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News & Press: Press Release


Monday, June 18, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Caila Comrie
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For Immediate Release, June 18, 2018




The South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) calls on the current administration to end their “zero tolerance” policy that is resulting in hundreds of families being ripped apart. The new policy, as explained by Attorney General Jeff Sessions presumes bad faith on the part of all people entering the United States without documentation, including families presenting themselves at the border seeking asylum.


“A policy that emphasizes the separation of children from parents as this one does is inhumane and inconsistent with American values,” said SABA President Rishi Bagga. “As a country that places emphasis on the family as the building block of society, tearing families apart goes against everything for which we stand.”


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now refers all unlawful border crossers to the U.S. Department of Justice for prosecution, providing the basis for separating children from their parents. The children are then classified as “unaccompanied alien minors” and remanded to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The ORR and public defenders in border states are finding themselves overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of cases that are now coming before them.


In practice, this “zero tolerance” policy is being implemented in a callous manner, with Border Patrol agents tricking and, in some cases, forcibly removing children from parents.  The American Medical Association believes these forced separations will “create negative health impacts that will last an individual’s entire lifespan.” According to DHS, 2,000 children have been separated from their parents since mid-April.


When paired with last week’s decision to dismantle asylum protections for the victims of gang and domestic violence, it appears that this administration is seeking to unilaterally implement restrictive immigration reform.


We encourage our members to contact their members of Congress in protest of this policy. There are also a number of organizations working to provide aid and legal assistance to those affected. Three non-profit organizations providing legal support are:

·         RAICES ( - raises money for bonds for immigrants to get released,

·         CILA ( – provides attorney and legal staff training on detention, and

·         KIND ( - represents migrant children.


SABA echoes the United Nations human rights office’s sentiments and urges the United States to immediately halt the administration’s practice of separating children from migrant families as this practice violates their rights and international law.


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 and Canada. SABA North America is a recognized forum for professional growth and advancement for South Asian attorneys in North America and seeks to protect the rights and liberties of the South Asian community across the continent. Learn more at


Aneesh Mehta 

Vice President of Public Relations

South Asian Bar Association of North America