US South Asian group seeks comprehensive immigration reform
Washington: Congratulating Barack Obama on his historic re-election, members of the National Coalition of South Asian Organisations (NCSO) asked the US President to now prioritise on a comprehensive immigration reform, which they said is the most important issue for the community.
"With a second term ahead, we urge President Obama to take leadership on and set the tone for a range of policy issues that matter to all Americans, including South Asians," the NCSO said as it congratulated Obama and new members of Congress on their victories.
"We call upon President Obama and members of the new Congress to move swiftly and effectively towards enacting comprehensive immigration reform, given that our community is predominantly foreign-born," the Coalition said.
It also called upon the Administration and Congress to prioritise civil rights and liberties, particularly eliminating enforcement practices such as racial and religious profiling and surveillance, and to buttress the Administration's initiatives to end hate crimes.
"We encourage policymakers to focus on issues around ensuring gender equity, preserving religious freedom, promoting health care access, growing our economy, and ensuring increased diversity within the Administration and on the federal bench.
"These issues are crucial to all Americans, including South Asians," NCSO said.
As one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States, the South Asian population has grown to at least 3.4 million people and well over one million eligible voters.
For the first time, the Boards of Elections in Cook County, Illinois; Hamtramck in Michigan, Los Angeles County in California; and Queens County in New York were required to provide language assistance in particular South Asian languages for voters.
"Unfortunately, our experiences at the polls also show that many South Asians around the country faced barriers when voting, including election officials' failure to fully comply with language assistance, misinformation regarding polling locations, and even voters being turned away in New York as a result of confusion related to Hurricane Sandy," NCSO said.