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Indian American Legislators Calling for Stricter Gun Control



Gun Control
Gun Control

In the wake of Sunday’s tragic Las Vegas concert mass shooting, several Indian-American legislators are calling upon stricter gun control regulations.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — In the wake of Sunday’s tragic Las Vegas concert mass shooting, several Indian-American legislators are calling upon stricter gun control regulations.

Hours following the attack, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said, “We must take action to stop gun violence.”

“The American people are tired of being outraged. We are tired of sending thoughts and prayers. ,” she subsequently Tweeted.

“The American people are tired of being outraged, sending thoughts and prayers, seeing men, women and children die because the gun lobby does put profit over people, Jayapal said during a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“That is not what our founders intended by the ‘right to bear arms’,” she said, as she joined several of her Congressional colleagues calling for changes in gun control laws.

“With rights come responsibilities: the responsibility to stop gun sales loopholes, to enact protections that make sure our children and those with severe mental illnesses don’t have access to guns, to address funding for mental health, and to oppose any efforts to make it easier to purchase silencers,” Jayapal added.

The first ever Indian-American women elected to the House of Representatives claims that 87 percent of gun owners and 74 percent of NRA members support commonsense solutions like criminal background checks.

“I have a plea for gun owners across this country: Urge the non-resident aliens (NRA) to represent your views. Show them that you mean business by speaking out or even terminating your NRA membership. Show that you care about your fellow Americans,” she said.

She concluded: “Act now. Enough is enough.”

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in Las Vegas. No community should have to fear going to the movies, a concert, or dropping their child off at school. We all mourn the loss of life in Las Vegas. Please keep the families impacted in your thoughts and prayers,” said Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) in a press release.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois) echoed comments in a press release:

“I condemn in the strongest terms the violence and carnage we witnessed in Las Vegas. As our nation processes this senseless violence, I’m reminded of Fred Rogers’ advice to find hope even in the darkest of times. In any tragedy, he urged us, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ The courage and bravery shown by police and first responders is a beacon of hope amidst a scene of unimaginable devastation. In the wake of this tragedy, I hope we’ll all be able to take the time to look for the helpers and that each of us, in our own way, will seek to help our nation heal, move forward, and work to prevent similar tragedies.”

“We must end this senseless violence,” said Congressman Rep Ro Khanna (D-CA) via Twitter. He followed up with another tweet addressing gun control laws and regulation. “What we need are universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons, not more empty words followed by inaction.”

Sunday evening’s Las Vegas shooting, considered the largest in modern U.S. history, claimed the lives of at least 59 people and injured more than 500. A gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. He was shooting from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.


EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Rand Paul working with Republican Hindu Coalition to help those in green card limbo



EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Rand Paul meets with members of the Republican Hindu Coalition in a private Newport Beach, CA reception. Left to right: Sudheer Chakka, Siva Moopanar, Senator Rand Paul, Kelley Paul, RHC Vice Chair Manasvi, Netra Chavan and Jyotsna Sharma
EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Rand Paul meets with members of the Republican Hindu Coalition in a private Newport Beach, CA reception. Left to right: Sudheer Chakka, Siva Moopanar, Senator Rand Paul, Kelley Paul, RHC Vice Chair Manasvi, Netra Chavan and Jyotsna Sharma

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (Diya TV) — In a town hall conference call coordinated by the Republican Hindu Coalition, and at a private reception in Newport Beach, California, U.S. Senator Rand Paul spoke at length about helping those impacted by U.S. immigration law, specifically as it relates to the burgeoning Indian-American community.

Diya TV was invited to exclusively report on this developing story. Paul, who hails from Bowling Green, Kentucky, told RHC supporters he lives in a neighborhood that is largely comprised of “Indian-American physicians who are [his] friends and neighbors.” Yet he was not aware, until overtures from the RHC, “of this problem of the children of people who came here legally being aged out as they get older while their parents are still waiting for their green cards.”

The Republican Hindu Coalition is using the moniker DALCA or Deferred Action for Legal Childhood Arrivals to refer to kids stuck in such situations, a reference that is sure to upset some of the 800,000 individuals who registered for DACA or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that now could face deportation.

In September 2017, President Donald Trump announced he was ending the program, setting up a deadline for March 5, 2018 unless Congress passes new legislation for DACA recipients, that are often known as ‘Dreamers’ in reference to the proposed DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act.

With that deadline approaching quickly, DACA recipients are anxious about their future, wondering if they will be able to remain in the U.S. after their DACA status expires. A similar anxiety hovers over folks the RHC refers to as ‘DALCA kids’.

As rhetoric over the issue amplifies, there are few voices advocating for the more than 500,000 Indians in the U.S. who can be waiting for a green card for up to 12 years.

Senator Paul wants to be one of them, imploring RHC supporters “to be more involved” and “ to really inform your legislators.”

In early February, the RHC held a rally outside of the White House attended by a few hundred people to, in their words, ‘fix DALCA, end chain migration and reallocate to skilled based immigration to cut the GC [green card] backlog to two years.’

Republican Hindu Coalition immigration rally in Washington, DC on February 3, 2018.

Republican Hindu Coalition immigration rally in Washington, DC on February 3, 2018.

The Coalition, via their website, has begun to embark on a national campaign to spread awareness in the coming weeks for the plight of what they say are at least 200,000 kids in green card limbo.

The question that remains is whether folks on both sides of the aisle will put partisanship aside to help people, that by in large, are in a terrible position through no fault of their own.

Here are Sen. Rand Paul’s comments via the RHC conference call:

“I became aware of this issue more particularly as the Republican Hindu Coalition talked to me about the fact that there were children of legal immigrants who were waiting so long for their green cards that the children became adults and were, like the DACA kids, losing their status in the country. And the answer to me, I think, really is that we need to allow more people who have legal visas to get green cards.

So in the recent battle over immigration, I introduced two amendments. One was specifically to fix the DALCA problem — these are the dependents of legal folks who have come in to this country. And to fix that problem by actually getting rid of the per country limits for employment-based green cards and to phase this in over a few years.

We also introduced another amendment that would have doubled the employment-based visas. These are referred to as EB visas. EB-1 which are professors. EB-2 which is doctors and lawyers. EB-3 which is engineers and teachers. And EB-5 program which is also those who want to bring capital to this country to invest. I’m in favor of all these because I think that we need more legal immigration.

And what I’m worried about in the debate is that it’s all been focused mostly on those who broke the law to come here. And that we are not doing anything to fix the system for those who actually took the time to come legally, get visas approved, and that are waiting and waiting and waiting for green cards. And not enough of the debate has been focused on on those who actually tried to obey the law and use the system correctly.

So I think the debate is just beginning. And my advice to your Coalition is don’t see the current battle as the beginning and the end. See that you need to get involved, and get involved in a big way, because right now the debates is being dominated by the loudest voices. And the loudest voices are those who are marching on Washington, who have come here illegally.

And there’s not enough voices and the voices are not loud enough from those who came legally and want to enhance the system by having more merit-based employment visas. So I am very interested in the issue and want to be helpful with the issue. But I do say to those or that are on the phone call, you need to be more involved and you need to really inform your legislators.

Because I have talked to senators, other senators and other congressmen. Many of them were not aware that, in fact I was not aware, in the beginning of this problem with the children of people who came here legally being aged out as they get older while their parents are still waiting for their green cards. So I think there is a lot that can be done on the issue. And I’m glad to be part of any kind of Coalition that wants to fix it.”

When asked why reforming high-skilled immigration and clearing backlogs is not a priority, by RHC Vice Chair Manasvi, Sen. Paul commented:

“I think in some ways because the loudest voices have been those who are promoting sort of fixes for those who came here illegally. But I do think there is a great deal of sympathy when you mention that we need to fix this for those who have obeyed the laws, obeyed the system, come here legally. I think once you mention that to people, they are sympathetic.

I think also people in general, when people talk about merit-based immigration versus the diversity lottery, and having these country caps, I think the more people talk about it, they realize in order to be for merit-based immigration, you have to be for getting rid of these country caps because we have so many Indian-Americans who have come to this community who are, like you say, high skilled, with college degrees and advanced degrees. In my small community, just in Bowling Green, Kentucky, there are many Indian-American physicians who are my friends and neighbors.

And so, I think they add to the community and add to our country. And I think most people once they are aware of that, are sympathetic to trying to fix it. But all of the news print, all of the news media, all of it seems to be directed towards fixing it for people who came here illegally. And I’m not opposed to fixing it for for some of these DACA kids. But I think, at the same time, we should give equal consideration to the DALCA kids, the dependents of those who came here legally.”

When asked by Manasvi what his action plan to resolve this issue would be, Sen. Paul said:

“It’s a long discussion and I’ve been trying over a several year period. Not only do I talk to each of the Senators and Congressmen individually, our staff talks to them and we’ve been advocated for having more employment-based visas for quite awhile. In our bill to do employment-based visas, we doubled the number.

So currently, there’s 10,000 EB-1’s, 10,000 EB-2’s, 10,000 EB-3’s. So there’s about 140,000 of these and we want to double that to be 140,000 new employment-based visas. And so we keep advocating for this because I think it’s also the answer to take the pressure off of, the desire for our country to grow. I think with the recent tax cut, I think there’s going to be a lot of economic growth in our country. And everybody I talk to, successful business owners, says they need more skilled workers and not less.”

((UPDATE: The RHC contacted us after publication to clarify the amount of visas Sen. Paul was referencing. The RHC says there are 40,000 EB-1 visas, 40,000 EB-2 visas, 40,000 EB-3 visas, 10,000 EB-4 visas and 10,000 EB-5 visas, for a total of 140,000 visas — the number Sen. Paul mentioned during the call.))

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Arts & Culture

NYU Pandemonium wins first place at Bollywood Berkeley 2018



Berkeley Indus hosts the inter-collegiate Bollywood Dance Competition in Oakland, California

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — Hundreds of students came to witness this inter-collegiate Bollywood dance competition at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland on Saturday. Known to be the toughest of its kind on the west coast, Bollywood Berkeley is a coveted title. NYU Pandemonium’s all male group took home the first place trophy along with UC Irvine Zamana who came in second and UCLA Nashaa at third place.

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India mourns the loss of a revered Bollywood Superstar, Sridevi



Revered Bollywood star, Sridevi dead at 54

MUMBAI (Diya TV) — Veteran Bollywood star, Sridevi passed away at the age of 54. Survived by her husband, Bollywood producer Boney Kapoor, the actress died late in the night reportedly due to cardiac arrest in Dubai where she and her family were attending her nephew Mohit Marwah’s wedding.

From hits such as Nagina (1986), Mr. India (1987), Chandni (1989) to Judaai (1996) and English Vinglish in 2012, Sridevi dominated as the leading lady in 1980s and 1990s.

“I think she really was one of India’s first female superstars,” Bollywood critic Rajeev Masand told CNN. “It didn’t matter who the male actors where, the movies were shouldered by Sridevi.”
Masand recalled watching Sridevi as she filmed “Judaai” in Hyderbad in 1996. “It was incredible,” he told CNN. “She was very, very conscious and very, very shy, and this is at the peak of her career.”

Judaai” was a box office hit, but it was Sridevi’s performance in Gauri Shinde’s 2012 hit, “English Vinglish,” that really solidified her comeback and confirmed her as one of Bollywood’s most treasured and enduring talents.
Sridevi took the starring role of Shashi, an Indian housewife who only speaks Hindi but is thrust onto the streets of New York to help arrange her niece’s wedding. After a series of humiliations, Shashi decides she needs to learn English and enrolls in a four-week crash course

Fans, including co-stars, celebrities and politicians alike are expressing their shock at her untimely passing:

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