Mentally Ill Man with Open Case, Deported back to India 2 days After Obama Inaugurated, is Now Missing

This case came to our attention through Dimple Rana at Deported Diaspora. In a tragic turn of event, Harvey Sachdev, who has lived in the United States for more than 40 years, was deported to India even though his case is still open on appeal. Unfortunately, Sachdev suffers from schizophrenia and has been missing since his arrival in New Delhi. Read the press release about Sachdev’s case below.

Want to do something to to demand human rights for immigrants who are in detention and who regularly face due process violations? Take a minute to sign this petition to President Obama encouraging him to consider these violations as he staffs and restructures the Department of Homeland Security (the Executive agency that oversees many key operations including Immigration and Customs Enforcement) here <http://www.rightsworkinggroup.org/?q=DHSPetition>

PRESS RELEASE:
Mentally Ill Man with Open Case, Deported 2 days After Obama Inaugurated, is Now Missing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

For more information, contact:
Neena Sachdev, nks29@cox.net
Greg Pleasants, JD/MSW, (213) 389-2077, ext. 19, gpleasants@mhas-la.org
Dimple Rana, (781) 521-4544, dimple.scorpio@gmail.com

Washington DC Area Family of Mentally Ill Man Fears for His Life as He is Missing in India Following Deportation
ICE executes deportation of schizophrenic man on January 22nd, despite his case still being under review, that he is the son, brother and father of U.S. citizens and that his deportation could result in his death.

Washington D.C.  –  January 28, 2009 – The Sachdev family is living a nightmare as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deported their family member, Harvey Sachdev, to India on January 22nd. Harvey was a resident of the United States for nearly 40 years, and is diagnosed with schizophrenia. Harvey is a son, a brother and a father of U.S. citizens. His case is still open on appeal before the Fourth Circuit court. Nevertheless ICE deported him to India on January 22nd, 2009.

The trauma of Harvey’s prolonged detention and recent deportation made him highly unstable. He is now missing in New Delhi, India, a city of 11 million people. It is an unfamiliar city to him, where he has no family and no access to medication. According to his brother and sisters, “Our brother’s deportation is likely a death sentence for him, and we also fear our mother’s life. The stress and the worry has put her life in peril.”

Having pushed his deportation date back several times, ICE initially notified the family of the scheduled deportation, but failed to confirm it, so necessary arrangements could be made in India. After repeated calls on the day of his deportation, ICE only told the family he was no longer in detention. The family also repeatedly attempted to get confirmation from the India Consulate Offices and Embassy, which had to issue travel documents, but received no information.

Harvey came to the U.S. with his parents at the age of twelve. He was valedictorian of his high school and earned a scholarship to college. Tragically, in his late teens he developed schizophrenia and has battled mental illness for all of his adult life.

Due to his mental illness, he was convicted of inappropriate and aberrant but non-violent crimes. The most serious was indecent exposure, but he was not guilty of any physical contact with any person, nor of any violence. There is no indication that any court thought that the punishment for his crimes should result in deportation to a country that he can’t remember, where he has no friends or family or any connection whatsoever.

His parents and his family are U.S. citizens. Two of his family members are serving in the military, with one completing two tours of duty in Iraq. He married a U.S. citizen and has a U.S. citizen daughter who is now twenty-two years old.

Mr. Sachdev is mentally ill and requires care, which his family is able and willing to provide. He has no one in India and does not have the ability to survive on his own.

Greg Pleasants, JD/MSW, an Equal Justice Works Fellow and Staff Attorney at Mental Health Advocacy Services, Inc. states that “People with mental and developmental disabilities who are deported can also face a grave risk of harassment and even persecution in their home countries – harassment and persecution based solely on their disabilities.”

“Without family or medical support, deportation can become a death sentence. Suicide and attempted suicide are not uncommon among deported people with mental illnesses. Access to medicine can be limited and people are often deported without any information on their medical background.  Deportation of the mentally ill is cruel and unusual punishment,” says Dimple Rana of Deported Diaspora, an organization working with people deported from the U.S.

For more information, contact:
Neena Sachdev – Harvey Sachdev’s sister, nks29@cox.net
Greg Pleasants, JD/MSW – Equal Justice Works Fellow and Staff Attorney at Mental Health Advocacy Services, Inc. (213) 389-2077 ext. 19, gpleasants@mhas-la.org
Dimple Rana, Co-Founder and Director, Deported Diaspora, (781) 521-4544, dimple.scorpio@gmail.com

SAALT E.D. Deepa Iyer on “Uprisings” Radio Show about South Asia

Listen to this episode of Pacifica Radio show “Uprisings” centered around South Asia featuring SAALT Executive Director, Deepa Iyer, along with fellow guests, Tayyab Mahmud and Vijay Prashad. They discuss topics from the model minority myth to post-9/11 bias and discrimination to the political identities of South Asians in America.

Listen to the whole episode at: http://www.archive.org/download/DailyDigest020409/2009_02_04_uprising.MP3

SAALT Special Reception Takes DC by Storm

Staff and Board at SAALT Special Reception

The SAALT Inauguration Special Reception was a great success this Inauguration Weekend in Washington, DC. More than 200 people gathered at K&L Gates, a stones throw from the White House, to mingle and connect with one another, as well as bid on silent auction items and enjoy food and drink. Check out pictures from the event at the SAALT Flickr here.

See the whole album at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/saalt/sets/72157612864880146/

Staff and Board at SAALT Special Reception

SAALT E.D., Deepa Iyer, profiled in Takoma Voice

Check out this profile of SAALT’s own Executive Director (and proud Takoma Park resident) Deepa Iyer published in the Takoma Voice. The article was written by Pareesha Narag, a student at the University of Maryland and a past student of Deepa’s.

Check out the full article here: http://www.silverspringvoice.com/archives/pdfs/2008/1208pdfs/023_mn_dec08.pdf

SAALT briefing on South Asians in New Jersey covered in the New Jersey Star-Ledger

Check out a great article from the New Jersey Star Ledger about the October 1st briefing on the South Asian community in New Jersey. The briefing included Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, Kris Kolluri. The panel featured speakers from the Sikh Coalition, Manavi and CAIR-NJ and was moderated by SAALT Policy Director, Priya Murthy. You can read the articles here <http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2008/10/njs_growing_south_asian_commun.html>

To read SAALT resources about the South Asian community in New Jersey, click here <http://www.saalt.org/pages/Local-Initiatives%3A-New-Jersey.html>

Watch a clip of Assemblyman Chivukula (the first South Asian to be elected to the New Jersey state Assembly) speaking about the New Jersey South Asian community. To his left is Kris Kolluri, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation and to his right is Mark Murphy from the Fund for New Jersey. Moderating the discussion is Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of SAALT.

SAALT Oct. briefing in Trenton, NJ

Welcome to SAALT Spot!

My name is Mou Khan, and I’m the Program Assistant at SAALT.  Today is an exciting day for us here at SAALT.  Not only are we unveiling three great new documents as part of our efforts around the upcoming elections (Elections ’08: A Roadmap; Elections ’08: How Do I Get Involved? and Policy Brief: Civil Rights and Immigrant Rights), but we are also rolling out our new website (bookmark www.saalt.org!) In addition to all of that, we are thrilled to welcome you to our new blog and we wanted to take this opportunity to go into some of the new aspects of our website.

  • This blog: We will be updating it regularly to keep you updated on what’s happening in the world of civil and immigrant rights, social justice issues, and, of course, the South Asian community. Click here to get the RSS feed so you will know whenever there is a new post. Also, we want to hear from you! Please post comments and, if you like what we post, link to it on your own blog. Better yet, guest-blog for us! If you’re interested in guest blogging, email saalt@saalt.org.
  • Documents:
Elections ’08: How Do I Get Involved? lists 10 ways everyone (citizens and noncitizens) can get engaged during this election cycle and make a difference!

Elections ’08: A Roadmap is a simple, easy-to-follow guide to the elections process and it can help you answer age-old questions like “what is a caucus?” or “what do superdelegates do?”

Policy Brief: Civil Rights and Immigrant Rights focuses on two policy issues being discussed this election year
  • New SAALT website: Our new website does not just have a new look (though we hope you are enjoying it!), but it has all the great information and resources you are used to getting from SAALT, just in a new, easier-to-access format. Take a look around, and keep an eye out for new features, like our new Elections ’08 page. And check back in often, we are going to be posting up new resources and events regularly.

Thanks for visiting and please come back often to see what’s new at the SAALT Spot!