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#RedefineSecurity Week of Action

Media Release: Hundreds of LGBTQ APIs & Allies Demand that the DHS #StopProfilingUs

MEDIA RELEASE 
For Immediate Release: Friday, March 8, 2016
For More Information, Contact: Sasha W., Organizing Director, sasha@nqapia.org

Hundreds of LGBTQ APIs and Allies Demand that the
Department of Homeland Security #StopProfilingUs

Washington, DC. Today, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance delivered a petition with hundreds of signatures from LGBTQ APIs and our allies to Jeh Johnson, the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), demanding that DHS create an enforceable guidance that bans legalized profiling.

We have three main demands:

  • DHS, ICE, and all immigration enforcement agencies must define and prohibit profiling based on race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity in border security, national security, and state and local law enforcement.
  • A clear process must address allegations of inappropriate profiling. This process must include profiling by local law enforcement and procedures should be developed with immigrants’ rights advocates.
  • When inappropriate profiling is used in immigration enforcement, any resulting detention or deportation is improper and should be revoked, as is already done in criminal proceedings where wrongfully obtained evidence is suppressed.

In December 2015, NQAPIA staff hand-delivered a letter with over 40 national and local community organizations to DHS Deputy Secretary Mayorkas. We have yet to receive a satisfactory response to our concerns.

You can see the full text of the petition—and add your name—here.

# # #

Ask President Obama to End Racial and Religious Profiling, Detention, & Deportation!

compassion

The President’s Immigration Action paved a path for administrative relief for many people in our communities. It also created a new set of priorities for immigration enforcement that have resulted in thousands of people being profiled, detained, and deported in a matter of months.

Racial and religious profiling is rampant all over the country, including in immigrant communities. There is little to no accountability of law enforcement. The revised Department of Justice’s guidance on profiling sets a standard but has no accountability measures and exempts the Department of Homeland Security’s enforcement agencies.

Sign the Petition to Demand Accountability!

The Immigration Action states that vulnerable populations should not be prioritized for detention, yet LGBTQ folks continue to be locked away in detention centers where they are harassed and beaten. Trans* folks continue to be housed in centers based on their assigned sex, not gender identity, and put in solitary confinement for their supposed “protection” from others in the detention center.

Sign the Petition to Demand Accountability!

Communities of color, including Cambodians, continue to be fed into the school-to-deportation pipeline. Many from Cambodian communities are locked away and in the process of being deported back to a country from which they took refuge.

Tell President Obama to hold his administration accountable to ending racial and religious profiling, detention, and deportations.

Sign the Petition to Demand Accountability!

bit.ly/end_profiling_detention_deportation

#RiseUpNQAPIA

 

Help us collect petitions!

Download the President Immigration Enforcement Petition PDF, and send them to glenn_magpantay@nqapia.org. Email intern@nqapia.org with any questions.

NQAPIA Joins LGBTQ Organizations in Responsding to 2014 DOJ Guidance on Profiling

Today, December 9, NQAPIA joined LGBTQ organizations in responding to the U.S. Department of Justice Guidance on Profiling released on December 8, 2104.

A national coalition of LGBTQ organizations advocating on criminal justice issues including the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), the Columbia University Center for Gender and Sexuality Law, Streetwise and Safe (SAS) and the American Civil Liberties Union welcomed yesterday’s announcement of a long awaited update to the 2003 guidance banning racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies.

The new guidance announced by Attorney General Eric Holder expands the existing ban on racial profiling by federal law enforcement agents to also bar the use of sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity, along with national origin and religion, to any degree in the initiation of law enforcement interactions.

As the nation continues to be rocked by the all too often deadly effects of profiling and discriminatory policing practices illustrated by the killings of Mike Brown, Eric Gardner, Tanesha Edwards, Aura Rosser, and so many others, LGBTQ organizations welcomed this historic move to recognize and redress police profiling of all members of communities of color, including women and LGBTQ people of color. From federal investigations in New Orleans and Puerto Rico, to research by LGBTQ organizations including Lambda Legal, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National LGBTQ Task Force, to the voices of communities with whom we work on the ground, it is clear that police profiling of LGBTQ people – particularly people of color – is an everyday occurrence. The expansion of protections against profiling by federal law enforcement agencies based on sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity is both an historic and critical step toward remedying these injustices.

However, the revised guidance includes broad exceptions that dampen the effect of these important protections. The carve-outs for Customs and Border Patrol, Transportation Security Administration, and certain anti-terror investigations are simply unacceptable. Racial profiling is not an investigative technique—it is discrimination, period.We urge the Administration to expand these protections to reach all federal and federally funded law enforcement activities, including and especially those which target Muslim communities and take place at our borders, which until all too recently were closed to LGBTQ immigrants. LGBTQ migrants continue to face significant barriers to entry and profiling and discriminatory policing by CBP and TSA agents, and Muslim LGBTQ people are among those targeted by unacceptable profiling practices pursued in the name of “national security.”

Additionally, while setting an important example for law enforcement agencies across the country, the guidance is neither mandatory nor does it apply to most state and local law enforcement activities. The Guidance also doesn’t include clear accountability measures beyond internal investigations, which do not allow for transparency or independent accountability. As a result, the guidance will not address the majority of profiling faced by LGBTQ people.

Accordingly, the undersigned organizations, consistent with the recommendations made in A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations to Address the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living with HIV, urge state and local law enforcement agencies to adopt similarly expansive profiling bans without exceptions, and law enforcement agencies at all levels to mandate and effectively enforce them.

Finally, we urge Congress to take action to pass an expanded version of the End Racial Profiling Act which includes protections from profiling based on gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation in order to ensure that the federal ban against profiling becomes the law of the land, and offer effective protections to all people affected by police profiling.

Signed,

American Civil Liberties Union

Audre Lorde Project

The Center for Constitutional Rights

The Equity Project

Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement

Immigration Equality

National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP)

National Immigrant Justice Center

National LGBTQ Task Force

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM)

Southerners on New Ground (SONG)

Streetwise and Safe (SAS)

Transgender Law Center

NQAPIA Statement on Grand Jury Decision Regarding the Shooting of Michael Brown

NQAPIA stands in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown and all those who protest injustice.  As LGBT Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders, we know too well the pains of those who suffer under unbridled police misconduct and other law enforcement officials. We stand arm in arm with the community of Ferguson to demand justice for Mike Brown. Black lives matter and we do not accept the decision of the Grand Jury.

Violence perpetrated by state actors in the streets of Ferguson, at immigration detention center, or at the border must be curtailed and the safety and security of all people of color–African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans — and especially young people, immigrants, people of transgender experiences must be safeguarded. Law enforcement agencies must be held accountable to the communities they swore to serve and protect.

The Grand Jury’s refusal to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown is a statement by our Justice System that if you wear a badge, you do no not have to be accountable to the same laws as the people in this nation. It is a statement that black lives don’t matter and that American judicial system will continue to use two different water fountains: One for those who wear the badge and another for “colored” people.

NQAPIA calls on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Ferguson Police Department for systematic civil rights violations. We also call on the U.S. Department of Justice to issue guidance on racial and religious profiling to provide safeguard our communities from state actors.

NQAPIA calls on our queer Asian community to rise up and protest injustice; to stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson. Join protests around the nation to demand justice for Mike Brown.

#MikeBrown #BlackLivesMatter #Solidarity

QUEER ASIANS REVEL IN VICTORY BUT WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT

Breaking News: President Obama Announces Action on Immigration; Queer Asians respond

For Immediate Release: November 21, 2014
Media  Contacts:
Pabitra Benjamin, NQAPIA Organizing Director
202-805-5405, pabitra_benjamin@nqapia.org.
Roberta sklar 917-704-6358
(For Interview opportunities)

QUEER ASIANS REVEL IN VICTORY BUT WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT

 The President’s action is a great step forward but the devil, and our dignity, are often in the details.” – Pabitra Benjamin, NQAPIA   

On Thursday Nov 20, President Obama, in an historic announcement of Executive Action regarding immigration reform, talked about how immigrants came to the United States to contribute to American’s successes. “At the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance we know that LGBT immigrants, whether they are on a visa or undocumented, also contribute to the LGBT community’s successes. The LGBT community is strengthened because of LGBT immigrants,” said Aya Tasaki, an immigrant, law student, and NQAPIA Board Member.

NQAPIA applauds the President’s actions,” said Pabitra Benjamin, NQAPIA Organizing Director.  “It will grant administrative relief to millions of undocumented immigrants.  The President’s action will have tremendous impact on the lives of so many LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islanders through the expanded Deferred Action (DACA) Program; visas for workers in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Math; and change in those prioritized for deportation.   We know that so many LGBT AAPIs who are here on worker visas, entered as childhood arrivals, will benefit from these actions.”

The elimination of Secure Communities, where local police are given the power to enforce complicated immigration laws, will curb some of the state violence that so many immigrants experience and fear. However, the continued focus on enforcement through the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), increase in border security and renewed focus on ‘terrorism’ will still allow law enforcement agencies to cast a broad dragnet in criminalizing and profiling our communities.

We were also dismayed that the President did not include the parents of Dreamers for relief, create a new non-familial category for LGBT immigration, access to healthcare for undocumented immigrants or address alternatives for transgender people in detention.

LGBT AAPIs across the country worked incredibly hard for the past several years to urge Congress to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill and the President to take bold administrative action.   We collected thousands of postcards, made hundreds of phone calls, met with lawmakers, and had demonstrations across the country.  The President’s actions do not address every one of our issues but its a major step in the right direction.

These changes, within the limits of executive power are temporary and do not provide a path to citizenship.  Now is the time for the Congress to turn away from partisan politicking, and focus on humane legislation that will give us true comprehensive Immigration reform. Over the coming months, NQAPIA will work with the administration through implementation and to address these issues for the LGBT AAPI community. We’ll continue to press Congress to enact permanent, inclusive, and comprehensive immigration reform.  For NQAPIA, no one can be left behind in reform.

“The devil, and our dignity, are often in the details,”  Benjamin concluded.

###

The National Queer Asian Pacific IslanderAlliance (NQAPIA) is a federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI)organizations.  We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT AAPIgroups, develop leadership, promote visibility, educate our community, enhance grassroots organizing, expand collaborations, and challenge homophobia and racism.

Uncovering Our Stories: LGBT Asian/ South Asian/ Southeast Asian/ Pacific Islander Immigrants Speak OUT on Immigration

(Photo:  Jose Antonio Vargas, openly gay undocumented immigrant and founder of DefineAmerican.com, speaks at 2012 NQAPIA Conference)

 

As the debates around comprehensive immigration reform heat up, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) seeks to ensure that the real life concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) immigrants are brought to the fore and are part of the discussion.

NQAPIA is seeking queer AAPI immigrants to tell their stories and document them for inclusion in our work talking with policymakers.  We are especially seeking individuals who can talk about their experiences, troubles, goals, and ideas for reform with:

– being undocumented

– becoming a U.S. citizen and naturalization

– seeking or renewing their visas (either profession H1B or student F-1)

– petitioning for family members or same-sex partners

– applying for political asylum

– attending school

– domestic abuse or law enforcement misconduct

– racial profiling, detention, or deportation

In 2010, we shared four such stories at our New York LGBT Immigration Forum.  In 2013, we’re working with partners all over the country to raise up our voices on these issues.  One of the most powerful tools we have are our stories- real life examples of why the broken immigration system needs to be changed and how it uniquely affects us as LGBTQ people and our families.

Can you share your story with us?  Do you know someone else who can?  Contact us at nqapia@gmail.com for more information.  Stories shared by 2/28 will be able to have impact as action heats up in March and April.

Anonymity and confidentiality will be preserved.  Stories can be shared under the protection of a lawyer.  No personal information will be publically distributed without the person’s consent.  We will work with people to make sure they are best prepared to tell their stories in the best possible way.

NQAPIA’s goal is to identify the most pressing issues in immigration reform that will meaningfully improve the lives of LGBTQ AAPI immigrants.

 

Thank you,

Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director

 

NQAPIA Resources

NQAPIA Submits Statement at Senate Hearing on Hate Crimes

On September 19, NQAPIA joined a standing room only audience (which spilled over into an overflow room) to witness the Senate Hearing on Hate Crimes and Domestic Extremism.  The hearing focused on hate crimes, particularly in the aftermath of the devastating shooting of a Sikh gurdwara (temple) in Oak Creek, WI.

 

NQAPIA submitted testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will now be included in the proceedings from the Hearing.  The testimony is below.

Included as part of its testimony is the  joint statement of solidarity from the LGBT community that NQAPIA drafted and was signed by over 30 national and local LGBT organizations from around the country.

 

photo credit: SAALT

 

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights

815 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

 

Re:            Hearing, September 19, 2012, Hate Crimes and the Threat of Domestic Extremism

Dear Subcommittee Members:

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) applauds the Subcommittee on holding today’s hearing on this very important topic.  Events around the country and abroad have put these issues of intolerance and extremism at the top of the news, and we think it is important to call for reasoned voices and non-violence to address the issues of the day.  As a federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations, we know the impact of violence in our communities because we are subject to the intersections of racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and anti-religious sentiment.   

The unconscionable rise of violence in recent months that has devastated our communities has made these intersections and their impacts real for NQAPIA and the communities we serve.  The South Asian LGBT organizations we work with tell us all too real stories about discrimination and bigotry they face, not only because of the color of their skin and their religious traditions, but also because of how they live their lives as LGBT people in their families and communities.  Our work with faith partners such as the Queer Muslim Working Group reveals the impact that not only anti-Muslim sentiment from religious fundamentalists has on our communities, but the impact of homophobia and transphobia as well.

NQAPIA drafted an LGBT sign-on letter that over 30 local and national organizations joined in solidarity with the victims of the August 5 shooting at the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, WI and the August 6 fire at a mosque in Joplin, MO to specifically articulate the impact that such violence has on us as LGBT communities (that letter is included here as part of our statement of record).  The debates around extremism and violence only became more fraught with urgency when a gunman shot at the Family Research Council a few short days later and we joined another statement from the LGBT community to oppose violence as a means of resolving differences.

Hate crimes continue to be a serious problem.  Recent FBI statistics that document over 6,600 hate crimes may actually be undercounting the severity of the problem.  A 2005 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics suggests that the actual figures may be as high as 15 times what is being reported.  The domestic extremism that opens up the political and cultural space to somehow rationalize violence and hate crimes has no place in our communities.  We know that religious freedom and First Amendment protections are not mutually exclusive and that both can and must be held in balance to ensure our civil liberties.

Violent acts that target people for the characteristics that make them different defy the pluralism that makes America thrive.  The intersections of hate violence and domestic extremism are complex and we commend you for taking this on.  They encompass a range of issues related to homophobia, xenophobia, and anti-religious sentiment both locally, and in an international context.  We urge the Committee to make findings on the causes of and solutions to this violence and to take action to prevent hate before it is too late to act.  The times that we live in demand solutions that think big and refuse to oversimplify and we stand ready to work with you to create and implement those solutions.

 

Sincerely,

Ben de Guzman

Co-Director for Programs

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

 

NQAPIA Statement: Gaurav Gopalan and South Asian LGBT Communities in Washington, DC

For Immediate Release: September 25, 2011

Contact:

Ben de Guzman

NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs

Phone: 202-422-4909

E-mail: ben_deguzman@nqapia.org

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is saddened to hear about the death of Gaurav Gopalan in Washington, DC. Gaurav died on September 10, 2011 and his death was pronounced a homicide ten days later. As a federation of Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian/ gay/ bisexual/ transgender/ queer (LGBTQ) organizations around the country, NQAPIA reaches out to its local member organization, KhushDC, the local DC based South Asian LGBT group that counted Gaurav as one of its members.

We strongly support and stand in solidarity with KhushDC’s work not only to wrap its arms around Gaurav’s chosen family in DC, but to hold authorities accountable and to demand safety for all our communities. Gaurav was a charming personality and a vibrant part of the family and community KhushDC has built in DC with its partners and his death diminishes us all.

NQAPIA and KhushDC have been working with an emerging coalition of DC Queer People of Color (QPOC) organizations and activists in response to Guarav’s murder, which is just the most recent example of a tragic and unconscionable string of violence against the LGBTQ community, the unfortunate majority of which have hit people of color and transgender people. Response to Gaurav’s murder was hampered as accurate details struggled to emerge, including conflicting initial accounts of his death, and then the autopsy to determine his death as a homicide. This confusion is an unfortunate residue of the lack of visibility and understanding our communities have with law enforcement, with the media and too many other institutions.

Gaurav’s murder has struck a nerve with South Asian, AAPI, and LGBT communities around the country. Rakesh Modi from Oakland, CA, NQAPIA’s Co-Chair, made the following statement:

“Many of us did not know Gaurav, never even heard of him. But his untimely death under mysterious circumstances brings to light not just the uncertainty of life, but also concerns of danger lurking just around the corner. As we mourn and grieve Gaurav’s passing, we also strengthen our support to one another. Let the death of this young, bright life bring us closer, in healing and in compassion and in the warmth of the thought that we are there for each other.”

NQAPIA has compiled resources and information about what is happening and how to support local communities in response to Gaurav’s death:

  • Organizations that serve South Asian, AAPI, and LGBT communities and which can and should be strong partners in providing support to Gaurav’s community and advocacy in response to his death:

Local

National

 

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance is a federation of Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander lesbian/ gay/ bisexual/ transgender organizations and is a project of the Tides Center. For more information, e-mail nqapia@gmail.com or visit http://www.nqapia.org