SAALT Slams White House’s Immigration ‘Priorities’ List as Unacceptable; Calls on Leaders to Pass Clean DREAM Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

In response to the White House’s release of a series of hard-line mea­sures required in exchange for allow­ing DREAM­ers to remain in the Unit­ed States through the pro­posed DREAM Act, Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT, released the fol­low­ing state­ment:

“SAALT has vocal­ly sup­port­ed the pas­sage of a clean DREAM Act since the Trump administration’s deci­sion to ter­mi­nate the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) pro­gram on Sep­tem­ber 5, 2017. In demand­ing a clean DREAM Act, we are stat­ing unequiv­o­cal­ly that any leg­is­la­tion must not include mea­sures to increase bor­der or inte­ri­or enforce­ment, no cuts to fam­i­ly immi­gra­tion, and no threats to legal immi­gra­tion. All of these unac­cept­able pro­vi­sions were includ­ed in the Administration’s pri­or­i­ties list issued this week­end.

Specif­i­cal­ly, these ‘pri­or­i­ties’ include ramp­ing up bor­der and inte­ri­or enforce­ment, includ­ing the con­struc­tion of a wall along the Mex­i­co bor­der, a fur­ther crack­down on sanc­tu­ary cities, an extreme cap on refugees and asy­lum seek­ers, and a deep slash to fam­i­ly and legal immi­gra­tion num­bers.

It is a patent­ly false con­struct to assume that ramp­ing up enforce­ment and cut­ting immi­gra­tion from every angle is a nec­es­sary step to ensure a leg­isla­tive solu­tion, one that is des­per­ate­ly need­ed after the inhu­mane rescis­sion of the DACA pro­gram by this admin­is­tra­tion.

Over 27,000 Asian Amer­i­cans, includ­ing 5,500 Indi­ans and Pak­ista­nis, have already received DACA. An addi­tion­al esti­mat­ed 17,000 indi­vid­u­als from India and 6,000 from Pak­istan are eli­gi­ble for DACA, plac­ing India in the top ten coun­tries for DACA eli­gi­bil­i­ty. These indi­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies must be pro­tect­ed through leg­is­la­tion with­out a bar­rage of uncon­scionable mea­sures attached there­in.

Immi­grants are not a threat to our nation­al secu­ri­ty. Instead, as numer­ous stud­ies have shown, they enhance our nation and give us the oppor­tu­ni­ty to live up to our ideals as a coun­try. More­over, two-thirds of Amer­i­cans sup­port the DREAM Act as well as over 50% of elect­ed offi­cials across par­ty lines.

With this pub­lic man­date behind them, our lead­ers must stay strong and ensure that this administration’s ‘pri­or­i­ties’ do not serve as a start­ing point for any bar­gain­ing at the expense of immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties. What we deserve is a clean DREAM Act root­ed in dig­ni­ty and inclu­sion for all immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties. We will not set­tle for any­thing less.”

***

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) is a nation­al, non­par­ti­san, non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tion that fights for racial jus­tice and advo­cates for the civ­il rights of all South Asians in the Unit­ed States. Our ulti­mate vision is dig­ni­ty and full inclu­sion for all.

Con­tact: Vivek Trive­di — vivek@saalt.org