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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:

Immigration Injunction 101: What’s Happened So Far, and What We Are Waiting For Now

The process and language around the injunction blocking the expanded DACA & DAPA programs can get confusing. President Obama announced executive action on immigration in November 2014, but expanded DACA and DAPA have been caught in a legal debate ever since. Here are some fast facts for LGBTQ AAPI folks to stay informed!

Arpaio vs. Obama:

  • Joe Arpaio, our favorite xenophobic & racist sheriff from Arizona (remember S.B. 1070?) immediately filed a court case against the Obama administration. He claimed that the Executive Action would directly harm him because “criminals would not be deported” under the new law.
  • Arpaio lost this challenge.

Texas vs. United States:

  • 26 states filed a lawsuit against the United States, claiming that the Obama administration overstepped their constitutional authority with the Executive Action on November 20th.
  • The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction, or temporary block, of the expanded DACA & DAPA programs, pending a trial. This is why these programs have not yet opened for applicants.
  • In response the U.S. government asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a higher federal court, for an emergency “stay,” or pause, on the injunction during the appeal process. In other words, the Obama administration asked the court to allow expanded DACA & DAPA to proceed while the lawsuit continues. On May 26th, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request for a stay. So for now, the new programs are still not running.
  • The U.S. government also appealed the preliminary injunction itself to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, on an expedited basis. A hearing for this appeal will take place on July 10th in New Orleans. This is the next big step in this court case.
  • If the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rules to uphold the injunction against the Obama Administration, next steps for the U.S. government could include:
    • Asking for a review by all 15 judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. (Currently, only 3 judges are hearing this case.)
    • Appeal the decision of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • If the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down the preliminary injunction , and rules in the Obama administration’s favor, we expect the expanded programs will finally be open for applicants.

As a reminder: the injunction & court cases are only regarding expanded DACA & DAPA. If you qualified for DACA before Executive Action in November, you should still apply! Contact sasha@nqapia.org if you have questions or need support.

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.

Immigration Corner

On February 16, just two days before the expanded DACA was supposed to open, a federal district court in the Southern District of Texas temporarily blocked its implementation. As of March, the district court in Texas still has not ruled on the government’s request for an emergency stay.  As a result, the Department of Justice is seeking an emergency stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans. As of April, the court has not yet issued its decision, but we need these lawful, common-sense policies implemented as soon as possible.

What does that mean?

The expanded DACA and DAPA programs are temporarily put on hold until the decision is overturned. The federal government is seeking an emergency stay, so people can apply for the expanded DACA and DAPA programs as soon as possible.

Read more from the National Immigration Law Center: Texas v. US District Court and Asian Americans Advancing Justice Coalition: Immigration relief after Texas v. United States.

Why did this happen?

In December, 26 attorneys generals and governors filed this lawsuit as an anti-immigrant political and PR stunt. They chose to file this in a very conservative area in Texas and with anti-immigrant U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen.

Texas decided that the federal government had not followed the Administrative Procedures Act’s requirements. The federal government did not use those procedures because the initiatives are discretionary—which exempts them from those procedures.

What will be the verdict?

Texas is not following legal precedent. In a public statement, DHS said, “The Department of Justice, legal scholars, immigration experts and even other courts have said that our actions are well within our legal authority.” President Obama has said, “The law is on our side, and history is on our side.”

Read more about potential reactions from other states.

What is the timeline?

We do not know when things will be put off hold, but those who are eligible to apply should continue applying for the original 2012 DACA program and prepare for the expanded DACA program and DAPA program when they do open.

Read more about the stay.

We are expected to hear a ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court any day. At the beginning of July, the courts will hear oral arguments regarding the Department of Justice’s appeal on Judge Hanen’s ruling.

Why does this matter?

There are 11 million undocumented immigrants, and over 1.3 million of them are of Asian descent. There are 4.4 million people waiting in visa backlogs, and 1.6 million of them are in Asia. Nearly 500,000 APIAs may benefit from the expanded DACA and DAPA programs. In all, these programs allow families to stay together and remove fear of deportation.

Read more immigration statistics.

What else is going on?

The Senate tried to defund DACA, DAPA and immigration policy changes dated Nov. 20 or 21, 2014 as well as those made on/after Jan. 9, 2015. Fortunately, Senator Susan Collins’ bill S. 534 failed on procedural vote in the Senate and has been rejected by NCAPA, policy experts, DREAMers, the ACLU, and more.

DHS is funded and will not go through a shutdown. Read more.

Cross Check Arrests and Deportations

From March 1-5, 2015, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) led nationwide raids targeting undocumented immigrants. They arrested 2,059 individuals from 94 countries—majority of the people arrested had misdemeanors. It has been reported that 15  of the people arrested had DACA. Many of those arrested are subject to immediate removal from the US, while others are in ICE custody, awaiting a hearing or pending travel arrangements for removal in the near future. President Obama committed to helping our communities, but the actions of his administration are tearing our families apart. We do not support these operations that promote profiling, detention and deportation of our communities. If you or a community member have been caught in a raid and need support, please contact pabitra_benjamin@nqapia.org.

Read the DHS press release.

What about visa updates?

On April 1, 2015, USCIS will accept H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2016 cap (65,000). The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the 65,000 cap. We recommend that you file within the first five business days. If they receive an excess of petitions during that time, they will begin to use a lottery system to randomly select who fits within the cap. Those who do not make the cap will automatically be rejected.

As of May 26, 2015, the spouse and children of H-1B visa holders may apply for an H-4 visa. Those with H-4 visas may obtain a driver’s license, pursue education, open a bank account, and may obtain a tax ID for employment purposes.

Read a commendation from NCAPA.

What is NQAPIA’s work on immigration?

You can find out more about NQAPIA’s work on immigration here.

President Obama issued a request for information on the subject of modernizing and streamlining the US visa system. NQAPIA provided feedback in regards to streamlining visa processing for family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visas, operational changes for visa petitions, how to fully and fairly allocate visas each year, sharing priorities in data collection, and more. We are waiting for a response from USCIS. Check out NQAPIA Comments for Visa Modernization RFI.

We also released factsheets to help you better understand President Obama’s Executive Order including the expanded DACA and DAPA. Factsheets are in English, Chinese, and Hindi.

We are working to ensure all LGBTQ communities are included in upcoming relief. Tell President Obama, Don’t Discriminate Against LGBTQ Immigrants. Join NQAPIA, Familia Trans Queer Liberation Movement, and other partners in asking President Obama to include LGBTQ immigrants without children in upcoming relief. Sign the petition!

Join us for RISE UP! Week of Action on Immigration. Demand an end to profiling, detention and deportation of our communities.

NQAPIA is regularly involved in advocacy meetings with DHS and the White House, and we react and respond with the needs of our community. If you would like to work with us on immigration or other issues, please contact pabitra_benjamin@nqapia.org.

Get updates at our Immigration Corner.