Immigrant Rights

As the major­i­ty of the over 4.3 mil­lion South Asians in the Unit­ed States are for­eign-born, the rights and wel­fare of immi­grants in this coun­try are under­stand­ably a top pri­or­i­ty for our com­mu­ni­ty.

Like most immi­grants, South Asians pos­sess a range of immi­gra­tion sta­tus­es. The South Asian com­mu­ni­ty includes undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants, depen­dents, and tem­po­rary work­ers on var­i­ous visas, refugees and asy­lum-seek­ers, law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dents, and Unit­ed States cit­i­zens. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the immi­gra­tion sys­tem and immi­gra­tion poli­cies have neg­a­tive­ly affect­ed many South Asians, regard­less of sta­tus. For exam­ple, numer­ous mem­bers of the South Asian com­mu­ni­ty have faced obsta­cles in attain­ing per­ma­nent legal sta­tus and cit­i­zen­ship and suf­fered the impact of var­i­ous harsh enforce­ment ini­tia­tives, such as the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Entry-Exit Reg­is­tra­tion Sys­tem (NSEERS). Addi­tion­al­ly, South Asians have been sub­ject­ed to dis­crim­i­na­to­ry pro­fil­ing through immi­gra­tion poli­cies that some­times result in their depor­ta­tion for low-lev­el offens­es. Of course, these prac­tices also make it increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult for South Asians to access the rights to which they are enti­tled.

SAALT sup­ports a just and humane approach to immi­gra­tion reform that includes a path to cit­i­zen­ship for undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants; elim­i­na­tion of the visa back­log; robust work­er pro­tec­tions; and enforce­ment pro­vi­sions that respect civ­il rights and due process. Guid­ed by input from South Asian com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions, SAALT advo­cates for broad immi­gra­tion reform that address­es the needs of all South Asians. SAALT also devel­ops com­mu­ni­ty edu­ca­tion mate­ri­als ana­lyz­ing pro­posed legislation’s unique impact on South Asians.


View Deepa Iyer’s Tes­ti­mo­ny before House Sub­com­mit­tee on Immi­gra­tion, Refugees, and Cit­i­zen­ship (April 2006).

SAALT Resources on Immigration

SAALT’s Testimony and Statements Regarding Immigration

Community Education Resources

Ally Organizations