SAALT WELCOMES CHANGE IN CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Novem­ber 7th, 2018

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) joins our nation in cel­e­brat­ing a sea change of lead­er­ship in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and wel­comes the prospect of sig­nif­i­cant pol­i­cy changes to reflect the needs and pri­or­i­ties of our com­mu­ni­ties.

South Asian Amer­i­cans, along­side immi­grant and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or across the coun­try, made their voic­es heard last night. The mes­sage is clear — the future we want is one that preserves dignity and inclusion for all. Vot­ers chose to reject incum­bents and can­di­dates run­ning on anti-immi­grant plat­forms in Cal­i­for­nia, Texas, Vir­ginia and Penn­syl­va­nia. Our work begins today to ensure every elect­ed offi­cial com­mits to safe­guard­ing the rights of all Amer­i­cans, includ­ing the over five mil­lion South Asians liv­ing in the U.S. We insist on account­abil­i­ty and strong, prin­ci­pled lead­er­ship for our com­mu­ni­ties.

South Asian Amer­i­cans reaf­firmed their role as con­stituents in piv­otal Con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts. In sev­er­al of the top 20 Con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts with the high­est South Asian pop­u­la­tions we saw unprece­dent­ed shifts – from the flip in Virginia’s 10th dis­trict where Demo­c­rat Jen­nifer Wex­ton defeat­ed incum­bent Bar­bara Com­stock; to the elec­tion of Demo­c­rat Haley Stevens in Michigan’s 11th dis­trict, which vot­ed for can­di­date Trump by a nar­row mar­gin in 2016; to Georgia’s 6th dis­trict in metro Atlanta that’s so close it hasn’t yet been called.

It was also a night of firsts in notable places. In Michi­gan, a state with thriv­ing and pow­er­ful Arab Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ties, Rashi­da Tlaib became the first Pales­tin­ian Amer­i­can woman elect­ed to Con­gress. She joins Ilhan Omar, the nation’s first Soma­li Amer­i­can elect­ed to the House, from Min­neso­ta. Togeth­er they are the nation’s first Mus­lim women elect­ed to Con­gress. Final­ly, Sharice Davids became one of the nation’s first Native Amer­i­can Mem­bers of Con­gress, and will rep­re­sent Kansas’ 3rd dis­trict, the site of Srini­vas Kuchibhotla’s mur­der at the hands of a white suprema­cist.

Our Midterm Elec­tion Voter Guide empha­sized the impor­tance of can­di­date posi­tions on Civ­il Rights, Immi­gra­tion, Hate Vio­lence, and Cen­sus 2020. We ask you now to join SAALT in this next phase of hold­ing our new­ly elect­ed offi­cials account­able to advanc­ing and sus­tain­ing immi­grant and civ­il rights by unequiv­o­cal­ly reject­ing an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al pro­pos­al on birthright cit­i­zen­ship and instead pass­ing a clean DREAM Act; tak­ing up the charge of con­fronting white suprema­cist hate vio­lence tar­get­ing all of our com­mu­ni­ties; and elim­i­nat­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a cit­i­zen­ship ques­tion on the 2020 Cen­sus.

We will con­tin­ue work­ing with you to bridge grass­roots pow­er and pri­or­i­ties into a pol­i­cy agen­da. We remain com­mit­ted to keep­ing our com­mu­ni­ties’ pri­or­i­ties at the fore­front of those who aspire to rep­re­sent us.