Immigration Reform Impacts Sikh Community

May 16, 2006

Source: Sikh Coalition

On May 16, 2006 the Sikh Coalition reported, "Millions of immigrant rights supporters have taken to the streets over the past months calling for immigration reform. The proposed changes in immigration law will have a long lasting impact on tens of thousands of Sikhs and their families living in the United States... Terwinder Kaur, a mother of two American-born children, was deported after police officers assisting her with a flat tire discovered she was in the United States illegally... Manpreet, 12, and his younger sister, Gagan, 8, traveled to Punjab with their mother Terwinder Kaur who was deported by federal immigration authorities on December 20, 2004. Terwinder Kaur lived in the United States for 12 years before she was deported. She bought a home with her husband Ram Singh, paid taxes, ran a small business, and had American born children. None of that mattered on November 4, 2004. On that day her journey back to Punjab began with a flat tire in Brown Deer, Wisconsin. When the police officers who came to assist Terwinder that day checked immigration records, they discovered that she had an outstanding deportation order. They immediately arrested her and turned her over to federal immigration authorities. Terwinder had entered the U.S. illegally 14 years ago to get married. Though she attempted to stay in the country legally, her appeals ran out in March 2002 when federal officials ordered her to depart the United States voluntarily... On December 16, 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Sensenbrenner-King bill. The U.S. Senate must now determine whether it will adopt a bill similar to Sensenbrenner-King or a bill that would open a pathway to citizenship for America's 10 million undocumented immigrants... Any one of the varying bills the Senate is considering would have significant effect on the lives of tens of thousands of Sikhs living in the United States. Many of the Senate bills, including the McCain-Kennedy bill include a pathway to citizenship for most of the ten million undocumented immigrants in the United States and would allow guest workers to come to the United States to perform jobs that many of today's undocumented immigrants perform."