Most members of the South Asian community currently in the U.S. were actually born outside the U.S., but as a diaspora, each of our individual rights are reliant on justice for (im)migrants, whether within or beyond the South Asian American population.
Our community consists of people with varying (im)migration statuses, including undocumented immigrants, those with vulnerable status like DACA and TPS (Temporary Protected Status) (like DREAMers and DACA recipients), spousal and child dependents, temporary workers on various visas, refugees and asylum-seekers, permanent residents, and citizens. In 2021, the broader South Asian American community became more aware of another aspect of our (im)migration history, with the coverage of Dalit-Bahujan workers who were trafficked into the U.S. by upper caste South Asian Americans (ok to say this?) to exploit worker protections. As this story and many others demonstrate, the immigration system and its policies have negatively affected most South Asians, most often because of its inherent racist and xenophobic structuring. 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). South Asians have also 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 actively advocates for (im)migrant justice, through and beyond supporting: 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 and contextualizing proposed legislation’s unique impact on South Asians.
SAALT RESOURCES ON IMMIGRATION
SAALT’s Testimony and Statements Regarding Immigration
- Current Status of Immigration Policy (August 2016)
- Comments on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (February 2014)
- Immigration Priorities for South Asian Americans (October 2013)
- Letter from South Asian Organizations Expressing Concern over Ray Kelly Appointment (July 2013)
- Statement from South Asian Organizations on Passage of Senate Immigration Bill(June 2013)
- SAALT Statement of the Record for House Judiciary Committee on “the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement (SAFE) Act” (June 2013)
- SAALT Statement of the Record for House Judiciary Committee on “the Separation of Nuclear Families under U.S. Immigration Law” (March 2013)
- SAALT submits a Statement of the Record for the House Judiciary Committee on “Enhancing American Competitiveness through Skilled Immigration” Hearing(March 2013)
- SAALT submits a Statement of the Record for the House Judiciary Committee’s Immigration Hearing (February 2013)
- South Asian Organizations Call for Just & Humane Immigration Reform
- SAALT One Step Forward: The Family Unity Rule, SAALT Blog (January 2013)
- Comment by SAALT and other organizations on Eligibility or Employment Authorization for Battered Spouses of Certain Nonimmigrants (January 2013)
- Joint AAPI Letter Regarding VAWA 2012 (H.R. 4970) (May 2012)
- SAALT Statement Regarding Family Unity Waiver (January 2012)
- SAALT Statement in Support of Reuniting Families Act (May 2011)
- SAALT Statement in Support of the Uniting American Families Act (July 2010)
- SAALT Participates in White House Meeting on Immigration Reform (August 2009)
- Immigration Priorities for the South Asian Community (December 2008)
- SAALT’s Testimony before House Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (May 2007)
- SAALT Letter to the Department of Justice Regarding Immigration Courts and Reform (March 2006)
- Public Statement from South Asian Organizations Regarding Immigration Reform (April 2006) — Statement supported by over 20 South Asian organizations around the country in support of just and humane immigration reform
COMMUNITY EDUCATION RESOURCES
- South Asian and Undocumented? DACA Guide for South Asian Undocumented Youth (2013) (English, Bengali, Hindi, Urdu)
- What You Need to Know to Become a U.S. Citizen: A Guide for South Asians (April 2008) (English; Hindi; Bangla; Gujarati)
- Immigration Reform and the South Asian Community: Myths and Realities (September 2007): SAALT has produced this community education document to dispel common myths about the impact of the immigration system on South Asians. This document also provides stories collected from press articles and through SAALT’s Documentation Project that illustrate the challenges and obstacles faced by South Asian workers, women, youth, and families.
- Tell Us Your Immigration Story
- “Is America’s Immigrant Problem Really With Immigrants?” (September 2005) Op-ed in India Abroad by SAALT’s Executive Director, Deepa Iyer
- Factcheet, Temporary Protected Status (October 2005)