2015-02-18 / Features

Organizer Meets Obama On Administrative Relief


Rishi Singh meeting with President Obama. Rishi Singh meeting with President Obama. On February 4 the DRUM – South Asian Organizing Center organizer Rishi Singh and other activists from the United We Dream coalition-met with President Obama to affirm the importance of relief programs such as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents), their implementation, and also to push for relief for those who are currently excluded from the president’s executive action.

The programs provide temporary relief from deportation (deferred action) and work authorization to unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), or to certain young people brought to the United States as children (DACA). The programs benefit nearly five million undocumented immigrants.

DRUM, which organizes low-income South Asian immigrants, workers, and youth, was the lead organization in New York state for the campaign for Administrative Relief. DRUM began to organize for Administrative Relief in late 2013, and publicly launched the campaign last April, which included actions targeting the president and DHS locally and nationally.

Singh, originally from Trinidad, has been an organizer with DRUM for 12 years, where he has led DRUM’s campaign for Administrative Relief for undocumented immigrants over the last year and a half. In his meeting with President Obama, Rishi told the president that “over six million undocumented immigrants are excluded from the program, including those from LGBTQ communities, and those with prior criminal records.”

Singh said that this meeting with the president is a part of a broader struggle, “This is a testament to the power of organizing and our ability to win real change that will benefit the lives of our community.”

As a former undocumented high school student and later DACA recipient, Singh continues to champion the stories and struggles of all undocumented youth, “ We know the work is not done. We fought to get the most recent executive action and will continue to fight so all of our people are able to come out of the shadows and continue to live and work in dignity.”

DRUM – South Asian Organizing Center is located at 72-18 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, 718-205-3036, www.drumnyc.org.

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