Every story at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention Center is a tale of tragedy, and it is no less for the Indian Sikh and South Asian refugees waiting for adjudication of their cases. The path to detention usually starts in India with a smuggler. The young men pay tens of thousands of dollars to be pirated out of India and brought into Mexico, to cross the southern border into the United States. Some refugees surrender to authorities in a bid for asylum while others try to enter the US illegally. In all cases, desperation leads to making bad decisions, which results in even deeper despair.
On Sunday, the Chardi Kala Jatha put on a kirtan program for the Sikh detainees in the nearby regional ICE Detention Center.
Kulbir Singh – son of the late Yogi Bhajan, Sada Sat Simran Singh – Chairman of the Board of Sikh Dharma International, Ram Das Singh of 3HO International, and Harimandir Jot Singh brought Prashad and sang a beautiful Gurbani Kirtan program to provide an afternoon of uplifting inspiration. The response from the detainees was overwhelming, as they felt the love of the sangat and a small rememberance of home in the Punjab.
Sikh Dharma International has been supplying turbans, Nitnems, malas, and other support for the Sikh detainees over the past year. This is the second trip by the Chardi Kala Jatha, and they have plans to return again in the spring.