Washington, DC – On September 7, 2006, staff members and volunteers of South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow (SAALT) attended a rally in support of immigrant rights before the U.S. Capitol. Carrying signs with messages stating “South Asians support immigrant rights” and “Asian Americans support equal rights”, SAALT stood in solidarity with tens of thousands of African, Asian and Latino immigrants and immigrant rights advocates calling for Congress to ensure fair and just comprehensive immigration reform.
Priya Murthy, a SAALT member from Baltimore, said, “I participated to show Congress and America that, along with other immigrant groups, South Asians have a stake in the current immigration debate. Many within our community are impacted daily by unfair immigration laws and we must stand up and raise our voices for justice.”
As part of the rally, Deepa Iyer, Executive Director of SAALT, stood with fellow members of the Detention Watch Network (DWN), who spoke about the devastating effects that detention and deportation has had on immigrant families here in the United States. Since 9/11, South Asians have been increasingly impacted by the government’s harsh detention and deportation measures
Advocating for fair and just comprehensive immigration reform has been a vital component of SAALT’s work over the past year. Many of SAALT’s community education materials, as well as a joint statement from South Asian organizations on immigration reform, are now available on our website at www.saalt.org.
“Most people, both within and outside of our community, assume that comprehensive immigration reform is not an important issue to South Asians. That is simply not true. There are many working-class South Asians who are being exploited and should be guaranteed worker protections. Undocumented South Asians, including between 280,000 to 400,000 Indians, who have been forced to live in the shadows out of fear of detention and deportation need to be given the opportunity to legalize. And all South Asians with family abroad would benefit from reducing the visa backlog. With this new community education piece, the community and public can understand why we need comprehensive reform,” said Deepa Iyer.
SAALT, along with many other immigrant rights groups, continues to demand that Congress fix the broken and unjust immigration system by ensuring civil liberties and human rights, repealing inhumane deportation laws, and recognizing the invaluable contributions that immigrants make to American society.