SAALT Resolutely Objects to DHS Memos Creating Blueprint for Mass Deportations


South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), a nation­al South Asian advo­ca­cy orga­ni­za­tion, res­olute­ly objects to the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty’s (DHS) mem­o­ran­da imple­ment­ing Pres­i­dent Trump’s exec­u­tive orders on inte­ri­or and bor­der enforce­ment. We believe these mem­os fur­ther rel­e­gate South Asian and all immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties to sec­ond-class cit­i­zen­ship, ques­tion­ing our very place in the quin­tes­sen­tial nation of immigrants.

These poli­cies mas­sive­ly expand and accel­er­ate deten­tions and depor­ta­tions, tram­ple upon due process by in many cas­es remov­ing the require­ment for hear­ings and con­vic­tions pri­or to depor­ta­tion, dep­u­tize local law enforce­ment to serve as immi­gra­tion enforce­ment author­i­ties, and increase the pro­fil­ing and tar­get­ing of immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties already under siege in the wake of recent and con­tro­ver­sial exec­u­tive orders released by this administration.

“The scale of the Pres­i­den­t’s anti-immi­grant poli­cies is extreme, and the new admin­is­tra­tion appears hell-bent on tar­get­ing and demo­niz­ing immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties through orders that active­ly under­mine safe­ty and pub­lic trust in law enforce­ment,” stat­ed Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT. “Short-cir­cuit­ing due process is not a crack­down on crime, but a crack­down on rights and our very found­ing val­ues as a nation, and these mea­sures must be opposed by all com­mu­ni­ties of color.”

The Pres­i­den­t’s poli­cies deeply affect the South Asian Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty, the most rapid­ly grow­ing demo­graph­ic group in the Unit­ed States at over 4.3 mil­lion. The undoc­u­ment­ed South Asian pop­u­la­tion has grown sig­nif­i­cant­ly in the US in recent decades. India is the coun­try of ori­gin with the great­est increase in unau­tho­rized immi­grants to the Unit­ed States with a 914% increase since 1990. Cur­rent­ly there are 450,000 undoc­u­ment­ed Indi­an-Amer­i­cans in the US alone, mak­ing India the fourth-high­est send­ing coun­try for undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants after Mex­i­co, El Sal­vador, and Guatemala.

As doc­u­ment­ed in our recent report, “Pow­er, Pain, Poten­tial,” hate vio­lence against our com­mu­ni­ties has sky­rock­et­ed to lev­els not seen since the back­lash imme­di­ate­ly after the events of 9/11. At a time when immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties need to feel con­fi­dent in engag­ing with local law enforce­ment to report such inci­dents, the Pres­i­den­t’s dra­con­ian poli­cies will instead force vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­ni­ties to turn inward based upon their fear of pro­fil­ing and depor­ta­tion at the hands of the author­i­ties. Over­all pub­lic safe­ty will like­ly plunge as a result, as entire com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to lose trust in the very law enforce­ment pro­fes­sion­als tasked with keep­ing them safe. As such, pub­lic safe­ty does not increase, but instead crip­ples under the weight of these short-sight­ed anti-immi­grant policies.

Our com­mu­ni­ties are at the crosshairs. SAALT will con­tin­ue to fight for the core rights and pro­tec­tions for our com­mu­ni­ties at the nation­al, state and local lev­els with our 55 com­mu­ni­ty part­ners of the Nation­al Coali­tion of South Asian Orga­ni­za­tions. We will remain unbowed.

Con­tact:  Vivek Trive­di —