Census figures show more than 5,000 Sri Lankans living on Staten Island, and in recent years, members of that group have been quietly mobilizing to become involved politically. NY1's Amanda Farinacci reports as part of our Asian-American heritage coverage.

Their gatherings happen a couple times a month, and for this small group of Sri Lankan immigrants, this table is where they talk work, family and politics. It's also where they've hosted a who's who of Staten Island political heavyweights, who often seek their endorsement during election season.

"We get calls from the parties, you know, to support them," said Kadir Iswara, a Sri Lankan immigrant. "We always have open arms. We entertain in our houses, have fundraising."

Working as doctors or in finance, the men have donated thousands to political campaigns for the last 30 years. They're part of a Sri Lankan population whose numbers have swelled in recent years on Staten Island.

2010 census figures show some 5,000 Sri Lankan immigrants now call Staten Island home, though many in the community believe their population is double that size.  

But as immigrants from the south Asian country, the men fully immersed themselves in the island's political scene.

"You have your own ideas of what things need to be done, either back in Sri Lanka, like what was going on with human rights violations, or back here," said Indra Ananda, a Sri Lankan immigrant.

The group has formed personal relationships with Rep. Dan Donovan, former Borough President James Molinaro, District Attorney Michael McMahon and former Rep. Michael Grimm. Their endorsements cross party lines.

"The go-to guy for that community, or the go-to elected official for that community, where they call you when they need help, where you can call them when you need help. It's a reciprocal relationship," said Brian Browne of St. John's University. "And I think what you have is a target-rich, still politically uncultivated group, that can be worked for the future."

Because of the many cultural similarities that exist between Sri Lankans and Indians, it should come as no surprise that the groups have formed an unofficial alliance here on Staten Island. Much of the outreach and activism that takes place starts at a Hindu temple. That's why the temple has become a must-visit stop for any candidate during campaign season -- and where the group meets if they're trying to get a message to the community at large.