Congressman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., a frequent presence at Indian-Americans events, held a roundtable discussion with some leaders to discuss issues like immigration and hate crimes April 20, in a temple in Edison, N.J. He promised to pressure the Trump administration to do more to prevent hate crimes.
The meeting was organized by Amit Jani, Pallone’s former Congressional aide. Jani told Desi Talk there was discussion about concrete steps that could be taken. Among those steps, the need for sensitivity training for the community and law enforcement, and “shooter training” in places like temples and mosques, that have been subjected to attacks around the country.
“The hate crimes we have seen in recent month are completely unacceptable and this bigotry must strengthen our resolve to work towards tolerance and provide justice and protection for victims who have been targeted,” Pallone is quoted saying in a press release. “I will also push the Trump administration to do more to combat the growing number of hate crimes throughout our nation and step back from the toxic rhetoric on immigration, race, and religion that is dividing our nation.”
Pallone, a co-founder of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, called it an honor to interact with community leaders and praised the South Asian communities for their “tremendous contributions” to the country.
The attendees included Edison Councilwoman Sapana Shah; South Brunswick Board of Education Member Deven Patel; Kanu Patel, CEO of Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS); BAPS representative – Vinay Limbachia; Indian Business Association (IBA) President Dhiren Amin; – South Asian Registration Initiative (SARI) Chairman – Ritesh Shah; Sudhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus – Board Member – Savith Sampath; Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund representative, Raj Groomer; South Asian American Caucus (New Jersey Democratic State Committee) Co-Chair – Satish Poondi; TV Asia Senior Vice President and News Director Rohit Vyas; New Jersey South Asian Bar Association President Bhaveen Jani; South Asians for America (SAFA) Co-Chair Neha Dewan; Association of Indian Americans in North America (AIANA) President Sunil Nayak; Rutgers Indian American Group Leader Priya Kantesaria, a student leader; Edison Indian Senior Citizen Association President Ghansyam Patel; Bengali American Women’s Development Initiative (BAWDI) Founder Nadia Hussain; and Bengali community leader Kumud Roy.
Pallone is a cosponsor of H.R. 1503, Statue of Liberty Values Act 2.0, which was introduced by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, and has 175 cosponsores. It has been referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security for consideration. This bill calls for nullifying President Trump’s March 6, Executive Order 13780, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” It also wants no federal funds to be used to implement or enforce any of the policy changes in the order. The Trump EO was already stalled by courts and could not effectively be implemented..
Recently, Pallone co-signed a letter calling on Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to take swift action to combat tragedies such as the killing of an Indian techie and wounding of another in Olathe, Kansas, as well as other shootings of Indian-Americans around the country.