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Saheli Immigration Seminar

Nirmala Garimella

On September 9th, 2006, Saheli, a South Asian woman’s support group, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) and Miller & Patel LLP, is hosting a forum on “Immigration Reform: Beyond the Headlines: What it means to all of US”. 

Presentation topics will address Visa backlogs issues and concerns, Detention and Deportation, Proposed Immigration Regulations, Immigrant Rights in Mass. Legal vs. Illegal.

Distinguished speakers include  Ali Noorani (MIRA), Trupti Patel and Sheela Gleeson. This forum will bring together members of the South Asian community as well as several prominent lawyers and advocates together. The event will be followed by question and answer period
Lokvani asked Usha Vakil , Chair, Saheli to give us a preview of what participants can expect from the seminar and posed 4 questions to the speakers and organizers.

 What can attendees expect from this seminar?

 Ali Noorani of MIRA -  The event will provide an overview of policy issues pertaining to immigrants from South Asia.  More than the policy however, the event will delve quite explicitly into the divisive politics that rage around the issue of immigration.  Our hope is that the South Asian community that feels separated from our country’s immigrant rights movement will then move to establish new partnerships and relationships with other immigrant communities.
 How did Saheli decide to do this seminar?

Usha Vakil - Immigration is one of the important services and program that Saheli provides to the community. We have always provided resources and services of lawyers during the VISA camp hosted by IAGB. 
Lately, immigration issues have come to forefront with the nation wide debate on legal vs. illegal immigrants and their rights. We thought that it is perceived as "Not My Problem" and  a "Non existent issue" by South Asian community. We want the community to realize that it is a problem, just like the problem with "H" visas and the backlogs and how we can with other communities to become one voice. We had heard about Ali Noorani and when contacted, he immediately accepted to co-sponsor. When we called Trupti, who is on of our key resource, accepted to co-sponsor as well. We also asked Ravi Sakhuja of IAFPE and Peo Nathan of NGF to co-sponsor. Saheli and IAGB are thankful to everyone and we hope that this forum will create an awareness about immigrant rights movement.
We also wanted the date to be just before Sept. 11 so we all could pay homage to the victims of 9/11.
 Who will find this seminar useful ?

 Ali -  Massachusetts is home to a diverse community of immigrants from around the world.  We come in contact with one another but never take a moment to learn from each other, or understand what pressures exist.  People impacted by, or interested in, America’s immigration system should attend this seminar and we will come to realize we are in this fight for justice together.
What other resources can one get at the seminar - Brochures, names of attorneys etc?
Trupti - The seminar is going to be a valuable tool in finding various recourses an individual can use to assist in understanding both current immigration laws as well as changes we can expect. These items will include brochures, an outline of proposed regulations and a useful immigration and legislation contact list.


Introductions - Usha Vakil, Saheli
VISA backlogs and related issues - Sheela Gleeson, Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers:Issues of Detention/ Deportation /Outline of the proposed Immigration regulations.Trupti Patel, Miller & Patel, LLP : Setting the context:, Truth about immigrants in Massachusetts, Legal vs. Illegal. Ali Noorani,Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)

September 9, 2006
2:00- 4:30pm
Senior Center
61 Center Street
Burlington, Ma.

SAHELI, Friendship for South Asian Women www.saheliboston.org
PO Box 52063
Boston MA 02205

Cosponsored by:

India Association of Greater Boston (IAGB)
Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)
Miller & Patel, LLP
Next Generation Foundation (NGF)
Indian American Forum for Political Education (IAFPE)

For questions and to sign up, send email to

ushavakil@aol.com or 781-749-9281
From Route 128 North: Take Exit 34. At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Winn St. Drive under Route 128 and continue on Winn St. for .4 miles. Bear left at the fork and continue up the hill. The Senior Center will be on your right at the top of the hill.
From Route 128 South: Take Exit 34. At the end of the ramp, turn right onto Winn St. Go through the light at Beacon Street and continue .3 miles. Bear left at the fork and continue up the hill. The Senior Center will be on your right at the top of the hill.

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