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

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.

Confronting Mental Health in Asian-American Communities Through Testimony and Art

The Asian American Literary Review drops an interactive, experimental issue centered on Asian-American mental well-being.

The White House Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islanders Just Lost Most of Its Members

Sixteen members of the advisory commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have resigned in protest of President Trump’s policies.

Radical Right 'Electrified' by Trump Candidacy and Presidency

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual mapping of organized hate in America reveals a dramatic spike in anti-Muslim groups.

Court Says No to 'Muslim Ban' as Immigration Raids Ramp Up

As the Ninth Circuit continues the nationwide stay of the executive order targeting people from seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees, the federal government conducts immigration sweeps in Southern California.

The Courts Versus Donald Trump: The Latest on the Muslim and Refugee Bans

A dramatic scenario played out over the weekend with legal challenges to President Trump’s executive order.

Trump's 'Muslim Ban' Creates Chaos and Prompts Airport Protests, Free Legal Work and Faith Community Condemnation

In the 48 hours after President Trump announced bars on entry from seven Muslim-majority countries and a revamping of the refugee admissions process, visa- and green-card holders were detained, federal judges issued stays and America’s airports became sites of resistance.

Trump's Executive Orders on Immigration Met With Criticism and Resistance

Executive orders include construction of a wall at the southern border, as well as resources, personnel to buttress immigration enforcement

Sitting at his desk, Donald Trump holds up an executive order he signed on his first full day as president

Trump's First Week Begins With Executive Orders on Trade, Reproductive Rights and Federal Hiring

He’s also suspended a cut in Federal Housing Aministration mortgage premiums and moved to repeal Obamacare.

A Brooklyn, New York, protest against the mass detainment of Muslim, Arab and South Asians post-9/11

SCOTUS Watch: Will Government Officials be Penalized for the Post 9/11 Profiling?

Two days before Donald Trump’s inauguration, SCOTUS is hearing Ziglar v. Abbasi, a case that could have broad influence on the accountability of executive power.

A Black woman protester wearing a black coat is pushed out of a Senate office building by a White policeman

When and Where to Watch Senate Confirmation Hearings for Trump's Cabinet Picks

A flurry of Senate confirmation hearings for Trump’s cabinet nominees are happening this week. Here’s when and where to watch.

A young Muslim man wearing a black hoodie and a young woman wearing a hijab hold up signs that say "Islam is peace" and "We not a terrorist"

We Have Been Here Before

Even though our Muslim-, South Asian- and Arab-American communities have been confronting and surviving backlash and criminalization in the 15 years since 9/11, our lives, identities and futures are at stake like never before. 

Collection of handmade 9/11 missing person posters outside of New York City's Saint Vincent Hospital

In Our Own Words: Reflections on the 15th Anniversary of 9/11

Muslim, Arab, South Asian and Sikh activists and allies recall where they were on September 11, 2001 and how that day has shaped their movements and resistance today. 

Today marks four years since a gunman tied to White supremacist organizations stormed mass at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and killed six people on August, 5, 2012, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Today Marks 4 Years Since the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin Massacre

In an act of solidarity, community members are memorializing not only this massacre, but also the victims of the Orlando Pulse mass shooting.

Here's Why Indiana Should #FreePurvi Patel on Appeal

The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear arguments today in the case of Purvi Patel, the Indian-American woman sentenced to 20 years for feticide and neglect of a dependent in 2015. Advocates say her treatment was racially biased and will deter other pregnant women from seeking medical care.

Media and Political Responses to San Bernardino Massacre Reveal Racial Coding and Assumptions of Collective Guilt

These occur in the midst of an already-vicious anti-Muslim backlash.

3 Years After the Sikh Temple Massacre, Hate-Violence Prevention Is Key

Three years ago today, a white supremacist barged into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and fatally shot six people. Deepa Iyer argues that we must focus on preventing rather than fighting hate violence.

Spelling Race

Two race-based narratives dominate coverage of the Scripps National Spelling Bee each year—and they’re both misguided.

Cleveland Commits to Broad Changes to its Police Practices

By signing a U.S. Department of Justice Department consent decree, the city’s police department is agreeing to address officers’ excessive use of force, implicit bias, treatment of people who are mentally ill, and a range of other problems.