Deepa Iyer

Contributing Writer
Picture of Deepa Iyer

Deepa Iyer is a South Asian-American writer and lawyer. She covers issues of race, law and policy, and Muslim, Arab and South Asian communities for Colorlines. Iyer's writing has appeared in The Nation, The New York Times, The Guardian, Al-Jazeera America, and Huffington Post. Her first book, "We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future" (The New Press 2015), received a 2016 American Book Award and was selected as a top 10 multicultural non-fiction books of 2015. Iyer served as executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together  (SAALT) for a decade and previously worked at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center and the Asian American Justice Center. She is currently a senior fellow at the Center for Social Inclusion. Iyer immigrated to Kentucky from Kerala when she was 12. She lives in the Washington D.C. area.

Follow Deepa Iyer on Twitter: @dviyer

Woman, flanked by young men, holds sign that reads: "#SancturaryEverywhere."

New DOJ Memo Retreats From Administration's Original Position on Penalizing Sanctuary Cities

But the Trump Administration may find other ways to attack sanctuary cities—and the proposed 2018 fiscal year budget might be one of them.

UPDATE: U.S. Government Extends Temporary Protected Status for Haitian Nationals For 6 More Months

Temporary protected status will last six more months for 58,000 Haitian immigrants in the United States. The loss of this immigration protection could lead to deportation to a country that continues to struggle with the impact of two earthquakes and a devastating cholera epidemic.

This Mother’s Day, Let's Honor Our Mamas With Actions That Reflect the Radical Roots of the Holiday

Keeping in mind the spirit of its origins, we offer you a range of ways to do good on Mother's Day.

ICYMI: Texas Governor Greg Abbott Signed a Bill to Outlaw Sanctuary Cities in the State

Senate Bill 4, which goes into effect on September 1,  punishes cities, counties, elected officials and campuses that don’t collaborate with federal immigration enforcement. It also makes it a criminal offense for police chiefs or sheriffs to violate the ban.

President Trump Signs 'Religious Liberty' Executive Order

But does it preserve religious liberty—or provide a license to discriminate?

What Two Reports Have to Say About Trump's Impact on Immigrants and Muslims

Reports from We Belong Together and the Brennan Center for Justice critique Trump's anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies and warn of future threats.

Federal Judge Delivers Another Blow to Trump's Immigration Policies

A federal judge in California has blocked the Trump Administration's efforts to withhold federal funding from self-designated sanctuary cities.

Juan Montes May Be the First DACA Recipient to Be Deported Under Trump

Juan Montes says he was deported by Customs and Border Patrol agents at the California-Mexico border despite his valid and unexpired DACA work permit. The Department of Homeland Security disputes his claim. Now he's suing to get the government records related to his case.

President Trump to Announce 'Buy American, Hire American' Executive Order

The two-part order focuses on the H-1B visa program and the procurement of American products by federal agencies.

A woman in a taupe coat stands before a uniformed police officer holding up a sign that says "No ban, no wall."

Surge of Somali Deportations Worries Communities Already Facing Marginalization

A reported 4,000 Somali nationals are in the pipeline for being deported to a homeland suffering a severe humanitarian crisis.

The Government May Change How It Collects and Crunches Race Data. Here's Why You Should Weigh In

For the first time in 20 years, federal agencies are reviewing how they collect and report race and ethnicity data. This could mean breaking people of North African and Middle Eastern descent out of the "White" category and reporting on Asians and Pacific Islanders with more accuracy. 

After Changing the Rules of Engagement, Senate Republicans Vote Neil Gorsuch Onto the U.S. Supreme Court

Racial justice, women's rights and LGBTQ organizations react to the confirmation of the 113th justice with alarm.

Woman wearing red had that says, "Immigrants make America great."

Courthouses May No Longer Be Safe Spaces for Undocumented Immigrants

The Department of Homeland Security says immigration agents can engage in enforcement activities at courthouses.

After 4 Years of Fighting, Palestinian-American Activist Rasmea Odeh Accepts Plea Agreement in Immigration Fraud and Terrorism Case

In light of the current political climate, Odeh believes that she could not receive a fair trial in her legal battle with the federal government over immigration fraud and terrorism charges.

New San Francisco Ordinance Keeps the City From Cooperating With Any Religion-Based Registry

In response to President Trump toying with the idea of a Muslim registry, Bay Area groups pushed for the ordinance to block city from creating or implementing a a database based on religion, national origin or ethnicity.

Federal Judges Stop Trump's Muslim Ban for a Second Time

District court judges in Hawaii and Maryland have blocked the implementation of the president's second travel and refugee freeze.

Deja Vu: Muslim Ban 2.0 Looks a Lot Like the Original

The Trump Administration's new executive order removes Iraq from the list of Muslim-majority countries and exempts legal permanent residents from the ban on travel. Activists say the new order still discriminates on the basis of faith and national origin.

At a large New York City march to protest Trump's 'Muslim ban,' a man dressed up as the president walks.

Who Would Lose in the 'Merit-Based' Immigration System Trump is Raving About?

In his first joint Congressional address, President Trump advocated for an immigration system that would prioritize  high-skilled and educated workers. But that system would stack the deck in favor of young men, penalize women who do domestic work, and unravel the fabric of family-based immigration. 

A man in a brown shirt and hat and a woman in a pink sweatsuit carry a cooler of water into a field.

How Trump's Punitive Immigration Policy May Affect Industries Built on the Backs of Undocumented Workers

Agriculture and construction, the two industries that rely most heavily on undocumented workers, may face labor shortages, increased production costs and profit losses as a result of the Trump Administration's aggressive immigration policy.

Trump Administration Cancels Obama's Policy for Protecting Transgender Rights in Public Schools

Often called the "bathroom guidance," the Obama directive went much further to protect transgender students in public schools. Claiming that states and local school districts should shape their own policies, the Trump Administration has revoked it.