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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Remembering Oak Creek and all Survivors of Hate Violence

August 5, 2019 

On this day exact­ly sev­en years ago, a known white suprema­cist opened fire with a 9 mil­lime­ter semi­au­to­mat­ic hand­gun in the Oak Creek, WI gur­d­wara, and killed six peo­ple. We are still mourn­ing the dev­as­tat­ing impact of this vio­lence today. Just this week­end, white male shoot­ers claimed 31 lives in El Paso, TX and Day­ton, OH. The El Paso shoot­er pub­lished an online man­i­festo inspired by the mass mur­der of Mus­lims in Christchurch, New Zealand and echo­ing the Trump Administration’s dai­ly onslaught of racist rhetoric and pol­i­cy.    

There were 2,009 hate crimes in 30 of the coun­try’s largest cities in 2018 — the high­est num­ber in the past decade. Last year marked the 5th con­sec­u­tive increase in hate crimes, the steep­est rise since 2015, accord­ing to police data ana­lyzed by the Cen­ter for the Study of Hate & Extrem­ism at Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty, San Bernardi­no.

State­ments and repeat­ed con­dem­na­tions are not enough.  White suprema­cist vio­lence is killing peo­ple of col­or and immi­grants. Any elect­ed offi­cial refus­ing to acknowl­edge this prob­lem and con­sid­er leg­is­la­tion that con­fronts this vio­lence is com­plic­it. We demand our elect­ed offi­cials and law enforce­ment agen­cies track the threat of orga­nized white suprema­cy as a sys­temic issue and that they address the root caus­es of hate vio­lence. We refuse to view these as iso­lat­ed inci­dents and will con­tin­ue work­ing to dis­man­tle all sys­tems that per­pet­u­ate this vio­lence, fueled by the ille­git­i­mate white suprema­cist claim to our nation’s stolen land.

We send love to our Sikh fam­i­ly and all sur­vivors of hate on this extreme­ly dif­fi­cult day and for­ti­fy our com­mit­ment to “Char­di Kala” as we fight for jus­tice.

Here’s what you can do today to sup­port sur­vivors of hate: 

*Donate to help sur­vivors and fam­i­lies of vic­tims. The El Paso Com­mu­ni­ty Foun­da­tion is accept­ing dona­tions here.

*Offer sup­port local­ly in El Paso here.

*Con­nect with orga­ni­za­tions like Hope Bor­der Insti­tute (@HopeBorder) and NM Comu­nidades en Acción y de Fé (@OrganizeNM) who are offer­ing resources and orga­niz­ing vig­ils for sur­vivors who can­not seek med­ical treat­ment due to fear of being tar­get­ed by immi­gra­tion author­i­ties. 

* Write a let­ter to the edi­tor or essay in your local news­pa­per about ongo­ing hate vio­lence and how it affects us all

* Send a mes­sage of sup­port to the Oak Creek Gur­d­wara

* Con­tact your pub­lic offi­cial and ask them to sup­port the Khalid Jabara & Heather Hey­er NO HATE ACT

#ElPa­soStrong #Remem­berOakCreek

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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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

 

AAPIs say, “Immigrants and Refugees Deserve Better than a Harmful Bill and a Fake National Emergency”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 15, 2019

Wash­ing­ton, DC — The South­east Asia Resource Action Cen­ter (SEARAC), Nation­al Kore­an Amer­i­can Ser­vice & Edu­ca­tion Con­sor­tium (NAKASEC), and South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT) are grave­ly con­cerned by the steps tak­en last night by the Unit­ed States Con­gress and the pres­i­dent.

First, Asian Amer­i­can Pacif­ic Islander (AAPI) immi­grant fam­i­lies are deeply dis­ap­point­ed with the pas­sage of the Con­sol­i­dat­ed Appro­pri­a­tions Act of 2019 in both the House and Sen­ate yes­ter­day.

We under­stand the immense pres­sure that nego­tia­tors were under to pre­vent anoth­er gov­ern­ment shut­down. We sim­i­lar­ly need to keep our gov­ern­ment oper­at­ing. Nev­er­the­less, our orga­ni­za­tions are alarmed at the inclu­sion of $1.375 bil­lion for a phys­i­cal bar­ri­er (a total of 55 miles), an 11% increase in fund­ing for 45,274 Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment (ICE) deten­tion beds, and more enforce­ment agents. AAPI com­mu­ni­ties have made clear that any bill includ­ing any of these mea­sures is unac­cept­able. A full list of mea­sures that AAPI com­mu­ni­ties will not stand for can be found in this let­ter to con­gres­sion­al lead­ers.

Both the bor­der wall and the pres­ence of ICE are sources of ter­ror for all immi­grant com­mu­ni­ties. The wall is a sym­bol of hate for any immi­grant liv­ing with­in and out­side of the Unit­ed States, and it directs bil­lions of tax­pay­er dol­lars to sep­a­rat­ing fam­i­lies. Fur­ther­more, the bill does not place a lim­it on the num­ber of ICE deten­tion beds nor does it restrict the author­i­ty of the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty from trans­fer­ring or repro­gram­ming fund­ing inter­nal­ly, which enables ICE to con­tin­ue expand­ing immi­grant incar­cer­a­tion and depor­ta­tion at will.

Sec­ond, Pres­i­dent Trump intends to declare a “nation­al emer­gency” at the bor­der in order to jus­ti­fy the need for his bor­der wall. Make no mis­take, there is no nation­al emer­gency hap­pen­ing at the bor­der. Rather, there is a human­i­tar­i­an cri­sis hap­pen­ing at the bor­der, and it is a cri­sis that Pres­i­dent Trump and his Admin­is­tra­tion caused in its entire­ty. The president’s inten­tion to declare a “nation­al emer­gency” is a uni­lat­er­al rebuke of our demo­c­ra­t­ic process dri­ven by an irra­tional desire to fund an anti-immi­grant unnec­es­sary, and unpop­u­lar bor­der wall after Con­gress would not approve the $5.7 bil­lion the pres­i­dent ini­tial­ly demand­ed. Two-thirds of Amer­i­cans do not sup­port a nation­al emer­gency.

Suman Raghu­nathan, exec­u­tive direc­tor of South Asian Amer­i­cans Lead­ing Togeth­er (SAALT), said:

“In just the last 10 days we’ve been hear­ing first­hand about the cru­el treat­ment towards nine South Asian men cur­rent­ly on hunger strike in a deten­tion facil­i­ty in El Paso. Despite their asy­lum requests, they’ve been sub­ject to vio­lent force-feed­ing, soli­tary con­fine­ment, and con­stant threats of depor­ta­tion.  What’s par­tic­u­lar­ly dev­as­tat­ing is that we’ve seen sim­i­lar treat­ment occur pre­vi­ous­ly in this same facil­i­ty and we have received accounts of abuse of detainees in sev­er­al facil­i­ties across the coun­try. This bill does noth­ing to address the sys­temic issues with our deten­tion sys­tem, and only serves to per­pet­u­ate abu­sive sit­u­a­tions like the ones we are wit­ness­ing now.”

Jonathan Paik, direc­tor of the Kore­an Resource Cen­ter, a NAKASEC affil­i­ate, stat­ed: “This is a reck­less move and endan­gers the future of our coun­try. Our democ­ra­cy is in incred­i­ble dan­ger- this is the true nation­al emer­gency. We call on all our fel­low Amer­i­cans to resist these abus­es of pow­er and reclaim our democ­ra­cy!”

Quyen Dinh, exec­u­tive direc­tor of SEARAC, expressed:

“The South­east Asian Amer­i­can refugee com­mu­ni­ty has been dev­as­tat­ed by the expan­sion of our deten­tion and depor­ta­tion sys­tem, and our fam­i­lies con­tin­ue to be torn apart at unprece­dent­ed rates. Our orga­ni­za­tions under­stand that this is a dif­fi­cult posi­tion for our pol­i­cy­mak­ers to be in, and none of them should be forced to make this choice. But our com­mu­ni­ties elect­ed our pol­i­cy­mak­ers to rep­re­sent our inter­ests, and Asian Amer­i­cans have declared in no uncer­tain terms that we oppose the pas­sage of this bill and the president’s uncon­sti­tu­tion­al and false­ly jus­ti­fied nation­al emer­gency. We remain vig­i­lant and com­mit­ted to work­ing with our Con­gres­sion­al part­ners to pro­tect the rights of our refugees and immi­grants.”

 

Con­tact: Sophia Qureshi | sophia@saalt.org | 202–997-4211