Administration Acts on Threat to Expand Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 31, 2020

Earlier today, just days after the third anniversary of the Muslim Ban, the Trump Administration struck again by adding six more countries to this racist policy. Nationals of Myanmar, Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan and Eritrea will be banned from seeking immigrant visas and nationals of Sudan and Tanzania will be banned from the diversity visa lottery. While it is expected that Nigerians will be most impacted in number, it is also painful to see that Muslim refugees fleeing genocide in Myanmar will be turned away by our nation just as Jewish refugees were decades ago during the Holocaust.

“One thing is clear, the Muslim Ban was this administration’s first family separation policy just days after the presidential inauguration in 2017, and it has served as the foundational policy for targeting communities of color ever since. Since then, we have seen attacks on DACA, TPS, diversity lottery, green cards, public benefits, refugees, asylum seekers, pregnant women, and more to institutionalize a white supremacist agenda,” said Lakshmi Sridaran, SAALT’s Interim Executive Director.

Since January of 2017, SAALT has documented an uptick in white supremacist hate violence aimed at Muslims and those racialized as Muslim, including 350 incidents of hate and 200 instances of xenophobic or Islamophobic rhetoric from media outlets and elected officials. SAALT’s 2018 report “Communities on Fire” found that Muslim women wearing hijab and individuals with darker skin color were more frequently the targets of the most violent acts of hate. This runs parallel to today’s expansion of the Muslim Ban targeting Muslim majority African nations.

Congress has the power to end all of this by passing the NO BAN Act. This legislation would immediately rescind the Muslim Ban and limit the executive branch’s authority to exercise such wide and unchecked discretion in issuing racist policies. Today’s expansion of the Muslim Ban underscores the need to pass a clean NO BAN Act with zero exceptions because even the smallest opening can unleash such widespread destruction.

Contact: sophia@saalt.org
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On Third Anniversary of Muslim Ban, Asian American Organizations Say Pass NO BAN Act

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Washington, DC – Three years ago today, the Trump Administration placed a travel ban on several Muslim-majority nations that has continued to separate and displace thousands of Muslim families in the United States. The impact of the ban has also prevented individuals from accessing medical treatment, along with educational and professional opportunities.

To counteract the Muslim Ban, Congresswoman Judy Chu introduced the NO BAN Act last year, which would end this ban and any other bans based on religous discrimination. This year, as the White House threatens to expand the Muslim Ban to include an additional seven countries to the list, we stand united in urging Congress to pass H.R. 2214 NO BAN Act to ensure the Trump Administration’s agenda of discrimination can go no further.

Becky Belcore, Director of NAKASEC, said:

To deny entry into the United States based on religious affiliation or racial identity is racist and discriminatory. Trump’s first iteration of the Muslim Ban singularly targeted Muslim majority countries. This rumored expansion strikes at mainly non-white majority countries. Trump’s institution of the Muslim Ban is couched in moral bankruptcy, Islamophobia, and White Supremacy. We as a society and community must do better. We must reject these racist, anti-Muslim policies and ensure that such bans can never exist by passing the NO BAN Act!

Lakshmi Sridaran, Interim Executive Director of SAALT, said:

Institutionalized racism like the Muslim Ban has not only directly impacted thousands of Muslims whose lives were torn apart because of this racist ban, but it has emboldened white supremacists, sanctioning their violence aimed at black and brown communities. Since the Muslim Ban was announced, we have tracked at least 350 incidents of hate violence targeting Muslims and those racialized as Muslims, and 200 instances of xenophobic and/or Islamophobic rhetoric from media and elected officials. As this Administration threatens to expand the destructive Muslim Ban and issue additional bans on pregnant women and immigrants without health insurance, we must stop this from going any further by demanding Congress pass the NO BAN Act immediately.

Quyen Dinh, executive director of the SEARAC, said:

Southeast Asian American communities remain steadfast in our support of Muslim American communities and continue to denounce the Muslim Ban. We must protect the integrity of our immigration system by fighting against discrimination and intolerence with equity and justice. We stand with the Asian American and immigrant rights community by calling on Congress to pass the NO BAN Act to prevent further biases in our laws and ensure that communities across the country can continue to reunite with their loved ones.”

Contacts
Sam Yu, NAKASEC
syu@nakasec.org / 213-703-0992

Sophia Qureshi, SAALT
sophia@saalt.com / 202-997-4211

Elaine Sanchez Wilson, SEARAC
elaine@searac.org / 202-601-2970

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SAALT Statement on 18th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 11, 2019 

Today, 18 years after September 11, 2001, we mourn the lives lost that day, and the thousands who were and continue to be violently targeted in the ensuing “War on Terror.”

Just four days after 9/11, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh business owner, was planting flowers outside of his gas station in Mesa, Arizona when he was shot and killed.  We later learned that his shooter had reportedly told a waitress at Applebees “I’m going to go out and shoot some towel heads,” and “We should kill their children, too, because they’ll grow up to be like their parents.” This was the first of 645 incidents of violent backlash aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab Americans in just that first week after 9/11.

Over the last two decades, the federal government has enacted policies repeatedly justifying the racial profiling of South Asian, Muslim, and Arab American communities and those racialized as such. This includes the very creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, Countering Violent Extremism, and the Muslim Ban to name a few.  These state sanctioned policies were historically perfected on the backs of other communities of color, and we cannot separate them from the continued violence our communities face from organized white supremacist action. 

Earlier this year, a white supremacist killed 51 people at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. Just last month, a white supremacist shot and killed 22 people in a Walmart shopping center in El Paso, Texas. SAALT has documented over 500 acts of hate violence targeting our communities and over 270 instances of xenophobic political rhetoric since November 2016 alone.

Despite the parallel efforts to ban, deport, criminalize, and target our communities with violence, we still have opportunities to reclaim our power:

  • Demand that your Member of Congress REJECT the creation of NEW domestic terrorism charges to fight white supremacy. This would only serve to further harm communities of color who have always been the targets of such policies.  
  • Join the fight to repeal the Muslim Ban by supporting the No Muslim Ban Ever campaign and DEMAND Congress to pass the NO BAN Act. Stay tuned for more information on the September 24th Congressional hearing on the Muslim Ban.
  • URGE your Member of Congress to support the Khalid Jabara Heather Heyer NO HATE Act, a comprehensive bill that promotes more accurate hate crimes data collection and would provide support for hate crime victims and their families. It is named in honor of two recent victims of hate crimes, whose deaths were omitted from the FBI hate crimes statistics.

Contact: sophia@saalt.org

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SAALT Marks One Year Anniversary of Supreme Court Ruling Upholding the Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 26, 2019

Washington, D.C.: On June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of upholding the Muslim Ban, making it both legal and indefinite. Since the inception of the Muslim Ban, countless families have been separated, individuals have been denied critical medical treatment, family members have been unable to attend weddings, funerals, births; and many more have had no choice but to turn down opportunities of the so-called American dream. 

There is no humanity in the Muslim Ban, despite the Trump Administration’s assertion that waivers are granted in cases of undue hardship. The waiver process itself is a sham.  Only 5.1 percent of waivers requested are granted. The process to obtain a waiver and the way in which waiver requests are evaluated, is extremely opaque, even after numerous FOIA requests on the paltry numbers of waivers that have been granted. 

The Muslim Ban is hurting familes both in the U.S. and abroad. It is a fundamental part of our nation’s violent environment where families are routinely separated at the U.S. Mexico border and white supremacist hate violence thrives. Just this month, the body of six-year old Gurupreet Kaur was found in the Arizona desert, one mile from the nearest port of entry, where she and her mother were part of a group of migrants seeking asylum. As SAALT documented in its Communities on Fire report, 1 out of every 5 perpetrators of hate violence incidents referenced President Trump, a Trump Administration policy or a Trump campaign slogan while committing the act of violence. Since November 2016, SAALT has documented over 484 incidents of hate violence and over 252 incidents of xenophobic rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern and Arab communites around the country. 

It’s increasingly clear that our communities cannot rely on the Executive or Judicial branches of our federal government to protect our rights. But, Congress has the power to terminate this racist and violent policy and has recently introduced legislation that would curtail executive authority for this and future bans.

Call your Member of Congress today (House: 202-225-3121, Senate: 202-224-3121)  and urge them to cosponsor the NO BAN Act (HR 2214/S1123), which will end this cruel policy and amend the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to ensure that no community can ever be targeted for their religion without accountability.

Contact: sophia@saalt.org

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13 year old in Critical Condition after Alleged Hate Crime in Northern California

May 3, 2019

Dear Friends, Community Members, and Allies,

On April 23rd, 13 year-old Dhriti was walking back home from the library with her father and brother, when a driver plowed into them and several other pedestrians at a busy crosswalk in Sunnyvale, California. Dhriti is in a coma after suffering major brain injuries and is currently on life support. At least seven others were injured in the crash, all of whom are in stable condition.

Shortly after the arraignment of the driver, Sunnyvale Police Chief Phan Ngo said, “Based on our investigation, new evidence shows that the defendant intentionally targeted the victims based on their race and his belief that they were of the Muslim faith.” The FBI and local law enforcement are both investigating the crash as a hate crime.

This tragic and disturbing news comes at a month when reported hate crimes have been at an all time high. In April alone, SAALT tracked 10 incidents of hate violence and 6 instances of xenophobic political rhetoric. Just days after the Sunnyvale crash, a shooter killed one woman and injured three others at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in San Diego. The same shooter is accused of setting fire to a mosque in Escondido, CA in March. Globally, the impact of hate violence in March and April has been shattering. Earlier this month, nearly 300 people were killed in churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. The horrific attack occurred just weeks after at least 50 people were killed by a white supremacist in New Zealand who named Trump as his “symbol of renewed white identity.”

SAALT’s “Communities on Fire” report draws a direct line between The Trump Administration’s anti-Muslim agenda and increasing attacks, revealing that of the 213 incidents of hate violence documented, one in five perpetrators invoked President Trump’s name, his administration’s policies, or his campaign slogans during attacks.

This hate survives—and in fact thrives—against a backdrop of racist policies from the Trump Administration like the Muslim Ban and family separation. This hate knows no borders, race, or creed. This hate is a threat to Muslims, and to those racialized as Muslims. Similar to the murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla in Olathe, Kansas who was profiled as Middle Eastern, Dhriti and her family were allegedly targeted because they were perceived as Muslim.

To Dhriti and her family, we stand with you, demanding justice and an end to policies and hate speech that have created an ecosystem for hate crimes to increase.

Donate to Dhriti’s healthcare costs at:  https://www.gofundme.com/helpdhriti

Sincerely,

South Asian Americans Leading Together

Alliance of South Asians Taking Action

Council of American Islamic Relations – San Francisco Bay Area 

South Asian Workers Center, Boston

Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus

Houston Coalition Against Hate

California Immigrant Policy Center

South Asian Youth Action

Narika: Changing the Way We Live Violence-Free

Sikh Family Center

 

Two years too long: Repeal the Muslim Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2019

Two years ago today, the Trump Administration announced its Muslim and refugee ban. From the ban to the militarization of the border to restrictions on asylum seekers, the Trump Administration’s racist policies are tearing families apart. These racist policies are enacted in an environment where xenophobic political rhetoric is all too frequent.

In SAALT’s 2018 report Communities on Fire, we found that one in five perpetrators of hate violence incidents referenced President Trump, a Trump policy, or a Trump campaign slogan. This data demonstrates a strong link between this administration’s anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric and hate violence. We have documented over 300 incidents of hate violence to date since November 2016 aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab Americans.

As we welcome a new Congress and as the government reopens, it is imperative that elected officials exercise their leadership to terminate the Muslim Ban and ensure it is never replicated. SAALT supports legislative solutions that will at the very least block funding to implement the Muslim Ban, but ideally limit executive authority to institute discriminatory bans in the future.

Two years of a Muslim Ban is two years too many.  This anniversary must be a call to action to Congress to use their power to end this example of state-sponsored discrimination and keep our communities and nation whole.

CONTACT: Sophia Qureshi, sophia@saalt.org