A nonprofit in Oregon needs Hindi and Punjabi translators to help them communicate with a group of would-be asylum seekers currently in detention.
Filmmaker and activist Valarie Kaur shared a call to action from the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) on Monday. “At least 70 South Asians reportedly separated from their families & detained in Sheridan, Oregon (52 from India, many who speak Punjabi, 13 from Nepal, 2 from Bangladesh),” she wrote. “Need translators.”
UPDATE: “123 immigrants seeking asylum have been detained & transferred to Oregon’s Sheridan federal prison in Yamhill County. The majority… are South Asian, who speak primarily Hindi and Punjabi” How to help : https://t.co/Qd4MOX7DVM TY @APANONews #FamiliesBelongTogether https://t.co/PDooNDN7d2
— Valarie Kaur (@valariekaur) June 18, 2020
As The Oregonian reports, the group of would-be asylum seekers is currently being detained in the Federal Correctional Institution in the city of Sheridan. Many of the South Asians in the group are Sikhs or Christians and say they are fleeing religious persecution in India. “These detainees are isolated, have limited access to interpretation, and are at-risk of abuse in their current prison housing arrangement,” wrote APANO organizers on their site.
To help assist these detainees, APANO is asking for help from Hindi and Punjabi speakers as well as those who are familiar with Assamese, Bengali, and Gujarati. “A variety of volunteers are needed to support the legal response effort including legal and mental health professionals and interpreters for multiple languages,” the blog post noted.
Interested volunteers can head here for more information and to fill out a survey indicating their preferred language.
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