SAALT Welcomes Change in Congressional Leadership

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) joins our nation in celebrating a sea change of leadership in the House of Representatives and welcomes the prospect of significant policy changes to reflect the needs and priorities of our communities.

South Asian Americans, alongside immigrant and communities of color across the country, made their voices heard last night. The message is clear - the future we want is one that preserves dignity and inclusion for all. Voters chose to reject incumbents and candidates running on anti-immigrant platforms in California, Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania. However, our work begins today to ensure every elected official commits to safeguarding the rights of all Americans, including the over five million South Asians living in the U.S. We insist on accountability and strong, principled leadership for our communities.

South Asian Americans reaffirmed their role as constituents in pivotal Congressional districts. In several of the top 20 Congressional districts with the highest South Asian populations we saw unprecedented shifts – from the flip in Virginia’s 10th district where Democrat Jennifer Wexton defeated incumbent Barbara Comstock; to the election of Democrat Haley Stevens in Michigan’s 11th district, which voted for candidate Trump by a narrow margin in 2016; to Georgia’s 6th district in metro Atlanta that’s so close it hasn’t yet been called.

It was also a night of firsts in notable places. In Michigan, a state with thriving and powerful Arab American communities, Rashida Tlaib became the first Palestinian American woman elected to Congress. She joins Ilhan Omar, the nation’s first Somali American elected to the House, from Minnesota. Together they are the nation’s first Muslim women elected to Congress. Finally, Sharice Davids became one of the nation’s first Native American Members of Congress, and will represent Kansas’ 3rd district, the site of Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s murder at the hands of a white supremacist.

Our Midterm Election Voter Guide emphasized the importance of candidate positions on Civil Rights, Immigration, Hate Violence, and Census 2020. We ask you now to join SAALT in this next phase of holding our newly elected officials accountable to advancing and sustaining immigrant and civil rights by unequivocally rejecting an unconstitutional proposal on birthright citizenship and instead passing a clean DREAM Act; taking up the charge of confronting white supremacist hate violence targeting all of our communities; and eliminating the possibility of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

We will continue working with you to bridge grassroots power and priorities into a policy agenda. We remain committed to keeping our communities’ priorities at the forefront of those who aspire to represent us.

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