An influential South-Asian rights group has condemned President Donald Trump’s executive order to reshape US immigration enforcement policies saying that it will push the “nation further away from core American values of equality and freedom.”
“Today’s Executive Orders push the nation further away from core American values of equality and freedom, sow fear in communities of colour that already face increasing violence, hostility and attacks, and make us and the country less safe-all under the guise of national security,” said Suman Raghunathan, executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT).
“Walling off the country will not make us safer. We expect this will be the first in a series of attacks against the freedom of immigrants and communities of color in the United States,” she said.
South Asians are the most rapidly growing demographic group in the country, numbering over 4.3 million, with large growth in the undocumented South Asian population in recent years, including 450,000 Indian-Americans alone, SAALT said in a statement.
India is currently the fourth-highest sending country for undocumented immigrants after Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
“We also know there are significant undocumented immigrants originally from other South Asian countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and the Indo-Caribbean diaspora,” it said.
The executive order puts South Asian communities under further scrutiny and attack in the US, particularly through the alarming revival of the “Secure Communities” program, which deputises local authorities as immigration agents – a function numerous police chiefs have already spoken out against, it added.
The programme, previously abandoned due to concerns that it led to racial profiling and other abuse by law enforcement, authorises local police to check the immigration status ofevery individual arrested and to enforce immigration laws against the very communities they are sworn to protect.
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“This policy sends a clear message to immigrants that any contact with the police can lead to deportation, and only serves to spur fear in immigrant communities,” SAALT alleged.
SAALT said the Executive Orders also strip federal funding for “sanctuary cities” that refuse to arrest or detain undocumented immigrants living in the US Many of these places of refuge are located in California, New York, and Chicago: areas with massive South Asian Americanpopulations as well as immigrant communities writ large, it noted.