For Immediate Release, December 12, 2017

Gurbir Grewal Named New Jersey Attorney General, Will Be 1st Sikh-American AG

The South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) congratulates Gurbir S. Grewal, Bergen County prosecutor on his nomination to be the next Attorney General of New Jersey. With his nomination by Governor-Elect Phil Murphy, Mr. Grewal will become the first Sikh-American state Attorney General in the country.

“The decision to appoint a visible minority as the chief law enforcement officer for New Jersey reflects the diversity of the state and of the US, and is especially important in a time where minorities and immigrants have often felt targeted by law enforcement,” said SABA President Rishi Bagga. “We applaud Governor-elect Murphy in picking a distinguished and qualified member of the South Asian and Sikh American legal community for this pivotal role.  We strongly support Mr. Grewal’s nomination as Attorney General and look forward to working with him on issues of national importance.”

“Gurbir has been an active member and supporter of SABA-NJ for years. We really applaud his accomplishments and are extremely proud to see him be chosen for this honor. It does show Governor-elect Murphy’s dedication to the South Asian community,” said SABA New Jersey (SABA-NJ) president Bhaveen Jani. “SABA-NJ’s goal is to support South Asian-American attorneys in their professional development, including landing influential positions in government, law firms and corporations throughout the state. Gurbir’s appointment is another step towards that goal and in furtherance of our mission,” added SABA-NJ President-Elect Sharmila Jaipersaud.

Mr. Grewal has spent most of his legal career in public service, where he is currently the Bergen County prosecutor. Working for most populous county in New Jersey, Grewal serves a community of almost one million with his [...]


For Immediate Release, December 5, 2017 


The South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) is disappointed with the United States Supreme Court’s ruling allowing the Trump Administration to enforce the Muslim ban while legal challenges proceed in lower courts. This decision allows for extreme restrictions on people attempting to visit or immigrate from six Muslim-majority countries. The restrictions on entries from North Korea and Venezuela were previously allowed.  

 Through statements made by President Trump, we know that these restrictions are tied to religion despite the inclusion of two countries without Muslim majorities. Casting suspicion on people simply based on their religion is shameful, and more importantly, contradicts the basic principles of our country. “SABA will continue to stand against these efforts to discriminate against an entire group of people based solely on prejudice,” said SABA President Rishi Bagga. “We hope that this 3rd version of the Muslim Ban will end as its predecessors did, and that the current administration will focus on security efforts based on facts and reason instead of fear and willful ignorance.” 

The challenges to the ban in the Fourth and Ninth Circuits will continue. It was the partial injunctions issued by those courts that were lifted yesterday. The Supreme Court has not made a decision on the merits of the ban itself. SABA is a party to the amicus briefs that have been filed by the Korematsu Center and including other affinity bars in opposition to every iteration of the Muslim Ban.   
SABA North America (formerly NASABA/North American South Asian Bar Association) is a voluntary bar organization and serves as an umbrella organization to 26 chapters in the United States [...]

AAPI Bars condemn racist flyer in Hoboken Mayoral Race

For Immediate Release, November 4, 2017

Diverse Groups of Attorneys and Law Students Condemn Racist Attack Ad Distributed in Hoboken, New Jersey

Asian Pacific American bars are deeply disturbed by the distribution of a second racist flyer targeting an Asian American candidate in New Jersey. The South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) and the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey (SABA-NJ) along with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ), the New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association (NJMLA), and the National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (NAPALSA) condemn the Hoboken flyers claiming that a turbaned Sikh-American mayoral candidate is a terrorist. “The Asian Pacific American legal community is disgusted by this racist attack that continues to promote a false association between religion and acts of terror. Associating a candidate, or anyone, with horrific criminal acts based solely on their appearance is racist and xenophobic,” said Pankit Doshi, NAPABA president.

This is the second time in less than a week that racist advertisements have attacked Asian-American candidates. “There is no place for this type of racism in our country, whose history is defined by the immigrant communities that have settled it. Our country’s diversity should be represented in our elected candidates. The candidate and voter intimidation in these flyers cannot be tolerated and should not discourage anyone from participating in the democratic process,” said SABA President Rishi Bagga.

As diverse bar associations, we will continue to stand up against racism and xenophobia in all its forms. This type of attack on diverse candidates seems to be on the upswing and cannot be allowed to become a part of the normal discourse.

“These actions do not represent most people [...]

By |November 4th, 2017|Blog, Legal News, Local Events, People, Press Release, U.S. News|Comments Off on AAPI Bars condemn racist flyer in Hoboken Mayoral Race|

SABA North America joins SABA-NJ in Condemning the Racist School Board Election Flyers circulated in New Jersey

For Immediate Release, November 2, 2017

SABA North America joins SABA-NJ in Condemning the Racist School Board Election Flyers circulated in New Jersey

The South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) and the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey (SABA-NJ) are deeply troubled and disheartened by the letters being mailed out in Edison, NJ. The letters call for the deportation of Edison School Board candidates Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel. The letter claims that “Chinese and Indians are taking over our town,” the letter goes on, “Enough is enough!”

“As our country becomes more diverse, diverse representation becomes imperative at every level of government,” said Rishi Bagga, SABA President. “Attempts to intimidate candidate or voters through calls to punish or deport someone simply because of their ethnic background are unacceptable and should not be tolerated.”

We strongly condemn these racist statements. We emphasize that there is no place for racism, particularly when it calls for the deportation of citizens of the United States, in our democracy. We recognize that these comments come from a place of fear and anxiety; the fear that minorities may succeed and prosper, anxiety over the inability to adapt to the new and ever-changing society in which we live, and desperation because our voices are being heard. “Let us assure our Indian and Chinese community, and all of our fellow New Jersey residents, that we will not tolerate racism and hate, and we want to change the conversation,” said Bhaveen Jani and Sharmila Jaipersaud of SABA-NJ. “Therefore, we invite the person(s) who sent these letters to come forward, meet with our leaders and become educated on just what it means to have Asian and South Asian members in our community.”

We remind everyone [...]

By |November 2nd, 2017|Blog, Local Events, Press Release, U.S. News|Comments Off on SABA North America joins SABA-NJ in Condemning the Racist School Board Election Flyers circulated in New Jersey|

SABA Opposes Third “Muslim Ban” Issued by Trump Administration

For Immediate Release, September 25, 2017 

SABA Opposes Third “Muslim Ban” Issued by Trump Administration 

The South Asian Bar Association of North America maintains its opposition to the series of Executive Orders by President Trump aimed at restricting immigration from a number of Muslim-majority countries. The Executive Order issued last night continues the onerous restrictions on six Muslim majority countries, and adds restrictions to North Korea and Venezuela under the auspice of national security. 

The Administration portrays these restrictions as less arbitrary than those that came before it; however, they have failed to provide the American public with any information supporting their position.  “The ban remains so expansive as to vilify the entire populations of several countries and continues to focus on countries primarily based on their religious majorities,” said SABA President Rishi Bagga.  “Furthermore, the Administration has made this ban, for all intents and purposes, permanent.” Additionally, the exception for people with a bona fide relationship in the United States will expire in mid-October, making this immigration ban even more restrictive than its two previous iterations.  

SABA calls on our elected representatives to demand greater transparency from the Administration for its decision to not only continue its travel ban but to expand it. Because the Order provides some detail about the process, but not the results of that process, it is difficult to view these immigration restrictions as actually based in national security concerns rather than as racially and politically motivated. The reasons why these countries have been chosen and how their status might change is unknown. SABA will continue to stand against these increasing attacks on the ability to immigrate to the United States.  

By |September 25th, 2017|Blog, immigration, Law, Legal News, Press Release, U.S. News|Comments Off on SABA Opposes Third “Muslim Ban” Issued by Trump Administration|

SABA Toronto Disappointed MAGA Judge Will Remain on Bench

Toronto, September 12, 2017 – The Hearing Panel of the Ontario Judicial Council issued its decision in the complaint against Justice Bernd Zabel, who wore a “Make America Great Again” hat while presiding. The South Asian Bar Association of Toronto (SABA Toronto) filed a complaint with the OJC demanding that Justice Zabel be removed from the bench. SABA Toronto is disappointed by the OJC’s decision, which suspends Justice Zabel instead of removing him.

Even though the Hearing Panel found that Justice Zabel’s conduct deserved censure, it chose not to remove him, which was the only acceptable outcome. Judges by virtue of their position are supposed to exercise proper judgement. Justice Zabel did not do so in this situation. The reprimand does little to restore the public confidence in the administration of justice. It is the equivalent to slap on the hand.

Notwithstanding the Hearing Panel’s finding to the contrary, the public in Hamilton cannot have confidence that Justice Zabel will be impartial. Muslim and South Asian lawyers and litigants, in particular, will always wonder if Justice Zabel’s rulings are informed by his appreciation for a President who believes they should be barred from Western society. The courts in Hamilton serve a diverse population and they deserve to have confidence in the judges that preside there.

“Justice Zabel chose to wear the symbol of an avowed racist and sexist while presiding over our public courtrooms, and did so because he thought it was funny” says Ranjan Agarwal, Past President. “Litigants and lawyers alike cannot appear before him without fearing that he sympathizes with the President’s view, and they cannot get and will not get a fair hearing from him. It is disappointing that the Hearing Panel didn’t see [...]

By |September 12th, 2017|Blog, Canadian News, Legal News, People|Comments Off on SABA Toronto Disappointed MAGA Judge Will Remain on Bench|

SABA-NC Contributes to Flood Relief in South Asia

The South Asian Bar Association of Northern California is deeply concerned for the victims of the tragic and widespread flooding occurring across multiple countries in South Asia and pledges its support.

Widespread flooding caused by an extraordinarily strong monsoon season has devastated communities across Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Nepal, killing over 1,000 people and impacting millions. Mumbai has experienced the worst flooding since 2005 and rural communities across the region have seen crops destroyed by the flooding and forced thousands to abandon their homes.

To help aid these communities as they struggle to rebuild, SABA-NC is donating $5000 to  Mercy Relief, a regional non-profit providing relief aid to flood victims. Please consider similarly donating to Mercy Relief or any other non-profit assisting victims.

By |September 7th, 2017|Blog, Good Works, Local Events|Comments Off on SABA-NC Contributes to Flood Relief in South Asia|

SABA Urges Congress to Protect DREAMERS as DACA Program Being Rescinded

For Immediate Release, September 5, 2017  

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has announced that the Trump Administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allowed certain undocumented children present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012, to obtain work permits and apply for Social Security numbers without fear of penalty.  

“SABA North America strongly opposes President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA. These young people, brought to the United States as children, have shown a desire to conform with the law, and are likely to be punished for doing so,” said President Rishi Bagga. “DREAMERS were brought to the U.S. by their parents in hopes of a better life. As children, they did not choose to break the law. Most of these young men and women have never returned to the countries of their birth, and many do not even speak the language of their native countries.  Rescinding DACA effectually takes away these young people’s right to live in the only country they have ever known. ”  

When the DACA program ends, the 800,000+ registrants who relied upon the federal government’s representations by coming out of the shadows and willingly shared their information with the federal government will be in danger of deportation. In the vast majority of cases, DACA recipients who are gainfully employed in a variety of professions, including as doctors, lawyers, and engineers, will be unable to work legally in the United States. This number includes over 10,000 South Asian DACA recipients. 

As a part of his announcement, President Trump said that the program would not end for six months, challenging Congress to create a program to protect DACA recipients, also known as DREAMERS. But whether that will happen is unknown despite [...]

By |September 5th, 2017|Blog, DACA, DREAMer, immigration, Law, Legal News, People, Press Release, U.S. News|Comments Off on SABA Urges Congress to Protect DREAMERS as DACA Program Being Rescinded|

Statement by SABA President on Arpaio Pardon

Statement by SABA President Rishi Bagga on the pardoning of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The South Asian Bar Association of North America is deeply concerned by President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. While the President has wide latitude to pardon whomever he chooses, this particular choice signals a disregard for both the rule of law and the American justice system and suggests racial profiling is an excusable act.

Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of court for ignoring a judge’s order – a crime that in itself disregards the rule of law.   He was ordered to stop detaining people solely because of suspicions that they might be undocumented, yet for years after the order, he continued to order his deputies to racially profile the residents of and visitors to Maricopa County.

By choosing to pardon Arpaio, President Trump signals his approval of Arpaio’s practices. Practices that kept thousands in fear based solely on the color of their skin.

Immigrants and minorities have often placed their faith in the court system to preserve their rights and protect themselves from illegal discrimination.  The decision to pardon Arpaio undermines that faith.

By |August 28th, 2017|Blog, Law, Legal News, Local Events, People, Press Release, U.S. News|Comments Off on Statement by SABA President on Arpaio Pardon|

SABA SoCal Supports Hate Crime Prosecution in Orange County Case

Statement of Support for Hate Crime Prosecution By Orange County District Attorney’s Office

For Immediate Release – August 4, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA –The South Asian Bar Association of Southern California (SABA-SC),  National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABA-NC), South Asian Bar Association of San Diego (SABA-SD), Muslim Bar Association of Southern California (MBASC), Iranian American Bar Association of Orange County (IABA-OC), Iranian American Bar Association of Los Angeles (IABA-LA), Asian Pacific American Bar Association (APABA), and Arab American Lawyers Association (AALA) commend the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for its decision to prosecute as a hate crime the recent attack on two Muslim women in Irvine, California.

On the evening of March 1, 2017, two (presently unidentified) Muslim women – one wearing a hijab, a head scarf or head covering commonly worn by Muslim women – were the victims of an attack while leaving a Target store in Irvine. Their assailant, 35-year-old Brandon Ricardo Pascual of Irvine, allegedly pulled up next to the women as they walked to their car and yelled an “anti-Muslim expletive.”  He reportedly proceeded to stop his car behind theirs, preventing them from leaving.  Shortly after Pascual drove off and the women were able to leave, and while they were stopped at a red light down the street, the women heard clanking noises against their car.  According to police, it was Pascual throwing coins at them through an open window.

On July 26, 2017, Irvine police arrested Pascual after they identified him using a combination of surveillance footage and partial license plate information recorded by the women.  The Orange County District Attorney’s Office charged Pascual with two felony counts of assault-hate crime with ability to cause injury.

We commend the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and Irvine police’s thorough investigation and fair treatment of victims, and encourage [...]

By |August 8th, 2017|Blog, Law, Local Events, People, Press Release, U.S. News|Comments Off on SABA SoCal Supports Hate Crime Prosecution in Orange County Case|