Today, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) delivered 971 postcards from LGBTQ Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, Pacific Islanders (APIs) and allies from across the country urging Mr. Trump and Congress to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program has helped thousands of LGBTQ API young people trying to work, study, and improve their lives in this country. The elimination of DACA will take away employment opportunities, educational opportunities, and even the slightest relief from fears of deportation.
APIs are the fastest growing racial group in the United States today and the largest segment of new immigrants. 169,000 APIs are eligible for DACA. There is an estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants who are LGBTQ, of which a disproportionate share is API. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, about 16,000 people from South Korea, the Philippines, India, and Pakistan have benefitted from DACA.
Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director, said: “DACA was never a perfect program, but it was a step in the right direction. President Trump’s mean-spirited cancellation of DACA will force 800,000 people to live in even greater fear. Hard-working DACA young people are the ones who are truly making America great.” For example:
Tony Choi is a 28 year-old, gay, Korean DACA beneficiary from New Jersey. In 2010, his options were to live a closeted life taking care of his mother with cancer in the US or return to Korea where his LGBTQ identity would subject him to harsh hazing for two years in the mandatory military service. Korean military penal law also criminalizes homosexuality. Watch Tony’s story.
Bupendra Ram is a South Asian from Fiji who came to the United States when he was only 2 years old. With the support of his mother, he is the first person in his family to attain a college degree. Read Bupendra’s story.
These stories demonstrate how DACA and other programs have protected LGBTQ APIs from harassment, discrimination, and hardship.
Sasha W., NQAPIA Organizing Director, added: “By taking away DACA, like enacting the Muslim Ban, the Trans Military Ban, and more, Trump continues to make large numbers of the American people vulnerable to continued attacks. We will never stop fighting with and for our undocumented LGBTQ API people, and all queer and trans people of color.”
Magpantay continued, “NQAPIA, which has long fought hard to preserve DACA and for immigrants’ rights, will take our fight to Congress. We urge Congress to codify DACA into law.”
Sign the National Immigration Law Center petition to help defend DACA.
#HereToStay nqapia.org/uncovering-our-stories #DefendDACA