The mistreatment of Sikh migrants on the US-Mexico border is reportedly far more widespread than beforehand thought.
US Customs and Border Patrol brokers in a number of sectors have allegedly thrown lots of of sacred turbans belonging to Sikh border-crossers within the trash, and denied migrants religiously mandated vegetarian meals, as an alternative consigning them to eat apple juice and crackers or telling them they may “starve,” in accordance with an investigation from the Arizona Luminaria, citing unnamed border support employees aware of the mistreatment.
“One Sikh man, when I handed him a turban to cover his hair started crying and kissed the fabric,” one particular person advised the outlet, recalling “a group of vegetarian Sikhs said they were living off apple juice and crackers for seven days.”
Aid employees have taken to purchasing lengths of fabric themselves so migrants could make themselves new turbans.
The new allegations be a part of earlier complaints about how the Border Patrol has handled Sikh migrants.
Earlier this week, the American Civil Liberties Union wrote to the company, highlighting “serious religious-freedom violations” in at the least 64 situations on the Yuma border sector within the final two months, in accordance with the authorized organisation.
“By confiscating and failing to return Sikh individuals’ turbans, CBP directly interferes with their religious practice and forces them to violate their religious beliefs,” the ACLU wrote in a 1 August letter to the company, pointing to the Border Patrol’s official coverage that officers “remain cognizant of an individual’s religious beliefs while accomplishing an enforcement action in a dignified and respectful manner.”
Sikh migrants, a lot of whom are fleeing persecution in India from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationwide Bharatiya Janata Party, described humiliating therapy.
“They told me to take off my turban. I know a little English, and I said, ‘It’s my religion.’ But they insisted,” one man advised The Intercept, which first reported on the ACLU letter. Agents even insisted on chopping the person’s conventional Sikh underwear, ostensibly for safety causes.
“I felt so bad,” the person mentioned.
The Border Patrol mentioned earlier this week it was opening an inside investigation into the allegations and was taking unspecified steps “to address the situation.”
“Our expectation is that CBP employees treat all migrants we encounter with respect,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus mentioned in a emailed assertion earlier this week.
In June, an ombudsman from the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Border Patrol, visited a facility in Phoenix and was alerted to complaints about spiritual mistreatment, in accordance with the ACLU.
“We’re talking about Sikh migrants specifically who are fleeing their countries because of religious persecution…making a very traumatic journey to the United States, and upon entering are then forced to remove a sacred piece of their religion, a core tenet of their belief system,” Vanessa Pineda, an immigrants’ rights workers lawyer for the ACLU of Arizona, advised CNN.
Such reporting signifies that the company has been conscious of the issue for weeks with none obvious change.
“We take allegations of this nature very seriously,” the Border Patrol advised The Independent in an announcement.
It declined to reply what particular steps had been taken to treatment the mistreatment claims, or when the inner investigation can be completed.
Last yr, The Independent reported that the primary particular person killed in a post-9/11 hate crime was a Sikh man named Balbir Singh Sodhi, who owned a gasoline station in Arizona. Sodhi was shot by a racist gunman on 15 September, 2001, the identical day the enterprise proprietor donated to a 9/11 aid fund.
Since then, Sikhs have been the goal of different hate incidents, and have additionally been singled out for placement in immigration databases and invasive screening at US airports.