South-Asian body against US president Donald Trump’s immigration policies

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SAALT said Trump’s policies deeply affect the South Asian-American community, the most rapidly growing demographic group in the United States with a population of over 4.3 million. (AP)

A South-Asian rights group has opposed the Trump administration’s immigration plans, claiming that over 450,000 illegal Indian immigrants who are living in the US could be targeted by authorities. The group said the “undocumented” Indian population is the fourth such largest in the US after Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala. A day after the Department of Homeland Security issued two detailed memos to implement the executive orders issued by President Donald Trump on illegal immigrants, the South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) yesterday said that these memos further relegate South Asian and all immigrant communities to second-class citizenship, questioning America’s very place in the quintessential nation of immigrants.

“The scale of the President’s anti-immigrant policies is extreme, and the new administration appears hell-bent on targeting and demonizing immigrant communities through orders that actively undermine safety and public trust in law enforcement,” said Suman Raghunathan, executive director of SAALT.

“Short-circuiting due process is not a crackdown on crime, but a crackdown on rights and our very founding values as a nation, and these measures must be opposed by all communities of color,” Raghunathan said.

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SAALT said Trump’s policies deeply affect the South Asian-American community, the most rapidly growing demographic group in the United States with a population of over 4.3 million.

“India is the country of origin with the greatest increase in unauthorised immigrants to the United States with a 914 percent increase since 1990,” it claimed.

“Currently there are 450,000 undocumented Indian-Americans in the US alone, making India the fourth-highest sending country for undocumented immigrants after Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala,” it added.

The group alleged that the president’s draconian policies will force vulnerable communities to turn inward based upon their fear of profiling and deportation at the hands of the authorities.

“Overall public safety will likely plunge as a result, as entire communities continue to lose trust in the very law enforcement professionals tasked with keeping them safe.

“As such, public safety does not increase, but instead cripples under the weight of these short-sighted anti-immigrant policies,” SAALT said.

According to SAALT, the new policies of the Trump Administration massively expand and accelerate detentions and deportations, trample upon due process by in many cases removing the requirement for hearings and convictions prior to deportation.

It also deputises local law enforcement to serve as immigration enforcement authorities, and increase the profiling and targeting of immigrant communities already under siege in the wake of recent and controversial executive orders released by this administration, the group said.

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