Hindu American Concerns on Immigration, Hate Crimes, Terrorism All Advanced in Congress This Week

Washington, DC (August 3, 2018) — In the past week the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) celebrated three important legislative milestones:

H.Res 257, Condemning hate crime and any other form of racism, religious or ethnic bias, discrimination, incitement to violence, or animus targeting a minority in the United States, introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA), was agreed to in the House of Representatives without objection on July 25th.

HAF for years has been actively addressing hate crimes against Hindus and other religious minorities in the United States. We thus supported H.Res 257 for acknowledging Hindus as a key constituency in the United States. With the most recent reports published by the FBI and Department of Justice indicating a doubling of hate crimes against Hindus in 2016, HAF will continue to work with lawmakers to ensure adequate resources are afforded to law enforcement entities nationwide to curb hate crimes and their motivations. Last year, its Senate companion, S.Res 118, introduced by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) was also passed with unanimous consent.

Provisions of H.R. 392 the Fairness for Skilled Immigrants Act; sponsored by Congressman Kevin Yoder (R-KS), were added to the recently approved Homeland Security Appropriations Authorization Act that was agreed to by voice vote (no opposition) in the in the Appropriations Committee.

HAF has actively advocated for the rights of H-1B visa holders — a majority of whom are from India — who have been stranded in the decades long backlog for green card processing. By removing the country cap quotas, H.R. 392 ensures that law-abiding skilled immigrant workers have a fair chance at securing a green card, needed for career mobility or to establish a business in the United States. The Homeland Security Appropriations Authorization now awaits passage by the House of Representatives and reconciliation with the Senate.

Provisions of H.R. 608 the Stop Arming Terrorists Act, introduced by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), were added to the National Defense Authorization Act.

HAF has reported on the persecution of Hindus and other religious minorities in South Asia, who have been victim of murders and terrorist attacks committed by Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and their affiliates acting in Pakistan and Bangladesh. HAF supported H.R. 608 because ensuring American weapons are not given to the parent entities of these organizations in the Middle East is in America’s interest for global security, and weakens the impact of their subsidiaries in South Asia, where they are creating strongholds that target Hindu minority communities.

“Whether it’s addressing hate crimes, reforming immigration, or confronting terrorism, HAF will always be on the front lines of advancing policies that better America,” said Jay Kansara, HAF Director of Government Relations.

“None of these bills fix every problem, nor do we expect them to. But they are certainly steps in the right direction. We applaud lawmakers across the aisle for engaging in reasoned debate and discussions on these issues to further engender pluralism as a core American principle.”