SAALT condemns Trump Administration’s latest expansion of immigration restrictions

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.: As the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion inten­tion­al­ly fails to address a nation­al health cri­sis that has already claimed the lives of over 120,000 peo­ple in the U.S., they con­tin­ue to dou­ble down on crim­i­nal­iz­ing immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties while still exploit­ing their labor to car­ry us through the pan­dem­ic. This week’s exec­u­tive order extend­ed the 60 day ban on the issuance of green cards announced in April and fur­ther expands the ban to H‑1B, H‑2B, L, and cer­tain J non-immi­grant visas through the end of the year. This pri­mar­i­ly tar­gets high-skilled and guest work­ers, under­min­ing fam­i­ly reuni­fi­ca­tion and diver­si­ty visa pro­grams. 

SAALT’s Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran said,“Over 70 per­cent of H1B visa hold­ers in the U.S. are from South Asian coun­tries. Our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers and their fam­i­lies con­tin­ue to be jeop­ar­dized because of these restric­tions. If the goal was to pro­tect U.S. work­ers, they would be giv­en PPE, sick days, and health­care in the midst of this dead­ly pan­dem­ic. From the Mus­lim Ban to tar­get­ing a range of immi­grant pop­u­la­tions from H‑1B visa­hold­ers to DACA recip­i­ents, this admin­is­tra­tion’s racist and anti-immi­grant agen­da under­scores their abysmal fail­ure in lead­er­ship.”

For more infor­ma­tion on who will be impact­ed by this lat­est exec­u­tive order, check out this fact sheet from the Cen­ter for Immi­grant Rights Clin­ic at Penn State Law.

Con­tact: sophia@saalt.org

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ICE initiates force-feeding process for South Asian asylum seekers on hunger strike

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Decem­ber 13, 2019

ICE agents are force-hydrat­ing at least five asy­lum seek­ers from India detained at Jena-LaSalle Deten­tion Facil­i­ty in Jena, Louisiana and force-feed­ing three South Asian men at the El Paso Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter in El Paso, Texas. The eight men have been on pro­longed hunger strike, some near­ing two months with­out eat­ing. 

The five men in Louisiana are being sub­ject­ed to forced hydra­tion, which is car­ried out by a team of five to six peo­ple who hold the per­son down while an IV is admin­is­tered. Local advo­cates say forced-hydra­tion began on Nov. 18 and that the men are expect­ed to face force-feed­ing by naso-gas­tric tube any day.

 All three men detained in El Paso, includ­ing one man who has been detained for near­ly three years, are cur­rent­ly being force-fed via naso-gas­tric tubes. 

Force-feed­ing, a prac­tice that has been denounced as tor­ture by the Unit­ed Nations, Physi­cians for Human Rights, the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion, and the World Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion, has been occur­ring in the El Paso facil­i­ty through­out the year. Since Jan­u­ary, local advo­cates report at least 16 peo­ple have been or are cur­rent­ly being sub­ject­ed to force-feed­ing prac­tices at that deten­tion facil­i­ty. All of them have been force-fed with tubes that are near­ly twice the size of the tubes denounced inter­na­tion­al­ly that were used in Guan­tanamo. Some of the men hunger strik­ing were deport­ed with­out a strict re-feed­ing pro­to­col, a process which accord­ing to Physi­cians for Human Rights, can lead to death. 

Mr. Singh (whose name has been changed to pro­tect his iden­ti­ty) is an Indi­an asy­lum seek­er cur­rent­ly in the Jena-LaSalle facil­i­ty who is flee­ing reli­gious per­se­cu­tion. In a writ­ten state­ment he said:

Since January 21st, 2019, I have been imprisoned inside four walls. For almost one year, I have been suffering. I have never in my entire life lived like this inside four walls nor am I accustomed to living in imprisonment. I do not know how long my asylum case will take, which is why I want to fight my case from outside this prison [...] I only have one demand: I want freedom and I want to fight my case from outside. 

Over 34,000 South Asian migrants have been appre­hend­ed at U.S. bor­ders since 2008. The num­ber of Indi­an migrants appre­hend­ed at the bor­der tripled from almost 3,000 in 2017 to near­ly 9,000 in 2018. SAALT and part­ners tracked a pat­tern of abuse towards South Asian migrants in deten­tion since 2014 that drove many to hunger strike includ­ing: inad­e­quate or non-exis­tent lan­guage access, denial of reli­gious accom­mo­da­tions, use of soli­tary con­fine­ment as a form of retal­i­a­tion, gross med­ical neglect, and high bond amounts result­ing in pro­longed deten­tion.

We are extremely disturbed by the patterns of abuse against South Asian asylum seekers in detention. No one should have to go to such great lengths simply to have their cases heard and to gain their freedom. They should not be in detention in the first place and the only legitimate alternative is release, said Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Inter­im Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of SAALT.

Full press release with coali­tion part­ners here.

Media con­tact: sophia@saalt.org

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SAALT Denounces Trump Administration attack on Immigrant Children

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

August 22, 2019

Wash­ing­ton, D.C.: On Wednes­day, the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion announced a new rule that would give the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty (DHS)  the pow­er to hold immi­grant fam­i­lies — includ­ing chil­dren — indef­i­nite­ly. The new rule direct­ly under­mines the Flo­res Agree­ment, which for decades has pro­vid­ed some pro­tec­tions for chil­dren includ­ing min­i­mum safe­ty and cus­tody stan­dards and a require­ment that they be released with­in 20 days.

The Trump Admin­is­tra­tion’s new rule would allow DHS to detain chil­dren indef­i­nite­ly with­out over­sight or basic stan­dards of care.   At least sev­en chil­dren alone have died under DHS cus­tody since last year.

The con­tin­ued and relent­less attacks on immi­grant fam­i­lies — on immi­grant chil­dren — are incom­pre­hen­si­ble at this point.

Our rep­re­sen­ta­tives have repeat­ed­ly said they care about our com­mu­ni­ties while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly fund­ing aggres­sive immi­gra­tion enforce­ment and dead­ly immi­gra­tion jails.  Stop­ping the flow of mon­ey is crit­i­cal to stop­ping Trump’s anti-immi­grant agen­da. There is no oth­er humane option but to demand our elect­ed offi­cials #Clos­ethe­Camps and #Defund­Hate imme­di­ate­ly and with­out delay.

Con­tact:  sophia@saalt.org

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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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Immigration Advocates Warn of Physical and Mental Harm to Hunger Strikers in El Paso Detention Facility

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

March 15, 2019

EL PASO, TX — Immi­gra­tion advo­cates and med­ical experts are deeply con­cerned over the ongo­ing hunger strike at the El Paso Ser­vice Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter and the dire sit­u­a­tion fac­ing peo­ple held in indef­i­nite deten­tion, espe­cial­ly as their health dete­ri­o­rates.

The “El Paso 9” have been sub­ject­ed to bru­tal force-feed­ings, mis­treat­ment and retal­ia­to­ry actions by U.S. Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment (ICE) and pri­vate con­trac­tors fol­low­ing their hunger strike, which began in late Decem­ber 2018. At least two of the “El Paso 9” have entered the 11th week of their hunger strike.  

Of the group of men who were on hunger strike or sup­port­ing the hunger strike, two have been deport­ed, three have been trans­ferred to the Otero Coun­ty Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter in New Mex­i­co, and four remain detained at the El Paso Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter, two of whom are still on hunger strike and are in med­ical iso­la­tion.

Nathan Craig, a vol­un­teer with Advo­cate Vis­i­tors in Deten­tion, who recent­ly vis­it­ed one of the hunger strik­ers in El Paso, said, “At this point, hav­ing not eat­en since Decem­ber, he can bare­ly walk and hold up his head. In his frail state, think­ing and talk­ing are slow and labo­ri­ous. He must be afford­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to recu­per­ate out­side of deten­tion so that he can pre­pare for his mer­its hear­ing and cross-exam­i­na­tion.

Physi­cians for Human Rights (PHR), which has long argued that force-feed­ing against an individual’s wish­es is uneth­i­cal and inhu­mane, says pre­cau­tions must be tak­en to ensure those on hunger strike receive ade­quate med­ical atten­tion and accom­mo­da­tions. PHR also rec­om­mends that Con­gress fund alter­na­tives to deten­tion pro­gram­ming that rep­re­sent a long-term solu­tion to pre­vent human rights vio­la­tions doc­u­ment­ed in immi­gra­tion deten­tion. Below is an offi­cial state­ment by Physi­cians for Human Rights:

Hunger strik­ing is a non­vi­o­lent form of protest under­tak­en when oth­er means of express­ing griev­ances are unavail­able, and hunger strik­ers must be pro­tect­ed from any and all reprisals. Physi­cians for Human Rights calls for all pre­cau­tions to be tak­en to ensure that hunger strik­ers receive need­ed med­ical atten­tion, and that accom­mo­da­tions be made to ensure appro­pri­ate trans­port so that they are not injured. Not eat­ing may result in light­head­ed­ness, so wheel­chairs should be pro­vid­ed as need­ed.

“Exten­sive med­ical research shows that immi­gra­tion deten­tion is harm­ful and strong­ly cor­re­lat­ed with neg­a­tive men­tal health out­comes, while pro­longed or indef­i­nite deten­tion vio­lates the right to be free from tor­ture and oth­er cru­el, inhu­mane, or degrad­ing treat­ment.

“The U.S. immi­gra­tion deten­tion sys­tem has repeat­ed­ly demon­strat­ed a dan­ger­ous lack of account­abil­i­ty and trans­paren­cy, and the recent hunger strikes are just one more exam­ple illus­trat­ing this dire sit­u­a­tion. As a long-term solu­tion, PHR strong­ly rec­om­mends the use of alter­na­tives to deten­tion that are humane and cost-effec­tive and that have been proven to ensure com­pli­ance with immi­gra­tion enforce­ment.

In a sep­a­rate com­ment, Altaf Saa­di, MD, a neu­rol­o­gist at UCLA and a mem­ber of Physi­cians for Human Rights’ Asy­lum Net­work, said,

Pro­longed deten­tion caus­es sig­nif­i­cant med­ical harm to indi­vid­u­als due to both denial and delays in med­ical care, inad­e­quate staffing, puni­tive approach­es to men­tal health needs like the mis­use of iso­la­tion, and harm­ful con­di­tions of con­fine­ment more broad­ly like poor and over­crowd­ed liv­ing con­di­tions. The human toll of deten­tion is com­pound­ed for those already vul­ner­a­ble and suf­fer­ing from trau­ma based on per­se­cu­tion they have endured in their home coun­tries. We don’t want more patients join­ing the list of those whose deaths have been linked to sub­stan­dard care in deten­tion, nor do we want to see the last­ing impacts of deten­tion-relat­ed psy­cho­log­i­cal harm.”

ICE has threat­ened the hunger-strik­ing men with depor­ta­tion despite the dete­ri­o­ra­tion of their health.

Immi­gra­tion and civ­il rights groups are demand­ing the imme­di­ate release of the men and for them to be able to address their asy­lum cas­es out­side of deten­tion, as they should have been able to do from the begin­ning.

Lak­sh­mi Sri­daran, Direc­tor of Nation­al Pol­i­cy and Advo­ca­cy for South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) said, “These asy­lum seek­ers, like so many before them, resort­ed to a hunger strike to draw atten­tion to the litany of abus­es they face at the hands of ICE on top of the indef­i­nite delays in adju­di­cat­ing their asy­lum cas­es.  We demand the imme­di­ate release of all of the detained indi­vid­u­als so they can be cared for by their com­mu­ni­ty. And, we demand an imme­di­ate inves­ti­ga­tion into the civ­il rights vio­la­tions, retal­i­a­tion, and med­ical neg­li­gence at the El Paso Pro­cess­ing Cen­ter, a facil­i­ty that SAALT and our part­ners have been mon­i­tor­ing and lodg­ing com­plaints about over the last five years. We know the treat­ment of detained indi­vid­u­als in El Paso is a micro­cosm of con­di­tions across deten­tion facil­i­ties in this coun­try.”

Media con­tact: Sophia Qureshi, sophia@saalt.org, 202–997-4211

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Free­dom for Immi­grants 

Advo­cate Vis­i­tors with Immi­grants in Deten­tion (AVID), in the Chi­huahuan Desert

South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT)

Defend­ing Rights & Dis­sent

Nation­al Immi­gra­tion Project of the NLG

Detained Migrant Sol­i­dar­i­ty Com­mit­tee

Ruby Kaur -Kaur Law Pllc

La Resisten­cia

 

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.”

 

Between Deals and Decisions, SAALT Reaffirms the Need for Real, Clean Solutions on Immigration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan­u­ary 22, 2019

The Supreme Court’s deci­sion today to omit hear­ing the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals (DACA) case is wel­come news, as it keeps the pro­gram alive and allows cur­rent DACA recip­i­ents to con­tin­ue sub­mit­ting renew­al appli­ca­tions. While this is encour­ag­ing, the work ahead remains clear – we need a clean DREAM Act and per­ma­nent leg­isla­tive solu­tions that do not include harm­ful pro­vi­sions, as pro­posed by the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion last week­end.

The Administration’s immi­gra­tion “deal” from this week­end is no deal at all – it’s a sham. The Admin­is­tra­tion is claim­ing to rein­state two pro­grams – DACA and Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Sta­tus (TPS) — that the Admin­is­tra­tion itself made a deci­sion to evis­cer­ate last year. These so-called pro­tec­tions to TPS and DACA hold­ers are half baked at best and do lit­tle to actu­al­ly pro­tect com­mu­ni­ties. The “deal” leg­is­la­tion that the Sen­ate will like­ly intro­duce this week excludes entire com­mu­ni­ties. Any­one with TPS sta­tus from Nepal, Guinea, Sier­ra Leone, Sudan, South Sudan, Yemen, Soma­lia and Syr­ia would not be pro­tect­ed.  The bill only cov­ers a frac­tion of all DREAM­ers and does not pro­vide per­ma­nent pro­tec­tion from depor­ta­tion. Most alarm­ing­ly, it includes a $5.7 bil­lion dol­lar bor­der wall and more bloat­ed increas­es to deten­tion beds and bor­der patrol agents.

“This ‘deal’ offers no con­ces­sions, no solu­tions, and will fur­ther under­mine the rule of law. It will inten­si­fy mil­i­ta­riza­tion on the bor­der and expand deten­tion, while con­tin­u­ing to hurt refugees and asy­lum seek­ers, DACA recip­i­ents, and TPS hold­ers. There are at least 450,000 undoc­u­ment­ed peo­ple from India alone, at least 25,000 Indi­an and Pak­istani DACA recip­i­ents, and near­ly 15,000 thou­sand Nepalis with TPS sta­tus who will be direct­ly impact­ed by this leg­is­la­tion,” said Suman Raghu­nathan, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT).

South Asians, along with all immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties, deserve a real immi­gra­tion over­haul that serves every­one. Once this sham bill is intro­duced, we will sup­port our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers and part­ners to voice our oppo­si­tion.

CONTACT: Sophia Qureshi sophia@saalt.org

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.