LGBT Asian Americans Raising Our Voices on Immigration Reform

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance meets with Members of Congress to push for a commonsense and compassionate immigration reform

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 25, 2013 

Washington, DC: The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance delivered over 2,700 postcards to the House of Representatives last week calling for commonsense immigration reform that includes all families, including LGBT families.  As the Congressional session is nearing its close, NQAPIA is bringing voices of Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities and our allies from across the country to keep the Congress’ attention focused on the need to fix the broken immigration system.

NQAPIA’s immigrant rights campaign has focused on bringing AAPI LGBT people affected by the broken immigration system to the fore.  The “Uncovering Our Stories” campaign highlights over a dozen personal narratives that clearly demonstrate the need for reform.  This multimedia campaign includes a color brochure, online narratives, and videos of diverse voices in our communities.

“As Asian Americans, we know that the ability to keep our families together from an overly aggressive deportation system and a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, over 10% of which are from our communities, is at stake,” said Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director.  “We also know as LGBT people that what constitutes a family is also at stake, and the overly narrow definition of family is something we are all too familiar with.  We also fight for a humane immigration system that allows real opportunities for asylum seekers and reform that keeps people, especially transgender immigrants, out of harm’s way in the detention system.”

NQAPIA staff and volunteers met with a number of members of Congress directly in its efforts to garner support for immigration reform:

 

Representative Judy Chu (D-CA): Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

NQAPIA’s commitment to comprehensive immigration reform is crucial to fixing our broken borders. Their “Uncover Our Stories” campaign reminds us all of the human toll of our current immigration system. As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I work every day to ensure the needs of the AAPI community are addressed in any reform package and I am thrilled to have NQAPIA as an ally in this effort. Together, we’ll continue the fight to keep all families together.

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Rep. Chu meeting with Chinese American lesbian immigrant

 

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO): Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus

I was proud to have met with members of the National Queer Asian Pacific American Alliance who are working tirelessly on the need to pass a commonsense and compassionate comprehensive immigration reform bill.

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Rep. Polis accepting postcards

 

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL): Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

The support for immigration reform is broad and deep and goes way beyond the Latino community.  Yesterday I heard from members of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance on how this issue impacts their community. Each of us has a responsibility to do our part.  It is going to take all of us being persistent and consistent in our call for reform — that is what will win us reform that keeps families together and moves the country forward.

Rep. Gutierrez and NQAPIA

Rep. Gutierrez and NQAPIA contingent

 

Representative Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI): Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

“The issue of LGBT rights and the debate on immigration stand front and center in Hawaii; both are central to the fight for equality. The National Queer Asian Pacific American Alliance has delivered over 400 cards signed by my constituents demanding commonsense and compassionate immigration reform. The voice of Hawaii’s people are reflected in the efforts of our LGBT AAPI community to effect change in marriage equality and immigration, and I join them in pursuing true equality.”

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Team NQAPIA delivering 400 postcards to Rep. Hanabusa’s staff

 

Representative Ami Bera (D-CA): Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

‘The issue of immigration for LGBT people in our AAPI communities is something we don’t often talk about, but provides critical perspective in this fight for immigration reform. LGBT community members are uniquely impacted by the broken immigration system and hearing stories directly from the community was important for me.’

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Rep. Bera discussing immigration with NQAPIA