“They told me to take off my turban. I know a little English, and I said, ‘It’s my religion.’ But they insisted.” - Sikh Migrant
When Sikh migrants fleeing from countries due to religious persecution arrived in America they did not receive a warm welcome – far from it. From reports of turban confiscation and destruction to deliberate blocking of Sikh migrants’ attempts to pray and otherwise peacefully observe their faith, to a lack of vegetarian food options, the treatment of the Border Patrol agents against Sikh migrants only further added to their trauma of leaving their homes.
As we know, the dastaar is an object of deep religious significance, and those who wear it and other articles of faith like karas and kachere do so as a reflection of their faith and devotion. The confiscation and destruction of a Sikh’s turban are among the gravest offenses imaginable.
In response, SALDEF is working to hold the Border Patrol accountable, develop appropriate procedures focused on the preservation of religious rights, advocate for policies that strengthen religious freedom, and provide Sikh-specific sensitivity training using proven and effective community engagement strategies to the border patrol agents.
Since 2003, SALDEF has partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice to train over 100,000 members of local, state, and federal government agencies. These training sessions are critical in ensuring Sikhs are treated with dignity and our articles of faith are respected and understood by officers. With your help, we can ensure proper treatment for Sikh detained migrants.
Will you help us stand up for the rights of our brothers and sisters? Help us protect Sikh migrants by donating today.