Supporting Detained Immigrants

Between Octo­ber 2014 and April 2018, Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion (CBP) arrest­ed over 17,000 South Asians (12,670 Indi­ans; 1,752 Bangladeshis; 1,744 Nepalis, 659 Pak­ista­nis, 292 Sri Lankans, 2 Bhutanese). These indi­vid­u­als have had large­ly harm­ful inter­ac­tions with U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion and Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment (ICE), mak­ing it clear to SAALT that we had to track both the rise in the num­ber of South Asians cross­ing the bor­der over the last 5 years and their treat­ment in deten­tion facil­i­ties.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, islam­o­pho­bia, and unusu­al­ly high bond amounts. Work­ing with part­ners, includ­ing South Asian Left Activist Move­ment (SALAM), AVID in the Chi­huahuan Desert, and La Resisten­cia, we are con­tin­u­ing to doc­u­ment and advo­cate against these vio­la­tions of human rights and dig­ni­ty.

Tamil Asy­lum Seek­er’s Case Goes to Supreme Court
Start­ing in 2020, SAALT has sup­port­ed Mayn­mai, a Tamil asy­lum seek­er dias­po­ra sup­port net­work, advo­cat­ing against the Unit­ed States Supreme Court’s deci­sion to deport Mr. Vijayaku­mar Thu­rais­si­giam. Mr. Thu­raisig­giam is a Tamil asy­lum seek­er flee­ing per­se­cu­tion and state-sanc­­­tioned vio­lence in Sri Lan­ka. This deci­sion high­lights the need to defund law enforce­ment while halt­ing depor­ta­tions imme­di­ate­ly. Through a series of author­i­tar­i­an mea­sures which under­mine set­tled law, the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion is evis­cer­at­ing pro­tec­tions for all asy­lum seek­ers, plac­ing them at risk for the Admin­is­tra­tion’s polit­i­cal gain. In propos­ing and enact­ing these mea­sures, the U.S. is com­plic­it in the over­seas mur­ders of those who were seek­ing safe­ty. Read Mayn­mai’s memo (avail­able in Tamil here), out­lin­ing the Supreme Court Deci­sion’s deep­er con­text, its grave impli­ca­tions both domes­tic and inter­na­tion­al, and the demands made to counter its impact.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

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  • 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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