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HindustanTimes Fri,11 Jul 2014

South Asian groups urge Obama for immigration reform

IANS  Washington, November 08, 2012
First Published: 10:35 IST(8/11/2012) | Last Updated: 20:00 IST(8/11/2012)

Congratulating President Barack Obama on his re-election a coalition of 40 south asian organisations has urged him and the lawmakers to move swiftly and effectively towards enacting comprehensive immigration reform.

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 "We welcome President Obama into his second term with much hope for policy changes that will better the futures of all Americans," the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NSCO) said in a statement on Wednesday.

Urging Obama to take leadership on and set the tone for a range of policy issues, it asked the Congress to "prioritise civil rights and liberties, particularly eliminating enforcement practices such as racial and religious profiling and surveillance, and to buttress the administration's initiatives to end hate crimes."

"These issues are crucial to all Americans, including south asians," said the group led by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) offering to work "with the new administration and members of Congress to advance these policy measures over the next four years.

 United Sikhs, a sikh community organisation, said, "Obama's victory is a sign of continuation of civil rights journey and is symbolic for every oppressed in every imperialist country that began with freedom rides in the United States."

The group "intends to work closely with the Obama administration in protecting the civil and human Rights, improve on providing increased humanitarian aid during disasters and in the field of empowerment and education to immigrant communities," said Harpreet Singh, its regional director for advocacy and policy.

 The Indian National Overseas Congress(INOC) expressed confidence that "the warm relationship and the enduring partnership between US and India will continue to grow under the stewardship of President Obama."

 "The strategic relationship between our two democracies is stronger than ever and we hope to see that reaching even greater heights', said INOC president George Abraham.

 INOC also expressed "hope that US will not pursue protectionist policies in the future as India continues to open up its market through various reform measures such as FDI in multi-brand retail."  However New York State's first elected Indian-american sikh Mayor Harvinder "Harry" of Laurel Hollow, New York, a Republican, declined comment saying, "No comments. That should tell you how I feel."

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