Policy Change

Over 4.3 mil­lion South Asians live and work in the Unit­ed States today. Indi­vid­u­als of South Asian descent have con­tributed enor­mous­ly to Amer­i­can soci­ety in terms of con­sti­tut­ing a vital part of the country’s work­force; becom­ing increas­ing­ly active par­tic­i­pants in the polit­i­cal sys­tem; and enrich­ing the cul­tur­al and reli­gious diver­si­ty of the Unit­ed States. Yet, poli­cies and mis­treat­ment, such as racial and reli­gious pro­fil­ing, dis­crim­i­na­to­ry immi­gra­tion poli­cies, post‑9/11 back­lash, and gen­der inequities, pre­vent many South Asians from ful­ly and equal­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing in Amer­i­can civic and polit­i­cal life.

SAALT’s pol­i­cy and advo­ca­cy began in the days after Sep­tem­ber 11th, 2001, when the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty expe­ri­enced unprece­dent­ed lev­els of back­lash in the form of pro­fil­ing, dis­crim­i­na­tion, xeno­pho­bia and arbi­trary deten­tions. Today, SAALT’s pol­i­cy and advo­ca­cy work includes the fol­low­ing strate­gies:

  • Mon­i­tor­ing fed­er­al, state, and local poli­cies that could affect the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty
  • Pre­sent­ing the needs and con­cerns of the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty in meet­ings and com­mu­ni­ca­tions with key leg­isla­tive and admin­is­tra­tive pol­i­cy­mak­ers
  • Devel­op­ing com­mu­ni­ty edu­ca­tion tools on the impact of var­i­ous poli­cies to South Asian com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers and com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions
  • Pro­vid­ing tools for South Asian com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers to proac­tive­ly respond to spe­cif­ic leg­is­la­tion and pol­i­cy ini­tia­tives
  • Par­tic­i­pat­ing in coali­tions with ally orga­ni­za­tions with­in and out­side of the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty that sup­port pol­i­cy change that would improve the lives of South Asians

As part of our work in artic­u­lat­ing the pol­i­cy pri­or­i­ties of the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty, SAALT focus­es its exper­tise on the fol­low­ing core issue areas:

In addi­tion to these core issue areas, SAALT also endeav­ors to high­light var­i­ous oth­er issues of con­cern, includ­ing civ­il rights, data col­lec­tion, eco­nom­ic jus­tice, health care, LGBTIQ rights, and youth empow­er­ment. Many of these issues are high­light­ed in A Nation­al Action Agen­da. This ground­break­ing doc­u­ment, a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort by the Nation­al Coali­tion of South Asian Orga­ni­za­tions, ana­lyzes a range of issues affect­ing the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty and pro­vides rec­om­men­da­tions for pol­i­cy­mak­ers, com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions, stake­hold­ers, allies, media, and the gen­er­al pub­lic to meet these needs.

Artic­u­lat­ing pol­i­cy objec­tives root­ed in the expe­ri­ences of South Asians across the coun­try and in all walks of life is a cru­cial step towards effec­tive­ly address­ing issues that impact our com­mu­ni­ties. SAALT’s pol­i­cy work is dri­ven by the needs and expe­ri­ences of indi­vid­ual South Asians affect­ed by var­i­ous pol­i­cy ini­tia­tives, as artic­u­lat­ed by the com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions that serve them. Pre­sent­ing a com­pre­hen­sive nation­al pol­i­cy agen­da can also com­ple­ment and ampli­fy ongo­ing advo­ca­cy, orga­niz­ing and edu­ca­tion­al efforts already being imple­ment­ed at the local lev­el.

To learn more about SAALT’s pol­i­cy work, please con­tact Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Direc­tor of Nation­al Pol­i­cy and Advo­ca­cy, at (301) 270‑1855 or info@saalt.org.