House Passes Historic Dream and Promise Act

We’re tak­ing a moment today to pause and cel­e­brate what just hap­pened.

After years of immi­grant jus­tice orga­niz­ing by a broad coali­tion of com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, allies and part­ners, elect­ed offi­cials have lis­tened.

The House vot­ed last night to pass the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which offers per­ma­nent pro­tec­tions and a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for over two mil­lion peo­ple. The bill passed the House yes­ter­day with no addi­tion­al anti-immi­grant amend­ments.

H.R. 6 will have a direct impact on the lives of peo­ple who came to the U.S. as chil­dren — Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) recip­i­ents. It will make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of peo­ple who came to the U.S. because their coun­tries were rav­aged by war, dis­as­ter, or U.S. inter­ven­tion — those with Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Sta­tus (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Depar­ture (DED).

In our com­mu­ni­ties alone, there are over 15,000 Nepalis with TPS and 4,500 South Asians with DACA sta­tus.

H.R. 6  will give them the abil­i­ty to plan a future for them­selves.

The road ahead isn’t easy. We are dis­turbed that this vic­to­ry in the House includ­ed long debates across both par­ties on the use of deeply flawed gang data­bas­es and unjust crim­i­nal con­vic­tions to deny pro­tec­tions to some immi­grants. Ulti­mate­ly, the tire­less polit­i­cal edu­ca­tion of Mem­bers on the part of advo­cates ensured that the bill passed the House with no harm­ful addi­tions. But, our work ahead will be to stop Con­gress from fund­ing this administration’s depor­ta­tion machine.

Before H.R. 6 becomes law, the Sen­ate must vote to pass H.R. 6 and Pres­i­dent Trump must sign it into law. We com­mit to ramp­ing up the pres­sure on our elect­ed offi­cials.  

Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Inter­im Co-Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT said, “ The Dream and Promise Act passed the House with­out addi­tion­al anti-immi­grant con­ces­sions.  This is the first step in bring­ing an end to this administration’s racist and xeno­pho­bic poli­cies and lay­ing a foun­da­tion for immi­grant jus­tice in fed­er­al pol­i­cy. When we refuse to com­pro­mise our val­ues, we keep the bar high­er and set the stan­dard for change. This must be the new path for­ward for addi­tion­al leg­is­la­tion and mea­sures to defund depor­ta­tion and restore pro­tec­tions for all immi­grant and com­mu­ni­ties of col­or.”

Con­tact: sophia@saalt.org

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ACTION ALERT: URGE CONGRESS TO PASS THE DREAM AND PROMISE ACT WITH NO HARMFUL ANTI-IMMIGRANT AMENDMENTS

June 3, 2019

Last month’s pas­sage of the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) by the House Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee is a his­toric mile­stone in the fight for immi­grant rights. It is sched­uled for a full floor vote in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives tomor­row, June 4th.

The Dream and Promise Act offers a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for thou­sands of our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers who are Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) recip­i­ents and Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Sta­tus (TPS) hold­ers.

As this his­toric leg­is­la­tion goes to the House, we need YOU to urge law­mak­ers to both sup­port this leg­is­la­tion, which would pro­vide per­ma­nent pro­tec­tions and a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for over two mil­lion immi­grants, and reject any anti-immi­grant amend­ments or changes to the bill.

Please take a moment to call your Mem­ber of Con­gress and urge them to pass the Dream and Promise Act with NO harm­ful anti-immi­grant amend­ments.

There are over 15,000 Nepalis with TPS whose pro­tec­tion from depor­ta­tion will expire on June 24, 2019. NCSO mem­ber orga­ni­za­tion, Adhikaar has been lead­ing the fight to ensure that the thou­sands of Nepalis on TPS would be able to remain here in the U.S. with their fam­i­lies, rather than being deport­ed at the end of this month.

Over 4,500 South Asians in the U.S. are active DACA recip­i­ents (2,550 Indi­an recip­i­ents, 1,300 Pak­istani recip­i­ents, 470 Bangladeshi recip­i­ents, and 120 Sri Lankan recip­i­ents). The Dream and Promise Act would give them a per­ma­nent path to cit­i­zen­ship and access to in-state tuition and fed­er­al finan­cial aid.

It is crit­i­cal that law­mak­ers vote against any anti-immi­grant changes to the bill, regard­less of their sub­stance, includ­ing any addi­tion­al fund­ing for ICE and CBP as well as any fur­ther dis­cre­tionary pow­er to USCIS or DHS that would increase depor­ta­tions and deten­tion. Any anti-immi­grant amend­ments will serve only to delay the pas­sage of this vital leg­is­la­tion.

Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Inter­im Co-Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT said, “The Dream and Promise Act will give over two mil­lion immi­grants a fun­da­men­tal right — the right to build a life and plan for a future in this coun­try. We urge all Mem­bers of Con­gress to act bold­ly and pass this leg­is­la­tion with no anti-immi­grant amend­ments. It’s time for Con­gress to chip away at this administration’s racist poli­cies and vot­ing for H.R. 6 with­out delay is a step in the right direc­tion. It is our hope that this leg­is­la­tion will the be the first of many and lay a strong foun­da­tion for immi­grant jus­tice. ”

South Asians by the Numbers: Population in the U.S. has grown by 40% since 2010

May 15, 2019

SAALT released its lat­est South Asian demo­graph­ic snap­shot today, reveal­ing a com­mu­ni­ty in the U.S. that’s grow­ing almost as fast as it is chang­ing.

By 2065, Asian Amer­i­cans are on track to be the largest immi­grant pop­u­la­tion in the U.S. The South Asian pop­u­la­tion in the U.S. grew a stag­ger­ing 40% in sev­en years, from 3.5 mil­lion in 2010 to 5.4 mil­lion in 2017.

Key demo­graph­ic facts:

  • The Nepali com­mu­ni­ty grew by 206.6% since 2010, fol­lowed by Indi­an (38%), Bhutanese (38%), Pak­istani (33%), Bangladeshi (26%), and Sri Lankan pop­u­la­tions (15%).
  • There are at least 630,000 Indi­ans who are undoc­u­ment­ed, a 72% increase since 2010.
  • There are cur­rent­ly at least 4,300 active South Asian DACA recip­i­ents.
  • Income inequal­i­ty has been report­ed to be the great­est among Asian Amer­i­cans. Near­ly 10% of the approx­i­mate­ly five mil­lion South Asians in the U.S. live in pover­ty.
  • There has been a rise in the num­ber of South Asians seek­ing asy­lum in the U.S. over the last 10 years. ICE has detained 3,013 South Asians since 2017. U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Patrol arrest­ed 17,119 South Asians between Octo­ber 2014 and April 2018 through bor­der and inte­ri­or enforce­ment.

The South Asian com­mu­ni­ty in the Unit­ed States includes indi­vid­u­als who trace their ances­try to Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Mal­dives, Nepal, Pak­istan and Sri Lan­ka. The com­mu­ni­ty also includes mem­bers of the South Asian dias­po­ra – past gen­er­a­tions of South Asians who orig­i­nal­ly set­tled in oth­er parts of the world, includ­ing the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, Cana­da and the Mid­dle East, and oth­er parts of Asia and the Pacif­ic Islands. South Asian Amer­i­cans include cit­i­zens, legal per­ma­nent res­i­dents, stu­dents, H‑1B and H‑4 visa hold­ers, DACA recip­i­ents, and undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants.

SAALT’s Inter­im Co-Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran said, “As we wit­ness this unprece­dent­ed growth in our com­mu­ni­ties, it is more impor­tant than ever that the needs of the most vul­ner­a­ble South Asian pop­u­la­tions are met. South Asians are impact­ed by the full spec­trum of fed­er­al immi­gra­tion poli­cies — from deten­tion and depor­ta­tion to H‑4 visa work autho­riza­tion and denat­u­ral­iza­tion to the assault on pub­lic ben­e­fits. An accu­rate Cen­sus 2020 pop­u­la­tion count is essen­tial to dis­trib­ut­ing crit­i­cal fed­er­al fund­ing to our com­mu­ni­ties. A cit­i­zen­ship ques­tion on the cen­sus would chill thou­sands of com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, result­ing in a severe under­count, with at least 600,000 South Asians in the coun­try not being count­ed and thou­sands more deterred. And, this means even few­er resources to the com­mu­ni­ties who need it the most.”

SAALT’s demo­graph­ic snap­shot is based pri­mar­i­ly on Cen­sus 2010 and the 2017 Amer­i­can Com­mu­ni­ty Sur­vey. We encour­age com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers, gov­ern­ment enti­ties, pol­i­cy­mak­ers, and jour­nal­ists  to use this data to bet­ter under­stand South Asian Amer­i­cans and help inform their engage­ment with this com­mu­ni­ty.

Con­tact: Sophia@saalt.org

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NAKASEC, SAALT, and SEARAC Welcome Introduction of American Dream and Promise Act

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.: Asian Amer­i­can orga­ni­za­tions wel­come the intro­duc­tion of the Amer­i­can Dream and Promise Act. The bill, intro­duced by Reps. Lucille Roy­bal-Allard (D‑CA 40), Nydia Velazquez (D‑NY 7), and Yvette Clarke (D‑NY 9), pro­vides a major­i­ty of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants eli­gi­ble for the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) pro­gram and indi­vid­u­als with sta­tus under the Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Sta­tus (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Depar­ture (DED) pro­grams a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship.

There are more than 11.5 mil­lion undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants, 1.7 mil­lion of whom are Asian Amer­i­can. The top five coun­tries of ori­gin for Asian Amer­i­can undoc­u­ment­ed indi­vid­u­als are India, Chi­na, South Korea, the Philip­pines, and Viet­nam. The leg­is­la­tion would pro­tect over 2 mil­lion indi­vid­u­als from deten­tion and depor­ta­tion by cre­at­ing a per­ma­nent path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for these pop­u­la­tions. Fur­ther­more, approx­i­mate­ly 120,000 Asian Amer­i­can DREAM­ERs and 15,000 Nepali Amer­i­cans who cur­rent­ly live in the Unit­ed States through the TPS pro­gram would ben­e­fit from the process cre­at­ed in this bill.

Quyen Dinh, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SEARAC, states:

We applaud the lead­er­ship of Reps. Roy­bal-Allard, Velazquez, and Clarke for intro­duc­ing this bill. It is an impor­tant step for immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties and, if passed, would pro­vide more than 9,000 Viet­namese Amer­i­cans with a per­ma­nent path­way to cit­i­zen­ship. Our com­mu­ni­ties are hope­ful that this act will cre­ate a strong foun­da­tion and pave the way for addi­tion­al leg­is­la­tion that lib­er­ates all mem­bers of our com­mu­ni­ties from the fear height­ened deten­tions and depor­ta­tions inflict. And as Con­gress moves this bill for­ward, we must ensure that we do not divide immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties into those deserv­ing and unde­serv­ing of pro­tec­tions by uti­liz­ing only mod­el immi­grant nar­ra­tives. SEARAC will con­tin­ue to work with mem­bers of Con­gress to pass the Amer­i­can Dream and Promise Act and fix our fun­da­men­tal­ly bro­ken immi­gra­tion sys­tem to cre­ate humane immi­gra­tion process­es that pro­tect South­east Asian Amer­i­can fam­i­lies from the trau­ma of deten­tion and depor­ta­tion and reunite our fam­i­lies in the Unit­ed States.”

Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT, states:

We wel­come the intro­duc­tion of the Amer­i­can Dream and Promise Act, sets out to pro­vide a long await­ed path­way to cit­i­zen­ship for over two mil­lion indi­vid­u­als, includ­ing those with DACA, TPS, and DED. The South Asian com­mu­ni­ty in the Unit­ed States alone has over 23,000 Dream­ers and 15,000 Nepali Amer­i­cans with TPS who will direct­ly ben­e­fit from this leg­is­la­tion. While Con­gress embarks on this impor­tant step, we will con­tin­ue to fol­low the lead­er­ship of DACA, TPS, and DED hold­ers, who advo­cate for poli­cies that would uplift all — rather than leg­is­la­tion that would ben­e­fit one immi­grant com­mu­ni­ty at the expense of anoth­er. We must not allow any com­pro­mis­es that would under­mine this hard work and deliv­er this bill’s pro­tec­tions for the price of increased enforce­ment and oth­er harm­ful and unnec­es­sary addi­tions. We look for­ward to build­ing on this leg­is­la­tion to improve our entire­ly bro­ken immi­gra­tion sys­tem to ensure that all immi­grant fam­i­lies are pro­tect­ed from deten­tion, depor­ta­tion, and denat­u­ral­iza­tion.

Birdie Park, DACA Recip­i­ent with NAKASEC, states:

We are excit­ed about for­ward motion in Con­gress for immi­grant youth, TPS hold­ers, and those with DED. We call upon our mem­bers of Con­gress to be coura­geous and not nego­ti­ate any­thing harm­ful for our com­mu­ni­ties onto this bill.”