PHOTO BY: Sikhs of America

The float of “Sikhs of America” at July 4 parade in Washington, DC

Washington, DC – With repeated barbs being exchanged back and forth between Democrat lawmakers and Republican President Donald Trump, the nation is getting more and more divided. IAT reached out to Jesse Singh, a member of the minority Sikh community and a Trump supporter, to get his take on the ongoing controversy.

IAT: Someone from the “Sikh Coalition” wrote an article and mentioned she was asked to “go back” when she was five years old. You have two daughters, what is your personal opinion on it? Did they ever come back and complain as kids?

JS: My experience with my two daughters, both of whom were born here and grew up in the US, they never came back and complained of anything like that. They are very confident young girls and I have taken them to so many camps and so many events since they were little. I have never faced any of this discrimination that the article talks about. That doesn’t mean that there are no incidents that happen but we should look at them in the contextual perspective and not just zoom in on those small incidents and generalize to start blaming everything on President Trump.

There was a deadly shooting incident in a Gurudwara in Wisconsin when Barack Obama was the president and it won’t be right for Sikhs to blame President Obama for that. As a strong community, we don’t want to bring up our children – feeling like we are victims here. We aren’t – we love this nation as it has given everything to us and that is the message and mentality I want the young kids to have.

IAT: In a recent article in “Chicago Sun Times” a picture of the float of “Sikhs of America” was boldly displayed. You are the Chair of the organization so how do you feel about it with that article?

JS: I want to make it clear here that Sikhs of America is a bipartisan organization. We do not agree with the article which appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times. The main mission of the Sikhs of America to integrate into the American society and to highlight the contributions of the Sikh community in the American society. Sikhs love America, and we don’t feel as though we are victims here. Yes, there have been issues of hate crimes and racism against Sikhs but the US administration whether it was Trump, Bush or Obama – has stood up with Sikhs. So we disagree with what they article portrayed.

IAT: With recent news about the death of a six year old girl and emergence of many videos of border crossing by Sikh families, why are the NGOs in the US – blaming the US Immigration policy instead of urging Indian government to stop the outflow and work against the human smuggling rings?

JS: I do not agree with lots of NGOs representing Sikhs nowadays as most of them are partisan. As a minority, Sikh rights organizations or human rights organizations should be bipartisan, working – across the aisle. This young girl who died crossing the border illegally, was an unfortunate incident, very heart-wrenching and our hearts go out to the family. But at the same time, we can not blame the administration for that.

This an example of victimization where these organizations come in and try to take advantage in a very tragic incident. These organizations then portray such unfortunate incidents as racist and drive a wedge in the society. This needs to stop as we had meetings with Embassy of India here and also we are going to meet the prime minister of India soon. This is one of the things – Sikhs of America – is going to ask the Indian government: Please make sure to stop the agents who are working in India, especially in Punjab, who take money and give false promises to these people. These people sell their lands, their properties and give money to agents to come to the United States, illegally – that should be stopped.

IAT: Thank you for your time.


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