In May 2018, SAAPRI attended the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations’ (NCSO) Annual Convening and Lobby Days led by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT). SAAPRI’s Executive Director, Dhara Puvar, and SAAPRI Fellow, Anil Methipara, joined representatives of over 30 different South Asian organizations across the nation in Washington, D.C. to push for immigration, hate crime, and racial profiling bills that significantly impact our communities. Dhara and Anil met with staff of Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL 9th District), and Representative Mike Quigley (IL 5th District).
The legislation and issues discussed included Congress’ inability to pass the DREAM Act, the cancellation of Temporary Protected Status for Nepal and other countries, family immigration, work authorization for H-4 visa holders, the NO HATE Act, the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act, and concerns surrounding the 2020 Census. SAAPRI urged our representatives’ offices to co-sponsor legislation they have not yet supported and emphasized the diverse needs of the South Asian community in Illinois.
On May 16th, 2018, SAAPRI joined Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment (PAVE) for Asian American Action Day in Springfield, Illinois. In addition to participating in a rally that amplified immigrant voices in the Capitol, we met with legislators and presented the 2018 PAVE Agenda, which includes a pro-immigrant state budget, the VOICES Act (SB 34), and the Anti-Registry Program Act (SB 3488). SAAPRI was part of a team that met with legislators about the VOICES Act, which combats immigrant domestic violence and trafficking survivors by mandating a standardized and timely process for local law enforcement to process the certifications survivors need for U and T visa applications. Our Illinois representatives in both D.C. and Springfield must support legislation that counts.