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Help Us Save DACA Today!

#DefendDACA & Speak Out for Our Communities

Save DACA

Six months ago, the Trump administration announced a future end to the DACA program unless Congress acts to preserve it. Today is that day. DACA’s cancellation will make 800,000 undocumented young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children again fear deportation and separation from their family, friends, and lives here. We must defend DACA with all we’ve got.

We believe that all people deserve to live, work, and study in the US without fear of deportation. To keep many in the LGBT and API community safe, join us in urging Trump to save DACA by supporting a clean DREAM Act.

Overtake Trump’s Social Media!

Last month, you might have read NQAPIA’s OpEd on the impact of DACA on the LGBTQ community and the need for a #cleanDREAMact, written by Executive Director Glenn Magpantay. Make sure that Trump also reads it by tweeting the link: bit.ly/dacaoped.

Twitter%29Symbol

Tweet this message @realDonaldTrump

Protect our #LGBT and #API communities by supporting a #CleanDreamAct free of a #BorderWall, expanded detention beds & deportations, & changes to the #FamilyImmigration system. I #DefendDACA w @NQAPIA & Glenn bit.ly/dacaoped

Notice Something New?

NQAPIA is switching over our client databases, and we have all sorts of new tools! These social media callouts are some of them. Look forward to more new changes from NQAPIA in the near future.

#DefendDACA   nqapia.salsalabs.org/savedacafighttrump/

OpEd: The Dream Act & the LGBTQ Community: So Much at Stake

OpEd By Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director

Take Action: Send an email to Congress

Congress must pass the Dream Act. So much is at stake for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) undocumented young people.

In September, Donald Trump said he would cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program unless Congress passes the Dream Act. President Obama created DACA which has helped thousands of LGBTQ undocumented young people to work, study, and improve their lives in this country, without the fear of deportation. Many of them come from Asian counties.

The Dream Act will preserve DACA and will provide LGBTQ undocumented young people with employment opportunities, educational opportunities, and even a path to citizenship.

Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders (APIs) are the fastest growing racial group in the United States today and the largest segment of new immigrants.

Immigration Statistics

169,000 APIs are eligible for DACA. 267,000 undocumented immigrants are LGBT, of which a disproportionate share is API. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, over 16,000 people from South Korea, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, and China have benefitted from DACA.

Donald Trump’s cancellation of DACA will subject 800,000 potential beneficiaries to again live in fear of deportation. For LGBTQ people, the stakes are even higher unless Congress passes the Dream Act. Thousands of LGBTQ young people could be deported. Many of them to countries where they cannot live their full and authentic LGBTQ lives.

Many counties in Asia and the Pacific prohibit same-sex relations, such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga. In Indonesia, police shaved the heads of trans women and publicly caned a gay couple for having consensual sex. In most Asian and Oceania countries, transgender people cannot legally change their gender-markers on their IDs, and LGBTQ people are not protected by anti-discrimination laws.

Tony Choi is a 24-year-old, gay, Korean DACA beneficiary from New Jersey. In 2010, his options were to live a closeted life taking care of this 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. Because of DACA he is serving the community.

Bupendra Ram is a South Asian Dreamer from Fiji who came to the United State when he was only 2-years-old. He is the first person in his family to attain a college degree.

Pro-Dream Act ProtestersA broad coalition of civil rights groups, businesses, educational institutions and religious communities support the Dream Act. The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) has been pushing for a clean Dream Act with no enforcement provisions, mobilizing 10,0000 postcards, phone calls, and emails to US Senators and US Representatives.

Congress needs to hear from people NOW more than ever. Send an email to Congress to support a clean Dream Act and call House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell at 202-225-3121 and demand that they support LGBT undocumented youth by passing a clean Dream Act.

# # #

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a nationwide federation of LGBTQ Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (API) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT API groups, develop leadership, and expand collaborations to better challenge LGBT-bias and racism.

#SaveDACA   bit.ly/savedaca   #CleanDreamAct

Support LGBTQ API Undocumented Immigrant Youth

Earlier this month, we had another attack on immigrants: Trump called for an end to DACA. Since then, he has seemed to flip-flop on if he supports undocumented youth, but we need your unwavering support. We believe undocumented LGBTQ API people deserve to live, work, and study in the US without fear of deportation.

What’s Next?

Trump wants to cancel DACA unless Congress acts and passes the DREAM Act. Cancelling DACA puts the lives of 800,000 undocumented young people who were brought to the US as children at risk of deportation. NQAPIA demands a clean DREAM Act to save DACA without any enforcement provisions.

How Do I Help?

Send an email to your congresspeople.

Join us in pressuring Congress for a clean DREAM Act. By simply typing in your street address and zip code, we’ll prepare an email to send to all of your congresspeople.

Dear Congressmember:

As a member or supporter of LGBTQ Asian American, Southeast Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islander communities, I urge you to support a clean DREAM Act that does not have any enforcement provisions to save DACA.

The DREAM Act and DACA are already a compromise for so many people in our communities. I urge you to support a DREAM Act that is clean of…

Increased funding for border enforcement or security measures that will militarize the Southwest border;

Expanded detention beds and deportations including those with a criminal conviction;

The building of a border wall;

Changes to the family immigration system that will severely limit Asian immigration; and/or

Changes that further chips away immigrants’ access to public benefits.

169,000 APIs are eligible for DACA. There are an estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants who are LGBT. If Trump ends the DACA program, many LGBT API youth could be deported to countries that criminalize homosexuality.

We believe that all people deserve to live, work, and study in the US without fear of deportation. To keep many in the LGBT and API community safe, I urge you to save DACA by supporting a clean DREAM Act.

We Need You.

NQAPIA is the only queer group getting the message out to the LGBTQ community. We’ve got to show that the LGBTQ political agenda is broad and includes immigrants’ rights.

Send your email to Congress now!

I Need Help!

If you have DACA and need an attorney to help on a renewal, fill out our application for legal help: bit.ly/legal-intake-form. October 5th is the deadline to renew DACA if your benefits expire by March 5, 2018. We want to help all of our community stay safe.

#NQAPIA bit.ly/savedaca #DefendDACA

NQAPIA Delivers 971 Postcards to Trump to Preserve DACA

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.”

Take Action

Sign the National Immigration Law Center petition to help defend DACA.

#HereToStay nqapia.org/uncovering-our-stories #DefendDACA

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

View this message as an email

Live with Dignity, Live without Fear

Did you know that undocumented young people can gain work authorization and be free from being deported? Give yourself a sense of security by applying for DACA.

What is DACA?

In 2012, President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It allows certain undocumented young people to lawfully stay in the US and gain work authorization. Since its inception, more than 650,000 undocumented immigrants have received DACA’s benefits and protection. Learn more about President Obama’s immigration relief executive action through NQAPIA’s fact sheet.

Live with Dignity, Live without Fear

daca_story_kitWhen Kit was five-years-old, she and her mother moved from Korea to LA. In community college, she began to cultivate her love for community and passion for challenging institutions. She has been engaged through advocacy and organizing on immigrant rights, and she is currently an intern at her college’s Asian American resource center—but it wasn’t an easy path for her to get there.

 

Kit’s family kept an “open secret.”
When she wanted to volunteer at a hospital,
her mom told her to volunteer for something else.
When she wanted to travel to see family in Korea,
her mom told her that money was the primary obstacle.
When she wanted to apply for college and the FAFSA,
her mom told her she didn’t have a social security number. Although she did not know she was undocumented until later in high school, she felt the restrictions of an undocumented person navigating a broken immigration system early throughout her childhood.

Not everyone’s story plays out like that. Some people grow up knowing they are undocumented, and they live with this secret buried within them. Kit was disappointed that she couldn’t immediately go to college, but she understood why her mother chose not to tell her explicitly about her status. Kit’s mother wanted to protect her, because from personal experience, her mother understood the inhibitory fear of knowing and understanding the implications of being undocumented.

When DACA was introduced in 2012, Kit enrolled because she was eligible and able, and it opened many doors of opportunity. After receiving DACA, Kit is now eligible for substantially more scholarships than before. She can now apply to the jobs she wants to work at, and she can travel freely within the United States. Anyone who is undocumented is in a position to be deported, but with DACA, Kit can live her life without the fear of immediate deportation. Today, she is able to live life with a little more dignity—one in which she exercises more autonomy and agency.

Ready to Apply?

Learn the qualifications for DACA. Once a person qualifies, the application fee is $465 and documents are necessary to prove identity, entry, residency, and no criminal records. Free or low-cost legal assistance is available by searching NQAPIA’s legal assistance list. NQAPIA can also assist you with finding an attorney when you fill out this DACA intake form.

You are not alone. Kit says, although it may be hard to trust the government, we need to trust our communities. Share your stories and share this email with one another. You never know who may be hiding this secret and who may need your help.

Media Release: LGBT Asians Deeply Disappointed in U.S. Supreme Court Decision Denying Immigrants’ Rights

MEDIA RELEASE
For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 23, 2016
For More Information, Contact: Glenn Magpantay, 917-439-3158, glenn_magpantay@nqapia.org

LGBT Asians Deeply Disappointed in U.S. Supreme Court Decision Denying Immigrants’ Rights
But is relieved that Court upholds affirmative action

Week of Action #RiseUp - New York CityWashington, DC … Today, a badly divided U.S. Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in the case U.S. v Texas. The decision upholds a lower court’s ruling to block President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration, which expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and created a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.

NQAPIA Executive Director Glenn D. Magpantay said, “We are extremely disappointed in today’s ruling which would have benefited up to a quarter million LGBT Asian Americans. Immigration laws and policies have a direct impact on the lives of LGBT people. Today’s decision diminishes our equality.”

NQAPIA, with the pro bono assistance of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, had filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in the case illustrating the impact of the case on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. View the brief in DropBox or as a PDF.

The President’s expanded DACA and DAPA immigration programs could have helped up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including 400,000 Asians, to be free from deportation and gain work authorization. An estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants are LGBT, of which a disproportionate share is API.

Fortunately, the original DACA program remains unaffected, and more than 100,000 undocumented Asian Americans remain potentially eligible for this program but have not yet applied. Learn more about DACA on NQAPIA’s website.

Magpantay continued, “NQAPIA vows to educate more LGBT Asian Americans to apply for DACA and to provide legal assistance.”

In another decision, the Supreme Court also upheld the University of Texas affirmative action-based admissions programs. NQAPIA has supported affirmative action to ensure that more Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander young people can obtain a college degree.

Last April, NQAPIA and local groups organized a national Week of Action on Immigrants’ Rights protesting the US v. Texas lawsuit in New Orleans and New York City.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a nationwide federation of LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT AAPI groups, develop leadership, and expand collaborations to better challenge homophobia and racism.

# # #

Media Release: LGBTs Press U.S. Supreme Court to Support Immigrants’ Rights

NQAPIA MEDIA RELEASE
For Immediate Release: Monday, April 18, 2016
For More Information, Contact: Glenn Magpantay, 917-439-3158, glenn_magpantay@nqapia.org

LGBTs Press U.S. Supreme Court to Support Immigrants’ Rights
NQAPIA’s Amicus Brief “Immigrants’ Rights are LGBT Rights”
Available at https://www.dropbox.com/s/2v1vg4s82mt1v3f/US_v_TX.pdf?dl=0 or US v. Texas

Glenn speaking against US v Texas
Standing in front of the New York Supreme Court, NQAPIA
Executive Director Glenn Magpantay speaks out against US v TX

Washington, DC … Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case U.S. v Texas. The case challenged President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration, which expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and created a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), with the pro bonoassistance of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, had filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in the case illustrating the impact of the case on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
Brief is here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2v1vg4s82mt1v3f/US_v_TX.pdf?dl=0 or US v. Texas.

NQAPIA’s co-counsel James Kim at McDermott Will & Emery LLP sat in the courtroom to hear oral argument. An update will be provided.

The President’s immigration programs could help up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including 400,000 Asians, to be free from deportation and gain work authorization. An estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants are LGBT, of which a disproportionate share is API.

“NQAPIA’s brief shows the Supreme Court how immigration laws and policies have a direct impact on the lives of LGBT people. It also demonstrates the ethnic diversity of the undocumented immigrants, telling the stories of LGBT Asian Americans and Southeast Asians,” said Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director.

NQAPIA’s brief strategically draws upon the Court’s reasoning in Obergefell v. Hodges, where LGBT-friendly Justice Kennedy ruled that the Constitution protect same-sex couples to legally marry. The brief discusses the human dignity of LGBT people and the protection of children of LGBT parents.  Where the Court holds that same-sex marriage protects LGBT families, NQAPIA argues that the expanded DACA and DAPA programs also protects LGBT families. Family is especially strong among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

NQAPIA’s brief highlights the stories of LGBT Asian immigrants.

  • Sandra Meetran is a 16 year-old student in Rhode Island. She is a citizen but her father was deported to Laos when she was younger which made her coming out much more challenging. Her family would have benefitted from DAPA.
  • Jose Antonio Vargas is a 34 year-old Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, filmmaker, and media producer. Jose is undocumented and entered the U.S. when he was 12 from the Philippines. Because he is now over 30, he is ineligible to apply for deferred action from deportation, but could apply for the expanded DACA.
  • Tony Choi is a 24 year-old gay Korean undocumented beneficiary of the original DACA program (for those under 30) from New Jersey. In 2010, his options were to live a closeted life taking care of this mother with cancer or return to Korea where his LGBT identity would subject him to harsh hazing for two years in the mandatory military service. He successfully applied for DACA and has helped dozens of other undocumented youth apply for DACA and continued fighting against deportations.

These stories demonstrate how the expanded DACA and DAPA programs protect LGBT APIs from harassment, discrimination and hardship.http://www.nqapia.org/wpp/programs-campaigns/uncovering-our-stories/

The brief shows how the lower court’s suspension of the programs place LGBT families in extremely difficult circumstances. Undocumented LGBT parents and children must (a) return to their home countries where LGBT people are persecuted, jailed, and even sentenced to death or (b) parents must leave the United States and abandon their children without any or with minimal family support. The expanded DACA and DAPA programs allow undocumented LGBT individuals and LGBT individuals with undocumented family members to stay in the U.S. and keep families together.

Lower courts suspended the immigration programs. The programs would specifically benefit undocumented immigrants over 30 years old who entered the United States as minors (expanded DACA) and undocumented parents of citizen and legal permanent resident children (DAPA). http://www.nqapia.org/wpp/immigration-relief-facts-2015/

Joining NQAPIA as co-signers to the brief are variety of LGBT organizations from various regions of the county, various ethnicities, allies, and youth and transgender groups.

Local LGBT Asian/ South Asian organizations 
Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Portland
Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York
Gay Asian Pacific Alliance – San Francisco
hotpot! Philadelphia
Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance (QAPA) Boston
SALGA-NYC
United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA) Seattle

Local Organizations 
API Chaya – Seattle
Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF)
Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement – Los Angeles
New York City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center
VAYLA (Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association) – New Orleans

National LGBT organizations 
Immigration Equality
National Center for Transgender Equality
National LGBTQ Task Force
PFLAG National
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
The Trevor Project
Transgender Law Center

Last April 2015, NQAPIA and local groups organized a National Week of Action on Immigrants’ Rights protesting the US v. Texas lawsuit in New Orleans and New York City.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a nationwide federation of LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT AAPI groups, develop leadership, and expand collaborations to better challenge homophobia and racism.

# # #

Media Release: Immigrants’ Rights are LGBT Rights

MEDIA RELEASE 
For Immediate Release: Friday, March 4, 2016
For More Information, Contact: Glenn Magpantay, 917-439-3158, glenn_magpantay@nqapia.org

LGBT Groups File Amicus Brief at U.S. Supreme Court for Immigrants’ Rights
“Immigrants’ Rights are LGBT Rights”

Washington, DC. Today, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), with the pro bono assistance of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the case U.S. v Texas. The case challenged President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration, which expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and created a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.

The programs could help up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including 400,000 Asians, to be free from deportation and again work authorization. Lower courts suspended the programs. The programs would specifically benefit undocumented immigrants over 30-years-old who entered the United States as minors (expanded DACA) and undocumented parents of citizen and legal permanent resident children (DAPA).

Tony speaking in New York

Standing in front of the New York Supreme Court,
DACA recepient Tony Choi speaks out against US v TX

NQAPIA’s brief informs the U.S. Supreme Court of the special concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders (API). An estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants are LGBT, of which a disproportionate share are API.

According to Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director, “The Supreme Court is extremely supportive of LGBT people, and we aim to show how immigration laws and policies have a direct impact on the lives of LGBT people.” He continued, “We also lift up the voices of Asian Pacific Islanders to demonstrate the ethnic diversity of undocumented immigrants.”

The brief draws up the Court’s reasoning in Obergefell v. Hodges, where Justice Kennedy ruled that the Constitution protects same-sex couples to legally marry. The brief discusses the human dignity of LGBT people and the protection of children of LGBT parents. Where the Court holds that same-sex marriage protects LGBT families, NQAPIA argues that the expanded DACA and DAPA programs also protect LGBT families. Family is especially strong among Asian Pacific Islanders.

NQAPIA’s brief highlights the stories of LGBT Asian immigrants:

  • Sandra Meetran is a 16-year-old student in Rhode Island. She is a citizen, but when her father was deported to Laos when she was young, it made her coming out much more challenging. Her family would have benefitted from DAPA.
  • Jose Antonio Vargas is a 34-year-old, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, filmmaker, and media producer. Jose is undocumented and entered the U.S. when he was 12 from the Philippines. Because he is now over 30, he is ineligible to apply for deferred action from deportation, but he could apply for the expanded DACA.
  • Tony Choi is a 24-year-old, gay, Korean undocumented beneficiary of the original DACA program (for those under 30) from New Jersey. In 2010, his options were to live a closeted life taking care of this mother with cancer or return to Korea where his LGBT identity would subject him to harsh hazing for two years in the mandatory military service. He successfully applied for DACA and has helped dozens of other undocumented youth apply for DACA and continued fighting against deportations.

These stories demonstrate how the expanded DACA and DAPA programs protects LGBT APIs from harassment, discrimination and hardship.

The brief shows how the lower court’s suspension of the programs place LGBT families in extremely difficult circumstances. Undocumented LGBT parents and children must (a) return to their home countries where LGBT people are persecuted, jailed, and even sentenced to death, or (b) parents must leave the United States and abandon their children without any or minimal family support. The expanded DACA and DAPA programs allow undocumented LGBT individuals and LGBT individuals with undocumented family members to stay in the U.S. and keep families together.

Joining NQAPIA as co-signers to the brief are variety of LGBT organizations from various regions of the county, various ethnicities, allies, youth, and transgender groups:

Local LGBT Asian/South Asian Organizations 
Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Portland
Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York
Gay Asian Pacific Alliance – San Francisco hotpot! Philadelphia
Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance (QAPA) Boston
SALGA-NYC
United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA) Seattle

Local Organizations 
API Chaya – Seattle
Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF)
Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement – Los Angeles
New York City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center
Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association (VAYLA) – New Orleans

National LGBT Organizations 
Immigration Equality
National Center for Transgender Equality
National LGBTQ Task Force
PFLAG National
Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
The Trevor Project
Transgender Law Center

The filing of the amicus brief follows up on NQAPIA’s National Week of Action on Immigrants’ Rights in April 2015 in a dozen cities and local protests against the US v. Texas lawsuit in New Orleans and New York City.

# # #

DACA Legal Assistance

Although expanded DACA and DAPA are inaccessible due to a deadlock by the Supreme Court, you may still apply for the original DACA. Be sure to seek assistance from trusted clinics, and be aware of scams.

NQAPIA’s Aid

If you need help, fill out our DACA intake form, and NQAPIA will help match you with legal assistance.

City Search

We have compiled a list of legal service providers who can provide FREE legal assistance. These groups are willing to support LGBTQ clients, and they have some Asian language ability. Check out this list of legal groups. The list includes groups in the following cities:

Atlanta, GA • Boston, MA • Chicago, IL • Durham, NC • Houston, TX • Los Angeles, CA • Madison, WI • Minneapolis, MN • New Orleans, LA • New York, NY • Newark, NJ • Oakland, CA • Philadelphia, PA • Portland, OR • Providence, RI • San Diego, CA • San Francisco, CA • San Jose, CA • Seattle, WA • Washington, DC

National Search

Legal groups across the nation may provide assistance for free or at a low cost. The specific groups listed here have not been vetted by NQAPIA to be LGBTQ-friendly, but if you need a wider search, you can search by state, county, and zip code on the following websites: