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The Sikh Coalition News
August 16, 2018
  • Immigration Know Your Rights & How You Can Help

    August 16, 2018 (New York, NY) - In response to the growing number of Sikhs being indefinitely detained at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities, the Sikh Coalition is collecting resources from organizations specializing in providing information and legal counsel to Sikhs as they navigate the complex and increasingly hostile immigration system.

    Click here for Know Your Rights materials and access to free legal aid resources.

    The Sikh Coalition is working with other civil rights organizations, outside immigration attorneys and Sikh community leaders to gain intelligence into the detention issues Sikhs are facing at ICE facilities across the country. While the Sikh Coalition does not provide direct legal services dealing with immigration-related issues, we remain deeply invested in making sure Sikh detainees have equal access to due process and that religious rights are protected.

    “We understand that many Sikh detainees - both adult and juveniles - are increasingly being denied bail as their immigration cases are fast-tracked through the courts,” said Sikh Coalition Legal Director Amrith Kaur. “This means Sikh detainees are indefinitely detained at remarkably high rates, while their hearings happen so quickly that they are not given adequate time to obtain counsel or put together a proper legal defense.”

    Over the past few months, the Sikh Coalition has provided support to detainees whose civil rights are being violated because they are not permitted to freely practice their religious beliefs while detained. Recently, this support included providing background expertise on Sikh religious observance as part of a court filing for the Oregon Federal Defender’s Office, which represents a number of Sikh detainees at the Sheridan Detention Center. This court filing, in part, led to the detention facility changing their policy and allowing Sikhs to maintain their dastaars.

    Additionally, the Sikh Coalition continues working with organizations and sangats to gather actionable data on Sikhs who are detained so that we can better identify needs and resources. This support includes making dastaars available at detention facilities and connecting detainees to Punjabi translators and lawyers, while providing oversight on humanitarian conditions within the detention facilities.

    If you or anybody you know is in need of immigration-related support, click here for Know Your Rights materials and access to free legal aid resources.

    WAYS YOU CAN HELP

    1) Punjabi interpreters are needed. If you would like to be listed as a potential volunteer interpreter for legal cases, please email community@sikhcoalition.org.

    2) Share Know Your Rights and legal resources with your gurdwara.

    3) If you are interested in being connected with Sikhs who are volunteering at detention centers, please email community@sikhcoalition.org and we will do our best to connect you.

    The Sikh Coalition recognizes that immigration is a long-standing and complex issue, and even though it is not one of our institutional areas of focus or expertise, we are here to make sure impacted community members get the guidance and resources required.

    As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.
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