A letter to the editor

Following up on my post about Bobby Jindal being named Person of the Year by the India Abroad newspaper, a helpful anonymous source has emailed us a copy of the letter sent to the editor of India Abroad, expressing displeasure at their choice. What makes this story interesting is the list of signatories:

  • Anurima Bhargava — Staff Attorney, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund
  • Vanita Gupta — Staff Attorney, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, past winner of the Reebok Human Rights Award and India Abroad Publisher’s Special Award for Outstanding Achievement
  • Shyam Maskai — attorney in private practice, former President of the South Asian Bar Association of New York
  • Cyrus D. Mehta — leading immigration lawyer, TV commentator on immigration law issues, and member of the Executive Committee of the NYC Bar Association
  • Purvi Shah — Executive Director, Sakhi for South Asian Women

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p>Here is an excerpt of the full letter:

Dear Editor:

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p>We attended the function on December 9 where Congressman Bobby Jindal received The India Abroad Person of the Year 2005 award. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Jindal paid tribute to the achievements of the Indian-American community, especially its first generation immigrants who, like his parents, have sacrificed much to enable the next generation to fulfill their dreams.

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p>On December 16, a week after winning the award, Mr. Jindal voted in favor of The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, H.R. 4437, which if passed into law, would destroy immigrant families by creating new grounds of deportability and gutting immigrants’ due process rights.

28 thoughts on “A letter to the editor

  1. Pea- the link from the picture doesn’t work, but the link in the body of the post is good.

    Thanks for sharing this information, Abhi. It’s sad to think of the consequences of HR 4437 becoming law.

  2. Good good! I find it a tad annoying the way the media in India claims any prominent Indian in the west as one of their own without ever pausing to think about what they stand for, believe in etc. All that matters is “Hey s/he’s Indian” – PAROCHIAL!!!

  3. Thats weird. The first generation(Whom India Abroad cater to) are hailing Mr Jindal even though his acts go against them. While second generation(most signatory like Ms Gupta) are opposiing him even though what he is doing is just safeguarding America’s interests.

  4. All that matters is “Hey s/he’s Indian” – PAROCHIAL!!!

    Another hear hear!

    This particular case highlights Indians blindly lauding someone who could actually make life harder for Indians, but what’s even more common is people like those at India Abroad praising NRIs who couldn’t even point to India on a map, especially those in music.

  5. Interesting letter. It complains about the rights of illegal immigrants, who have entered the country “illegally” and are staying in the country “illegally”. They are, in essence, by the letter of the law, criminals

    Honestly, whose side are these guys on? It’s nice to bitch and groan, but what about solutions to reducing illegal immigration in the first place?

  6. Good good! I find it a tad annoying the way the media in India claims any prominent Indian in the west as one of their own without ever pausing to think about what they stand for, believe in etc. All that matters is “Hey s/he’s Indian” – PAROCHIAL!!!

    woo woo! Thank you! At least someone else sees Mr. Purple Fingers for what he really stands for. The desi mainstream media really need to take off their brown tinted glasses: “Oh cool! His last name is Jindal and he is famous in Gora land. Lets plant our collective media lips on his rear end.”

  7. Thats weird. The first generation(Whom India Abroad cater to) are hailing Mr Jindal even though his acts go against them. While second generation(most signatory like Ms Gupta) are opposiing him even though what he is doing is just safeguarding America’s interests.

    lol Oh the irony. These are some nefarious times we live in. However, is it officially law yet or is it still being processed?

  8. India Abroad praising NRIs

    a little unrelated – but who exactly is an NRI? At what point does someone become an NRI and are 2nd geners technically NRIs?

  9. Niraj – Actually, by the “letter of the law” most immigration status violations are not by definition “criminal.” They are civil violations of the immigration laws, but many of those violations actually can be legally rectified or are subject to relief or waiver in any number of circumstances.

    Regardless of all that, however, the “illegal” immigration problem in the United States is an artifact of having a broken immigration system that artificially sets legal immigration way too low. Think in terms of a speed limit that is set too low — sure, you would have a lot of lawbreakers if the speed limit on the interstate were 25 MPH, but that would say more about the problems with the state of the law than about the supposed lawbreakers themselves. Only a comprehensive approach to immigration reform — one that addresses enforcement, yes, but that also provides a path to citizenship, recognizes the economic need for immigration and creates legal opportunities for future flows of immigrants, reduces family immigration backlogs, and protects worker rights — will solve the problems with our broken immigration system in any lasting way.

    The myopic, enforcement-only approach that Jindal & Co. have endorsed is not a solution to anything — it’s just a campaign slogan, a sop thrown to the likes of Tom Tancredo, the guy who suggested after 9/11 that we bomb Mecca. And the particular bill in question here is larded with truly awful provisions. In a comment to Abhi’s original post, I noted some of the innocent activity that would be criminalized by this bill. As the letter to the editor goes on to note:

    Mr. Jindal did not consider the dangerous impact H.R. 4437 would have on immigrant communities, such as ours, before voting in its favor. Did Mr. Jindal not realize that this bill would criminalize the work of immigrant rights advocates — many of whom have appeared on the pages of India Abroad — who assist vulnerable community members?

    Notably, opposition to this enforcement-only approach has united groups that normally disagree on many things — from organized labor to the business community, from civil rights groups to conservatives like Tamar Jacoby and Grover Norquist.

    (More Original Name: the bill hasn’t yet passed the Senate and is therefore not yet law. But people who support comprehensive reform need to push their senators to make sure they don’t cave in and acquiesce to this bill.)

  10. NRI = loosely a person of Indian ancestory who does not live in India (permanently or temporarily).

    I think this term is now being replaced by PIO (Person of Indian Origin). If you went to Indian Embassy website, they have more formal definitions for NRI, PIO for business purpose.

    I was having a dinner with a LSU professor (She is Chinese-American and a teacher of mine) a few weeks ago, we talked about Bobby Jindal for a while. We also talked about common friends whose sons and daughters knew Bobby Jindal growing up. To sum our conversation – “Bobby Jindal is an ultimate carpetbagger” – He will do anything to be on the side of the prevalent wind with only opportunism in mind. Oh another thing, he is expert of nothing since he never hangs around a job more than 2 years (Kinsey, Louisiana Health Department, Universiy of Louisiana University system, etc).

    I think he will never ever take a stand in life that will put him in minority (in the complete sense of the word) – be it immigrant issue or anything. My older teacher thought that Bobby Jindal has not really done anything concrete for Hurricane Katrina relief – He is just doing token wimping – no bold stances – lest his masters become angry.

    Last November, people in Delhi were celebrating like they would for their daughter’s wedding when Bobby Jindal won. Crazy stuff……..I was in Delhi and found it very hilarious.

  11. Oh Kush T Indians are just happy that someone ‘made it’ in a pretty hard world. Don’t see the Chinese community getting upset when anyone from their lot is successful. No matter what s/he did.

  12. lakshmishakti,

    “Don’t see the Chinese community getting upset when anyone from their lot is successful”

    I have to disagree – We also talked about Chinese-American policy wonks too (the ones we totally disagreed) and critiicized them too. I do not think we should give anyone a “blank check” – that is very, very bad. I agreed on your comments a few days only in a broad sense – However, if you look carefully there is hell of lot of debate and disagreements within other minorities too – Jewish, Chinese-American, etc.

    I can agree on giving special place to people like Chandrashekar, Hargobind Khurana, Kalpana Chawla – but a politician – no, unless he or she does something concrete.

  13. Indians don’t need to back up Jindal because Jindal has not done much for the issues that concern the Indians living in the U.S.

  14. Immigrants are the canaries of a society. Any society, any place, any time. How they are treated is a strong leading indicator of the future political climate. They are politically and socially in a weak position. When they are welcomed, there’s prosperity ahead. When they’re victimized, there’s harsh times ahead.

    this is not about illegal immigration. The people behind this hate all immigrants. There’s xenophobia and license for harsh, brutal force in this bill. For f*** sake, how many more quasi-fascist acts will be passed under the name of “making America safer”? And this bill is not going to make America safer. Only simple people will be victimized. Not a single terrorist will be caught. Even if he/she was, is it worth throwing away our basic values?

  15. I am really glad that jindal is voted the india abroad person of the year. This certainly will help his opponenets in the next election to defeat jindal — any association with indianness can be a huge liability as we have in recent elections involving desis.

  16. Thats weird. The first generation(Whom India Abroad cater to) are hailing Mr Jindal even though his acts go against them. While second generation(most signatory like Ms Gupta) are opposiing him even though what he is doing is just safeguarding America’s interests.

    The reason second gen’ers oppose him, is that they can see thru’ his BS. They have a BS meter. First gen’ers dont have it when it comes to American cultural aspects.

    Last November, people in Delhi were celebrating like they would for their daughter’s wedding when Bobby Jindal won. Crazy stuff……..I was in Delhi and found it very hilarious.

    Its hillarious and sad. Not being able to see the ‘big picture’ is in my view has always been a weakness Indians had. Also, there is still mentality of “proving” that we are worthy. Comes from insecurity and low self-worth.

  17. NRI = loosely a person of Indian ancestory who does not live in India (permanently or temporarily). I think this term is now being replaced by PIO (Person of Indian Origin). If you went to Indian Embassy website, they have more formal definitions for NRI, PIO for business purpose.

    Hmmm this isn’t how I perceived it. To me a NRI (non resident Indian) is someone that is an INDIAN according to his passport/connection/citizenry but living outside of India. A PIO is just that “person of Indian origin” and that can apply to anyone who might have any Indian ancestry irrespective of how many generations ago the ancestors left India.

  18. Hmmm this isn’t how I perceived it.

    That is how I used to think and then I went to Indian Embassy website. It confused me more as they are constantly changing the definitions – also had to do with change from NDA to UPA government, and still is in flux (there are some technical, controversial issues about cutoff dates for OCI,etc) . Also, I have some friends who are American citizens who have medium-sized software businesses in India and they are broadly labeled as “NRI” maybe because they are bringing in cash to the country (till OCI – Oversees Citizenship of India is in place). In fact, there was a huge meeting in India by NDA Government – I am forgetting the details – even Kalpana Chawla was there – was about global Indians bringing in cash. There is going to be a new categoryOverseas Citizenship of India (OCI) and then your definittion of NRI will be the correct one. There is one more category, NRE = Non-Resident External for business purposes.

    NRI and similar terms in social setting is one thing and for offical purposes means something else (and keeps changing too).

  19. K Tandon Of course one can never just praise anyone. However most people do not have the facts or even a semblance of them. All they see in the media is that someone is makin’ it and are pleased/critical. And there are few heroes who are totally heroic or blameless.

    Re American Jews: Have lived with them, among them here happily and can only say it is the very, very rare one who acknowledges the colonization of Palestine (or even goes on and on about some corrupt Jew). In fact the original word was ‘colonize’ in the proposal, later changed to settler. And no I have certainly not come across many who criticise their faith or practices, they simply say they are nonobservant….

  20. F— Bobby Jindal. Excuse me, PIYUSH Jindal – he insisted, rather vehemently, at a very young age that people start calling him Bobby. And then the “conversion” to Catholicism…

    Most Indian Republicans i’ve run across are not unlike many black Republicans. A bit of self-hate and lack-of-melanin envy, perhaps?

    I sincerely respect fiscal conservatism and individual responsibilty, but these modern GOP types go well beyond that.

  21. Addendum to previous post:

    Many of the Desi Republicans i run across think only with their wallets and often do seek some sort of acceptance by “Y-T”. Of course, the impact of the social stance of the modern GOP is completely left behind. Do they not realize that they are only welcome at the Grand Ole Party as long as the checks keep coming and they keep stepping and fetching?

  22. This bobby jindal guy is quite shady. As someone mentioned earlier, I have seen news about him cribbing regarding the hurricane, but not much about him doing something. Its unfortunate that he supports this Act though not shocking. Indians don’t have a strong history of standing up for the right thing particularly outside their country (Gandhi notwithstanding). It takes a whole different level of sacrifice and commitment to have the courage to stand again the majority opinion and then the wherewithall to succeed. Jindal doesnt’ care about all that.

    BTW, those who think we should have this Act, do check out the letter of protest linked above. The examples it provides are excellent – a student would be criminal if his academic load dropped below the required for fulltime status by just one credit hr, any H1b person would be a criminal if they failed to send change of address within 10 days etc…

  23. The most disquieting aspect of the wide spread corruption in India is the fact that it is not any more confined to politicians or the govt. machinery alone. It is prevalent amongst almost every section of the society at every level. It is the time we the citizens do our bit to uproot corruption from our state. In website www. rtiludhiana.com is our endeavor to create awareness to the public.