South Asians Against Migrant Child Separations

Open Letter to Niraj Shah, Jill Shah, and the Shah Foundation about Wayfair and Migrant Children

We are South Asian Americans who are horrified by the humanitarian crisis created by the Trump Administration at the southern border. We were deeply alarmed to learn that Wayfair, a company led by an Indian American CEO, is selling beds to contractors that operate facilities for migrant children who have been separated from their parents. We support the employees at Wayfair who are participating in the Wayfair walkout on June 26th. We urge you, Mr. Shah, to stop profiting off an inhumane policy that separates, criminalizes, and incarcerates children.

Children and families seeking asylum — a legal right — are facing inhumane treatment in migrant camps where they are being held in unsanitary and unsafe conditions. CHILDREN have died. CHILDREN are dying.

Mr. Shah, your decision to do business with contractors connected to this operation demonstrates that you and your company are complicit in the government’s policy to separates these children from their families. Your decision to fulfill your business contract sends one clear message: that you place profits over the well-being of children.

Your decision also seems to be in stark contrast to the mission of your family foundation. Every page of the Shah Family Foundation’s website includes pictures of children, and many of your grants are targeted towards securing the well-being of disadvantaged children and youth. We ask you to be committed to the values you espouse through your family foundation when it really counts — that is, when your profit margin is at stake.

In your letter defending your decision to continue the contracts, you relied upon “diversity of thought” as a reason. But there is no “both” sides to separating, incarcerating, and neglecting children. There is just one side to this issue, and it is the one that your courageous employees described in their letter to you: that Wayfair should “take a stand against the reprehensible practice of separating children from their families, which denies them from having a home at all.”

South Asian Americans support the employees who are part of the Wayfair walkout.

We support any efforts to shut down border facilities and detention camps, and to end family separation and detention of migrant children altogether.

Mr. Shah, we ask you to do the right thing by your employees who have asked you to end current and future business with contractors participating in the operation of migrant camps, and to donate profits from completed sales to organizations supporting families at the border. We ask you to join us and all Americans who care about human dignity.

  • Sanaa Abrar, United We Dream
  • Seema Agnani, National CAPACD
  • Muneer Ahmad, Clinical Professor of Law, Yale Law School
  • Fahd Ahmed, Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM)
  • Taz Ahmed, 18MillionRising.org
  • Vivek Bald, Assoc. Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Dev Benegal
  • Pabitra Khati Benjamin, Adhikaar
  • Vivek G. Bharathan
  • Zahra Billoo, CAIR San Francisco Bay Area
  • Mrinalini Chakraborty, Movement Strategist & Political Organizer
  • Subodh Chandra, Managing Partner, The Chandra Law Firm LLC
  • Sunu Chandy
  • Sona Charaipotra, Co-Founder, CAKE Literary
  • Anirvan Chatterjee
  • Sayantani DasGupta, physician, academic, Columbia University
  • Barnali Das Khuntia
  • Shruti Ganguly, filmmaker
  • Krittika Ghosh, Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project
  • Jhumka Gupta, ScD, Violence Against Women Researcher & Public Health Faculty at George Mason University
  • Sonia Gupta
  • Laboni Hoq, Litigation Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice—Los Angeles
  • Namira Islam, Human Rights Education Lawyer
  • Deepa Iyer, Civil Rights Lawyer and Writer
  • Avni Jamdar
  • Ruby Kaur
  • Valarie Kaur, The Revolutionary Love Project
  • Aarti Kohli, Executive Director, Advancing Justice — Asian Law Caucus
  • Manjusha P. Kulkarni
  • Rekha Malhotra
  • Suketu Mehta, Writer
  • Neha Misra
  • Aparna Nancherla
  • Bhavana Nancherla
  • Simran Noor
  • Rupal Oza
  • Eesha Pandit, Center for Advancing Innovative Policy
  • Reena Parikh
  • Sejal Patel
  • Shiwali Patel
  • Varshini Prakash, Co-Founder, Sunrise Movement
  • Darakshan Raja, Justice for Muslims Collective
  • Saira Rao
  • Prerana Reddy
  • Lisa Sangoi
  • Chaitali Sen
  • Rinku Sen
  • Arjun Singh Sethi, Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Kifah Shah, MPower Change
  • Paromita Shah
  • Purvi Shah, Civil & Human Rights Lawyer
  • Purvi Shah, Anti-Violence Advocate & Writer
  • Silky Shah, Executive Director, Detention Watch Network
  • Svati Shah, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Sheetal Sheth
  • Amardeep Singh
  • Simran Jeet Singh, Visiting Scholar, New York University
  • Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Equality Labs
  • Lakshmi Sridaran, South Asian Americans Leading Together
  • Amita Swadhin, Mirror Memoirs
  • Khudai Tanveer, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
  • Saadia Toor, Associate Professor, City University of New York
  • Sunita Viswanath, Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus
  • Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia
  • Shireen Zaman

Suggested actions:

Tweet at Niraj Shah (@nshah10), Wayfair (@wayfair), and the Shah Foundation (@shah_foundation) and tell them to stop doing business with contractors operating facilities for migrant children.

Sign this petition from 18MillionRising: https://action.18mr.org/wayfairwalkout/

Spread the word on social media using the hashtag #SouthAsiansTellShah. Sample tweet:

NOW: South Asian Americans call on @wayfair CEO @nshah10 to stop doing business with contractors participating in the operation of migrant camps. Read open letter here: https://medium.com/@sasiansagainstseparations/south-asians-against-migrant-child-separations-a0352bf3d40d?postPublishedType=initial @Shah_Foundation #CloseTheCamps #WayfairWalkout #SouthAsiansTellShah

South Asians Against Child Separations

Written by

A group of South Asians who believe in the humane treatment of migrant children and families. Reach us at SAsiansAgainstSeparations@gmail.com.