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We’re Thankful for these Precautions before Trump Takes Office

There are a number of measures that LGBTQ APIs should do to protect themselves and their families under a Trump Administration. NQAPIA has consulted with immigration lawyers, public policy experts, and other attorneys to identify issues of particular importance to LGBTQ Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders.

Many of these applications will not be granted until after Trump takes office. But, even if Trump tries to eliminate everything that we have won, it is virtually impossible for changes to be retroactive. Applications filed today will be decided and granted on the basis of the laws and rules while Obama is in office. So, take care of these soon.


Transgender LGBTQ APIs

Apply or Update Passport

passportPresident Obama’s administration allowed for people to change and update their federally-issued identity documents, including gender-marker on passport and names on social security cards. Trump has vowed to eliminate all of Obama’s executive directives on January 20. You must apply and make and changes now. Adult passports last 10 years, so they will outlive a Trump presidency.

Apply for Passport from the U.S. State Department


Young Undocumented Immigrants

Renew DACA

President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by executive order so that undocumented young people could be free from deportation and gain work authorization. Trump has given mixed messages on DACA, and at one point, he stated he has “no problem” with it.

If you are fearful about what Trump will do with current DACA enrollees, know that NQAPIA, countless advocacy organizations, and high powered lawyers will do everything that we can to protect you and your family.

If you have DACA now but it will expire in the next 6 months, file a mandatory renewal now. Not filing a renewal could subject you to noncompliance and makes you a higher priority for investigation. Those who follow the rules, as they are now, are less likely to be gone after.

If you have never applied for DACA, you should consult with an immigration attorney before filing a new application. Click here to find an attorney.


Health Insurance through Obamacare

Apply Now


www.healthcare.gov
Apply for Obamacare
Update your Obamacare Plan

If you do not have health insurance, you should apply for Obamacare through the federal system or one of your state health exchanges. Open Enrollment is now. Although Trump and Congressional leaders have promised to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, that will not happen at least for another year. The more people who are in the system now, the more difficult it will be to get rid of the system. Efforts to repeal may also “grandfather” current enrollees and allow them to maintain their health insurance while declining to take any new people.


Immigrants Eligible for Green Cards or Naturalization

Apply Now

Green Card ExampleIf you are eligible for a green card or eligible to become a U.S. citizen, you should file your application now. They take several months to process, but becoming a permanent resident or a citizen substantially increases your security to live in America. If you have any criminal history or entered the U.S. without permission, consult an attorney before filing any paperwork.


LGBTQ Immigrants Seeking Asylum

Apply Now

LGBTQ people are persecuted in many countries in Asia and the Pacific. Foreign nationals may seek political asylum in the United States based on the sexual orientation or gender-identity. But, federal law has a strict one-year time limitation for people to file an application from the date of entry. This cannot be undone by Trump. If you are seeking political asylum you should consult with an attorney, and apply now.


Same-Sex Marriage is Safe

Don’t Get Married if You Don’t Want To

Graphic of the White House in Rainbow ColorsThe right for same-sex couples to legally marry was decided by the US Supreme Court and is based on the US Constitution. Trump cannot undo marriages or take the right away. Even if he appoints an anti-marriage Supreme Court Justice, the majority of justices that ruled twice in favor of marriage equality will remain on the Court. There is no need to rush to get married now.


LGBTQ APIs with Children

Protect Your Relationship with Them

If you have a child, you should apply for a second-parent adoption or a joint adoption if you do not have a legally recognized relationship to the child, like birth. Even if your name is listed on the child’s birth certificate, that may not be enough.


Personal Protections

last will and testamentTrump may eliminate the Obama Administration’s hospital visitation policy. So, it is prudent to have family planning protections in the event of a tragedy. This includes a Last Will and Testament, Health Care Proxies, Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney, designation of guardians, and Living Wills. It is not limited to couples but includes single people and people in more dynamic relationship and family structures.


Need a Lawyer?

Ask Us

The above are prudent steps to take, but everyone’s legal situation is different.
To speak with an attorney for a legal consultation, complete NQAPIA’s Legal Intake Form, or find an attorney from this list.No Human is Illegal

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Immigration Relief Executive Action Fact Sheet

NQAPIA Immigration Relief Executive Action Fact Sheet

People can currently apply for the DACA program that was announced on June 15, 2012. The expanded DACA program and DAPA is being delayed by partisan politics. We encourage people to prepare for the new programs. We will email our list as we have more information on the executive order.

President Obama announced several executive actions on immigration that can change the lives of millions of individuals. His announcements came after years, if not decades, of organizing and advocacy from immigrant communities.

NQAPIA commends the President for his actions and so many LGBT people, especially those who are Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, or Pacific Islander will enjoy relief from deportation.  Yet, we also urge law-makers to consider those still left behind. Many LGBTs will not benefit if they are not married or have children. Those who got into trouble with the law, no matter the reason or if dues have been paid, are excluded.  NQAPIA will press for more comprehensive solutions that include all of our community and we encourage those who qualify to APPLY for current programs.

Chinese Fact Sheet
Hindi Fact Sheet
Chinese & English Fact Sheet
English Fact Sheet

What is an executive action on immigration?
What does the executive action do, and who qualifies?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)
How do I prepare?
Where can I find assistance to apply?
Are there any risks?
Other people who will benefit.
Enforcement of immigration laws.
Where do we go from here?
Learn more

WHAT IS EXECUTIVE ACTION ON IMMIGRATION?

On June 15, 2012, the President announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program allowed certain undocumented individuals to lawfully stay in the U.S. and gain work authorization. Since June 30, 2014, 685,544 people have participated in DACA. The Asian countries with the largest estimated number of youth eligible are South Korean (33,000), Philippine (15,000), China (15,000), India (11,000), and Pakistan.

On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced expansions to the DACA program and a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.  This was done through a series of executive memoranda issued by the Department of Homeland Security.  DACA and DAPA will provide temporary relief from deportation for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants.

The programs are not a permanent fix to our broken immigration system, which only Congress can do.

 

WHAT DOES THE EXECUTIVE ACTION DO AND WHO QUALIFIES?

DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA)

planningAdministered by USCIS, DACA provides temporary relief from deportation for certain people brought to the United States as minors. It allows individuals who qualify to stay in the U.S. and obtain a work permit. DACA is granted on a case-by-case basis and does not provide a path to lawful permanent residence or U.S. citizenship. The DACA program was expanded by the November 20th announcement but the revisions are not yet in place. Check www.uscis.gov for updates.

Eights guidelines to qualify for the DACA program:

  1. Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. The expanded DACA program will eliminate the age ceiling.
  2. At least 15 years of age at the time of application or in removal proceedings.
  3. Entered the United States before the age of 16.
  4. Continuously resided in the United States (U.S.) since June 15, 2007 to the present time. The expanded DACA will change this date to January 1, 2010.
  5. Physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of applying for DACA.
  6. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012.
  7. Either currently in school, graduated from high school, completed a GED or equivalent, or a veteran honorably discharged.
  8. Not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

In coming months, work visas will be extended from two to three years. Current DACA recipients should check with USCIS about how these changes will impact them. DACA recipients must reapply every two years. Recipients should start the process between 120-150 days before expiration.

Find videos about DACA in Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Thai as well as receive legal advice in these languages at Asian American’s Advancing Justice and guides in Bengali, Urdu and Hindi at South Asian Americans Leading Together.

To apply for DACA or renew DACA, visit www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.

Many LGBT young people, who were undocumented, have benefited from the DACA program and have gained legal status and work authorization.

DEFERRED ACTION FOR PARENTAL ACCOUNTABILITY (DAPA)

Info TableThe Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), administered by USCIS, provides temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). DAPA lasts for three years and should be ready for application in late May 2015.

Qualification for the DAPA program:

  1. Have a U.S. citizen or LPR son or daughter (by blood or adoption) as of November 20, 2014
  2. Continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 2010
  3. Physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014, and at the time of applying
  4. Have no lawful immigration status on November 20, 2014
  5. No criminal convictions (including a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors), no gang involvement or terrorism, not a recent unlawful entrants, and others
  6. Pass a background check that includes a criminal and immigration background check

Check www.uscis.gov to confirm start dates and the application process.

Now, parents of LGBT people can benefit and gain legal status.

 

HOW DO I PREPARE

  1. Save money (at least $465 for the application fee).
  2. Get proof of identity such as a government-issued passport, birth certificate or ID card.
  3. Gather proof of relationship to U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) son or daughter.
  4. Gather proof of how long you have been in the U.S.
  5. Gather any criminal records.
  6. If you have a criminal conviction, check with an attorney to expunge, vacate, or modify this conviction.
  7. If you have a prior deportation or removal order, check with an attorney.
  8. Stay informed and know your rights!

For more information go to http://nilc.org/toptenwaystoprep.html.

 

WHERE CAN I FIND ASSISTANCE TO APPLY?

Fees to apply for DACA and work authorization are currently $465, with limited fee waivers for people in need. USCIS is expected to begin accepting applications for expanded DACA in February 2015 and DAPA in May 2015. Seek advice from trusted legal immigration service provider and be aware of scams.

For clinics who serve API and/or LGBT populations, please email nqapia@gmail.com

 

ARE THERE ANY RISKS IN APPLYING FOR RELIEF?

No Human is IllegalEvery person who applies for administrative relief must go through a national security and criminal background check. Anyone who qualifies for relief will be entered into a national database, and there will be a simple fine for the unauthorized entry.  We encourage people to apply, and be prepared. BE AWARE OF FRAUD. Work with trusted legal immigration service providers. This is temporary relief, and we can work together to change our nation’s immigration laws and create a permanent pathway to citizenship.

 

 

OTHERS WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION:

EMPLOYMENT AND STUDENT VISAS

President Obama’s executive actions also included proposed changes in the visa programs. Individuals should talk to an immigration lawyer, and check www.uscis.gov for updates.

  • Expansion of degree programs eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which authorizes foreign students from U.S. schools to gain work experience after graduation.  Students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields will be allowed to work for a longer period in the United States.
  • Greater visa portability for employment-based permanent resident status.
  • Provide employment authorization (H4 visa) to spouses (including same-sex spouses) of H1B foreign workers who have been approved for a green card.

Several other changes are being proposed, and a task force is working to modernize the visa processing system.  Check http://www.dhs.gov/immigration-action for more information.

Many LGBT Asians and South Asians come to the United States on professional worker (H1B) visas or as foreign students (F-1). These changes will extend the time that they can stay in the US and improve their experience with securing a visa.

 

HOW ABOUT ENFORCEMENT OF IMMIGRATION LAWS?

DHS has discounted the problematic the Secure Communities program as a result of organizing and advocacy around the nation.  However, a new Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) focuses on national security, border security, and public safety.  Unlike Secure Communities that focused on pre-conviction arrests, PEP prioritizes detention and deportation post-conviction and continues to rely on cooperation with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. DHS programs such 287(g) and Criminal Alien Program still exist. DHS continues to expand the opening of new detention centers including those for families and children. If you need support with immigration enforcement concerns, please contact American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Work permits for foreign students graduating in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) are expanded for 2.5 years under Optional Practical Training (OPTs).  OPT will be expanded to include many more fields of study.  A significant number of LGBT students studying in the United States as F-1 student visa holders are from Asian countries.  Oftentimes, they come to the US to study, and then they come out.  Moreover, the administration is considering an expansion of the fields of study that qualify for OPTS.

This is a step in the right direction, but NQAPIA and our allies will still monitor the programs for the impact on LGBTs.

 

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Queer Asian Undocumented UnafraidAdministrative relief is a temporary solution. Our community must organize and press Congress for a permanent solution to our broken immigration system. The executive action also excludes community members with criminal convictions and LGBT people who do not have legally recognized partnerships or supportive families. The administrative action allows for profiling of communities under concerns of “national security” or “gang violence” with limited civil liberty protection.

As a community we must work to protect all of our family members.
Donate
 or contact nqapia@gmail.com to support NQAPIA’s work on immigration.

 

LEARN MORE

Contact us at nqapia@gmail.com with any questions.

 

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.

English – Immigration Relief Executive Action Fact Sheet

Chinese – Immigration Relief Executive Action Fact Sheet

Chinese and English – Immigration Relief Executive Action Fact Sheet

Hindi – Immigration Relief Executive Action Fact Sheet