast informed votes this Novem­ber. SAALT’s non-par­ti­san 2018 Midterm Election Voter Guide does not endorse any candidate—rather; it ana­lyzes House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives can­di­dates’ posi­tions on four crit­i­cal issues for South Asian Amer­i­cans in twen­ty Con­gres­sion­al Dis­tricts with the high­est South Asian Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tions. The Guide also includes analy­sis on two addi­tion­al races that fea­ture a South Asian Amer­i­can can­di­date and a Con­gres­sion­al dis­trict whose Mem­ber cur­rent­ly holds a lead­er­ship posi­tion in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.
Each race shows the Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can can­di­date posi­tions on the issues of immi­gra­tion, civ­il rights, hate crimes, and the 2020 Cen­sus based upon their respons­es to a series of ques­tions. SAALT reached out to all can­di­dates with a ques­tion­naire and ana­lyzed pub­licly avail­able infor­ma­tion on their vot­ing records on fed­er­al leg­is­la­tion, pub­lic state­ments, and pol­i­cy plat­forms to devel­op our analy­sis. For all incum­bent can­di­dates, SAALT ana­lyzed only their vot­ing record on key leg­is­la­tion to deter­mine their pol­i­cy posi­tions. All ques­tions are includ­ed in the Guide to allow vot­ers to assess a candidate’s posi­tions them­selves even if a par­tic­u­lar Con­gres­sion­al dis­trict is not fea­tured.
SAALT will be dis­trib­ut­ing its 2018 Midterm Election Voter Guide far and wide in part­ner­ship with its 62 com­mu­ni­ty part­ners in the Nation­al Coali­tion of South Asian Orga­ni­za­tions (NCSO), nation­al allies, as well as over social and tra­di­tion­al media. The Vot­er Guide will be unveiled in-per­son at this weekend’s The Future of South Asians in the U.S. region­al town hall in Niles, Illi­nois in part­ner­ship with Chicagoland NCSO orga­ni­za­tions. On Saturday, October 6th from 1-4 pm, this pow­er­ful and top­i­cal forum will address the impact of U.S. immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy on the South Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty. The Vot­er Guide will con­tin­ue to serve as a crit­i­cal com­mu­ni­ty edu­ca­tion tool that keeps the focus on the impor­tant issues impact­ing our nation on the road to the Novem­ber 2018 elec­tions and beyond.
CONTACT: Sophia Qureshi, sophia@saalt.org

Last Chance to Force Congress to Vote On and Pass a Clean DREAM Act

Since Pres­i­dent Trump ter­mi­nat­ed the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) pro­gram in Sep­tem­ber, you have heard about our efforts to speak truth to pow­er. Dur­ing a 2‑day mobi­liza­tion in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. last month, South Asian DREAM­er, leader, and SAALT ally Chi­rayu Patel asked elect­ed offi­cials at a ral­ly on Capi­tol Hill, “What is the lega­cy you want to leave behind?” You heard SAALT’s Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Suman Raghu­nathan, demand a clean DREAM Act with­out any com­pro­mis­es on increased bor­der enforce­ment that will neg­a­tive­ly impact immi­grant fam­i­lies.

Over the last three months, DREAM­ERs have been deport­ed by the thou­sands, with over 100 DREAM­ers falling out of sta­tus every day because Congress’s fail­ure to act. Addi­tion­al­ly, the gov­ern­ment is ter­mi­nat­ing Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Sta­tus (TPS) for sev­er­al coun­tries that are still reel­ing from war, dis­ease, and nat­ur­al dis­as­ters. So far Nicaragua, Hon­duras, and Haiti have been on the chop­ping block. Nepal and oth­ers could be up next.

We are now at the end of the year and Congress needs to deliver.

Fund­ing for the gov­ern­ment expires this Fri­day, Decem­ber 8th and Con­gress plans to pass a short-term Con­tin­u­ing Res­o­lu­tion (CR) to keep the lights on. This is like­ly the last must-pass spend­ing bill of the year, and the last chance for us to get the DREAM Act and TPS leg­is­la­tion through Con­gress this year.

Here’s what you can do today to force Congress to vote on and pass a clean DREAM Act and TPS legislation now: 

Call your elect­ed offi­cials and tell them why they must include the DREAM Act in the last must-pass spend­ing bill of the year. Urge them to with­hold their vote on any spend­ing bill that does not include a clean DREAM Act. It is crit­i­cal that calls are made this week before a Con­tin­u­ing Res­o­lu­tion is passed on Decem­ber 8th. Click here to find your Mem­ber of Con­gress.

See below for a sample script!

“I am call­ing to urge you to sign on to the bi-par­ti­san DREAM Act of 2017. As a South Asian Amer­i­can con­stituent, I am call­ing on you to sup­port the DREAM Act now and ensure that it is includ­ed in the year-end spend­ing bill. 

This leg­is­la­tion would allow our DREAM­ers who are as Amer­i­can as you or me to remain in the only coun­try they have ever known or called home. You may be sur­prised to know that there are at least 450,000 undoc­u­ment­ed Indi­ans alone in the U.S. and there are at least 23,000 Indi­ans and Pak­ista­nis who are eli­gi­ble to remain in the coun­try, be shield­ed from depor­ta­tion, and legal­ly work through the DREAM Act.

We need you to exer­cise courage and lead­er­ship on behalf of our fam­i­lies and our com­mu­ni­ties so we can all thrive. I urge you to sign on to a clean DREAM Act with no bor­der enforce­ment. Will you com­mit to vot­ing NO on a year-end spend­ing bill that does not include the DREAM Act? I am hap­py to share more infor­ma­tion if use­ful or con­nect you with South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al orga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sent­ing our com­mu­ni­ties in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.” 

Understanding the Muslim Bans

The Mus­lim Bans are a series of dis­crim­i­na­to­ry exec­u­tive orders and procla­ma­tions that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has imple­ment­ed. While the first ver­sion, Mus­lim Ban 1.0, was signed and went into effect on 1/27/2017, with­in a day of being signed, thou­sands of indi­vid­u­als across the coun­try rushed to the air­ports in protest, and sig­nif­i­cant por­tions of it were imme­di­ate­ly blocked by the fed­er­al courts. The admin­is­tra­tion has con­tin­ued to issue dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the Mus­lim Ban, which are work­ing their way through the court sys­tem.  Just as with Mus­lim Ban 1.0, the fed­er­al courts have tem­porar­i­ly blocked sig­nif­i­cant por­tions of the sub­se­quent Mus­lim Bans, find­ing them to be bla­tant­ly anti-Mus­lim, uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, and an abuse of the President’s pow­er. The fight to chal­lenge the Mus­lim Bans con­tin­ues.                                               

BEYOND THE BAN: OTHER DISCRIMINATORY POLICIES AGAINST MUSLIMS

Despite intense oppo­si­tion and crit­i­cism from the pub­lic, allied leg­is­la­tors, and the fed­er­al courts, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has also pushed for­ward oth­er dis­crim­i­na­to­ry poli­cies that share the same goal as the Mus­lim Bans and tar­get Mus­lims and oth­er immi­grants and com­mu­ni­ties of Col­or.

Extreme Vetting (or the Backdoor Muslim Ban) – On 3/15/2017, the Sec­re­tary of State called for enhanced screen­ing of nation­als of the six coun­tries includ­ed in Mus­lim Ban 2.0. On 5/23/2017, the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get approved dis­cre­tionary use of “extreme vet­ting” ques­tions, includ­ing inquiries into social media accounts and exten­sive bio­graph­i­cal and trav­el infor­ma­tion from the last 15 years. Impacts of the pol­i­cy include a dra­mat­ic decline in visa appli­ca­tions; fur­ther delays in visa issuance to nation­als of Mus­lim-major­i­ty coun­tries tar­get­ed by the Mus­lim Bans; and dis­crim­i­na­to­ry prac­tices while issu­ing visas.

Ending Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for Sudan - On 9/19/2017, a few days before Sudan was removed from Mus­lim Ban 3.0, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion announced an end to TPS for Sudan, effec­tive 11/2/2018. Sudanese TPS hold­ers may be forced to return to a coun­try that is still unsta­ble, despite this being the very rea­son for orig­i­nal­ly grant­i­ng TPS to peo­ple from Sudan. These mea­sures raise con­cerns about what is to come next for over 400,000 peo­ple with TPS from dif­fer­ent coun­tries.

Slashing Legal Immigration and Cutting Diversity in our Immigration System – On 2/7/2017, Sen­a­tor Cot­ton (R‑AK) and Sen­a­tor Pur­due (R‑GA) intro­duced a bill that would cut green cards by more than half and end our fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion sys­tem. If passed, the Reform­ing Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion for Strong Employ­ment (RAISE) Act, would cut cur­rent lev­els of legal immi­gra­tion by over 50%, and elim­i­nate the Diver­si­ty Visa Lot­tery Pro­gram, which pro­vides oppor­tu­ni­ties for coun­tries that send few immi­grants – often those with a major­i­ty of Mus­lim and/or Black pop­u­la­tions – to apply for a green card.

Slashing Annual Refugee Admissions – On 9/27/2017, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion dras­ti­cal­ly low­ered the annu­al refugee admis­sion cap from 110,000 to 45,000, the low­est cap since 1980, and Mus­lim Ban 4.0 specif­i­cal­ly tar­gets coun­tries that account for approx­i­mate­ly 80% of all Mus­lim refugees reset­tled in the U.S. in the past two years.

 

*The information provided in this document is just a basic summary and is not legal advice. Every person’s situation is different. For legal advice please contact an attorney. For any information regarding the Muslim Bans please contact Subha Varadarajan, Muslim Ban Legal and Outreach Fellow: A project of Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, CAIR San Francisco Bay Area, and National Immigration Law Center at varadarajan@nilc.org *

 

Ban # Date Issued Targeted Populations[1] Impact on Refugees Duration Key Court Actions Current Status
1.0 1/27/17 All refugees and nation­als from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Soma­lia, Sudan, Syr­ia, and Yemen Halt­ed entire pro­gram 90 days for all nation­als (not dual cit­i­zens) of tar­get­ed coun­tries; 120 days for refugees; indef­i­nite for Syr­i­an refugees On 2/9/17, the Ninth Cir­cuit held that the Ban should be blocked Revoked by Mus­lim Ban 2.0 on 3/6/2017
2.0 3/6/17 All refugees and nation­als from Iran, Libya, Soma­lia, Sudan, Syr­ia, and Yemen Halt­ed entire pro­gram 90 days for all nation­als of tar­get­ed coun­tries,

120 days for all refugees

On 6/26/17, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) allowed part of the ban to go into effect, apply­ing it to those lack­ing a bona fide rela­tion­ship[2] to the U.S. On 9/24/17, the Ban on nation­als from the tar­get­ed coun­tries expired and on 10/24/17, the Ban on refugees expired. SCOTUS dis­missed the cas­es chal­leng­ing the ban as moot.
3.0 9/24/17 Most or all nation­als from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Soma­lia, Syr­ia, and Yemen and gov­ern­ment offi­cials from Venezuela and their fam­i­lies N/A Indef­i­nite On 10/17/17 the Mary­land dis­trict court in IRAP v. Trump blocked the Ban for all indi­vid­u­als with a bona fide rela­tion­ship to the U.S[3]

 

Pend­ing review:

On 12/6/17, the Ninth Cir­cuit Court of appeals will hear Hawaii v. Trump, and on 12/8/2017, and the Fourth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals will hear IRAP v. Trump

4.0 10/24/17 Refugees from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Soma­lia, Sudan, South Sudan,

Syr­ia, Yemen and any state­less indi­vid­u­als

Halt­ed pro­gram for tar­get­ed pop­u­la­tions and extreme vet­ting mea­sures for all oth­er refugees Indef­i­nite Chal­lenge filed dis­trict court in Seat­tle (JFS v. Trump) on 11/13/17 Still in effect, pre­lim­i­nary injunc­tion hear­ing set for 12/21/2017

[1]  Waivers may be grant­ed under cir­cum­stances set in each Exec­u­tive Order or Procla­ma­tion.

[2]  As of Decem­ber 1, 2017, close famil­ial rela­tion­ship in the U.S or a for­mal doc­u­ment­ed rela­tion­ship with a U.S enti­ty. Famil­ial rela­tion­ship includes par­ents (includ­ing in-laws and step- par­ents), spous­es, fiancées, chil­dren (includ­ing step chil­dren), sib­lings (includ­ing step and half-sib­lings), grand­par­ents, grand­chil­dren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. For­mal doc­u­ment­ed rela­tion­ship between stu­dents and uni­ver­si­ties; work­ers and com­pa­nies; and lec­tur­er invit­ed to speak; among oth­er exam­ples are required.

[3] The Hawaii dis­trict court in Hawaii v. Trump ini­tial­ly blocked the Ban for all indi­vid­u­als, BUT on 11/13/17 the Ninth Cir­cuit lim­it­ed this rul­ing to only pro­tect those indi­vid­u­als with a bona fide rela­tion­ship to the U.S.

SAALT thanks our part­ners at Nation­al Immi­gra­tion Law Cen­ter (NILC), Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR), and Asian Amer­i­cans Advanc­ing Jus­tice (AAJC) for this info­graph­ic.