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The Sikh Coalition News
September 19, 2022
  • Sikh Coalition Continues to Fight for Sikh Migrants

    September 19, 2022 (Washington, DC) -- Since media reports of Sikh migrants having their dastaars seized and thrown away by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers emerged last month, the Sikh Coalition continues to fight against the mistreatment of Sikh migrants.

    Recently, the Sikh Coalition, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona (ACLU-AZ) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), led efforts to facilitate a series of meetings with government officials, subject matter experts, and other Sikh organizations. These meetings included a conversation with CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus on September 9 about concerns over the wrongful trashing of the Sikh articles of faith and other issues.

    The Sikh Coalition has also worked with the ACLU and ACLU-AZ to spearhead efforts to provide specific recommendations to CBP and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on how they can treat migrants’ articles of faith and other personal property more respectfully; you can learn more about that effort and read our latest letter here. The Sikh Coalition will continue to work with CBP leadership and hold them accountable for implementing solutions that will put an end to the disrespectful treatment of the Sikh articles of faith.

    “We are pleased that CBP recognized the need for interim guidance, but it does not adequately protect the rights of Sikhs or other religious migrants,” said Sim J. Singh Attariwala, Sikh Coalition Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager. “We need to see more comprehensive and clearer policies that protect all migrants from having to give up their personal property and limit CBP officers’ ability to avoid accountability--whether acting in good faith or not--on the basis of vague security exceptions.”

    As a reminder, more than 160 civil rights, immigration, religious, advocacy, and other organizations joined the Sikh Coalition, ACLU-AZ, and the ACLU in a sign-on letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas on this issue on August 22. Before that, the three organizations each sent letters of complaint to CBP in early August. The Sikh Coalition was also pleased to support a letter sent last month by Reps. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), and Judy Chu (D-CA) demanding transparency and accountability from CBP.

    The Sikh Coalition remains grateful to our allies at the ACLU and the ACLU-AZ, other partner organizations, and sevadaars working hard to address the needs of Sikh migrants. We will continue to serve as a resource to members of the press who keep reporting on this important issue, as well as continue to provide updates on this important work as we are able to share more details publicly. If you know of someone who has experienced discrimination or had their religious rights violated in the course of interactions with CBP officers, please reach out to our team at legal@sikhcoalition.org.

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

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Editing:2022.09.19 border patrol dastaars 3 Editing:2022.09.19 border patrol dastaars 3  

Editing:2022.09.19 border patrol dastaars 3 Editing:2022.09.19 border patrol dastaars 3