May NINSletter and news roundup!

Greeting Friends of NINS!

May has been quite the month in immigration news. In addition to the news roundup provided by our NINSvocate lawyerboss extraordinaire Cassie, we also have an amazing chicken curry recipe from our former spice of the week Dr. Aruna Kundi (aka my mom!)

Spice of the week: Aruna Kundi

“If I was a spice, I would be Elaichi (Cardamom)”- Dr. Aruna Kundi


Some Facts on cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum):

  • Cardamom is a perennial in the ginger family which grows wild in southern India and Sri lanka, however the largest producer of cardamom in the world is in… guatemala!

  • Cardamom is the third most expensive spice after saffron and vanilla. 

  • Cardamom is very popular in Scandinavia where it was used by the vikings to pickle herring and in pies and breads.

  • A natural mouth freshener when chewed and also a component in wrigleys chewing gum!

  • Sixty percent of the cardamom produced in the world goes to Arab countries where it is a major component of Bedouin coffee or gahwa.


Aruna (seen above) at my wedding, is the youngest of 7 children (6 sisters and one brother!). She was born in Mombasa, Kenya where she has very fond memories of playing walking to the beach every day with her sisters. She used to speak Swahili but that was quickly replaced by Punjabi, Hindi and English when she moved to the city of Chandigargh, India when she was 14. She then made way to Canada where she completed her Internal Medicine residency at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

She got married and moved to Michigan where she had two daughters and has become and active part of the Indian Community in the greater Lansing area. Aruna is still practicing medicine, she also loves being active, enjoys college basketball (go spartans!), a nice chardonnay, traveling and spending time with friends and family. She often says “I feel so much younger than my years.”

See her full interview with NINS here:

Aruna’s Recipe for Chicken Curry below:



1)2 lbs chicken tenders cut up in in1.5 inch pieces

(2)1 cup chopped onion

(3)4 cloves finely cut garlic

(4)2tbs chopped ginger

(5) 6 cloves

(6) 2 Tbs cumin seeds 

(7) 2 cups puréed tomatoes 

(8)2-3 cups yogurt

(9)2tbs chicken handi masala ( from Indian store)

(10)1 Tbs corn starch

(11)4  cardamom pods ground up( after removing the husk)

2-3 tbs canola oil

Turn the oven on to 450 degrees 

Heat the oil , fry the cumin and cloves for 30-40 seconds. Add the onion and garlic and cook till onion is translucent. Add the corn starch and cook for 30 seconds . Add the puréed tomatoes and cook to a boil . Add about a cup of water.  Add the masalas and cardamom and cook for 1-2 minutesTurn off theHeat. Beat up the yogurt and then slowly add it to the sauce

Take a baking dish and put the chicken pieces in a single layer. Pour the sauce  over the chicken so it is totally covered. Cook at 450 degrees for 25 minutes

Garnish with chopped cilantro before serving with rice or naan

May News Roundup

Cassandra Talley

Hey guys, we’re back with another immigration news roundup. And, much like last month, this month also features Trump continuing his vitriolic tirade aimed at both immigrants already in the U.S. and those seeking to migrate here. I’m starting off with a pair of articles from City Lab and GQ because they present two unique aspects of the immigration narrative that aren’t as widely reported on. But, of course, the Trump administration’s continued attacks on immigrants seeking asylum have dominated the headlines over the past month, so we conclude this month’s Roundup with a New York Times article on the latest proposals from the administration concerning the asylum program. Lastly, there’s an article about how vital immigrants are to Rust Belt communities like Columbus, Ohio. 

The Trump Administration wants to add a census question to the upcoming 2020 census. But there is a fear among experts that this question will greatly affect participation in the census. As the article states, “including the query will deter non-citizens, terrified that the government will use their answers to deport them, from participating in the census altogether.” Why is it vital that everyone participate in the census, regardless of citizenship status? Because the federal government uses this data for determining the amount of money communities receive via federal programs and whether representation in the House of Representatives needs to be altered, among other uses. Read more about it at GQ, below.

GQ article 

In this article, the superb journalists over at City Lab detail how the EB-5 immigrant investor program has been exploited by moneyed US developers who have used the program to funnel foreign investment money—that was intended to alleviate high unemployment rates—into luxury real estate projects. The EB-5 program was created in 1990 to stimulate foreign investments and to create US jobs in exchange for an immigrant visa (a.k.a. a green card). Foreign investors can invest either $500,000 or $1,000,000 (the minimum investment of $500,000 is allowed if the investment is made in a rural or targeted high unemployment area, otherwise the foreigner must invest $1,000,000) and they must create at least 10 US jobs. Of course, at the prospect of getting huge infusions of foreign capital, US developers quickly began abusing the program by gerrymandering their real estate projects into “targeted high unemployment areas” (to garner more foreign investors at the $500,000 level) by cobbling together their luxury real estate projects with census tracts that have high unemployment. More oversight of the program is sorely needed but let’s be clear that the abusers of this program are not the immigrants themselves—it’s the US developers and their consultants/attorneys who put together these skewed census tract maps. 

city lab article 

And in other terrible news, Trump has proposed that asylum seekers now must pay in order to apply for asylum. Remember, asylum is a protective program that offers safe harbor for folks fleeing from persecution. These aren’t moneyed foreigners like those detailed in the City Lab article—these are people who often fled home with nothing more than the clothes on their back. Asylum is meant to provide protection for the most vulnerable and these fees are unconscionable. 

NYtime article 

To really drive home the point about how important immigration is to our country, check out this article from the Columbus Dispatch. Without international migration Ohio would have shrunk in population, year over year since 2010. Immigrants are vital to towns in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan (my home state!)—sometimes I think people forget that a growing economy is inextricably tied to a growing population. With baby boomers retiring and birthrates down (you can read more about that, here) we need to replace our workforce and our tax base. So, if increasing diversity, gaining unique perspectives, and welcoming those fleeing persecution isn’t persuading you that immigration is a good thing…just remember that it’s also good for your pocketbook.

dispatch article 


  • Census: Trump wants to add a citizenship question to the census, an act which will decrease the number of participants in the census and thereby hurt communities by providing less in federal programs and less representation in congress

  • EB-5 via program : the EB-5 immigrant investor program has been exploited by moneyed US developers who have used the program to funnel foreign investment money—that was intended to alleviate high unemployment rates—into luxury real estate projects.

  • Asylum:  Trump has proposed that asylum seekers now must pay in order to apply for asylum

  • Immigrants in the Rust belt: are helping buoy the population and providing necessary growth in places where baby boomers are retiring and there are not enough young folks to replace them

Thanks for your support!

Events to look out for in the Bay Area:

MAY 24: Vibha (aka Dr. Gupta) to give a talk on undocumented patients barriers to healthcare at Kaiser Richmond hospital

June 3: Vibha (aka Dr. Gupta) to give a talk to UCSF medical students on Undocumented immigrants, healthcare and asylum medical exams

June 29: Bar night at Tonic Bar SF- guest NINS bartenders will be slinging drinks and 10% of drink tabs as well as ALL TIPS will go to our partners- the National Immigrant Justice Center and Pangea Legal Center! Come out!

September (date TBD): pro immigrant BBQ/Party/fundraiser!

vibha gupta