In August 2022, the Sikh Coalition was proud to join partners around the world in facilitating the safe arrival of a multigenerational Afghan Sikh family in New York through the United States Significant Public Benefit Parole Program. We are pleased to announce that after more than a year and a half of collaborative efforts between the Sikh Coalition and Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law, all 13 members of this family have been granted asylum in the United States. 

“My family and I are so very thankful for the overwhelming support we have received from the community since our arrival here, both within the Long Island sangat and across the United States,” said family representative Kulwinder Singh Soni. “We extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who made our journey possible, and we can now look to the future as we build our lives here with security and opportunity for each of us.”

Joining with Kulwinder’s family, the Sikh Coalition wishes to thank the entire network of individuals and organizations who provided legal, financial, advocacy, community, and logistical support that made this achievement possible. Those parties include but are not limited to: Paramjit Singh Bedi and the management and sangat of Guru Nanak Darbar of Long Island; Deepak Ahluwalia and the legal team at Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law; Mandeep Singh and the Dasvandh Network; the World Sikh Organization; the Bhullar Foundation; the trustees and committee members of Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar Southall, London; the sevadaars of My Family, My Responsibility, in particular the late Dalip Singh Sethi ji; former Sikh Coalition staff who dedicated hours of work to this campaign; and various government points of contact in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and India. 

“We are so pleased to see this family fully and safely resettled to the United States, and we hope that many others can follow in their path,” said Harman Singh, Sikh Coalition Executive Director. “The Sikh Coalition continues to believe that the U.S. government has the capacity to resettle the Afghan Sikh and Hindu community in the same way that our country has shown it can do for Ukrainian refugees and others in similarly urgent need around the world. The choices we make about how to help these and other vulnerable populations are not just a matter of policy—they speak to who we are as a nation.”

As part of our ongoing commitment to sharing this family’s story and continuing our multi-year advocacy campaign on behalf of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus, the Sikh Coalition co-produced a multipart documentary titled Baywatana: Without a Home along with the Sikh students of Nishkam TV. This documentary previously premiered at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, IL, where the family members and Sikh Coalition team members participated in several panels; for more information, click here and here. Baywatana remains an essential way to raise awareness about the plight of Afghan Sikhs and Hindus without repeatedly calling on this family or others like them to relive their intense and personal trauma.

Of note, many Afghan Sikh and Hindu families who were temporarily relocated to India face significant challenges as they are considered outsiders and lack legal status, economic opportunities, and long-term stability. These concerns are the root of our longstanding position that resettlement to the United States represented the best hope for security, opportunity, and equality for these families. While we stand in solidarity with the thousands of Afghans from diverse faith backgrounds facing danger in-country and around the world, our advocacy for Afghan Sikhs and Hindus in particular aims to ensure they are not overlooked or forgotten by U.S. authorities.

As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.