"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

Standing Up for Asylum Seekers and Immigrants

Protecting due-process and ensuring that asylum seekers are treated with dignity is a moral and legal duty America accepted following the ratification of the Refugee Convention of 1951, the Convention Against Torture, and passage of its own domestic immigration laws.

ICAAD is no stranger to asylum cases and protecting the right to have rights for those seeking refuge. In 2012, ICAAD Co-Founder Jaspreet K. Singh successfully argued against the Department of Homeland Security’s right to revoke asylum without a hearing before a judge. ICAAD was contacted about asylum seekers from 13 countries including Mexico, Central America, and India who have been sent to federal correctional facilities in Sheridan, Oregon.

Those detained have had limited availability to speak to counsel, are sitting in cells 22 hours a day, in imminent fear of deportation. Surprisingly, 52 asylum seekers are from India, either Sikhs or Christians fleeing religious or political persecution. ICAAD is assisting the Innovation Law Lab and Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon to provide legal and Punjabi translation assistance during Credible Fear Interviews conducted by the Department of Homeland Security’s Asylum Office.

#RaiseYourShield

This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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