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LGBT Asians/South Asians Urge U.S.  Supreme Court to Strike Down Trump’s  Anti-Muslim Travel Ban

Read the LGBT Amicus Brief at bit.ly/17-956

Tomorrow on April 25, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Donald Trump’s third iteration of his anti-Muslim Travel Ban. The ban, issued by Executive Order, bars people from certain majority Muslim countries from coming to the United States.

LGBT Asian/South Asian groups submitted an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down. The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), with the pro bono assistance of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, spearheaded the brief illustrating the impact of Trump’s travel ban on the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Brief is here: bit.ly/17-956.

Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director and Counsel on the Amicus Brief, said, “Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban has a direct impact on the lives of LGBT people and tears families apart. The defense relies on some of the cases and legal theories that supported the internment of Japanese Americans.”

He continued, “We’ve been here before. In 1987, President Regan instituted an anti-HIV Travel ban. In 1952, the U.S. Supreme Court banned homosexuals because they were persons of ‘bad moral character.’ In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act banned Chinese from immigrating to the United States. Let’s never forget. Never again.”

Arguments

The amicus brief details the oppressive conditions for LGBT people living in the countries named in the travel ban, where homosexuality is criminalized and LGBT people are persecuted. The brief explains how Trump’s ban prevents LGBT people in those countries from joining their families and loved ones in the United States, increasing their exposure to persecution in their home countries.

Moreover, the brief argues that the ban deprives U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of their constitutionally-protected liberty interests in maintaining familial relationships with their loved ones whose safety is jeopardized by their sexual orientation or gender identity. Because the ban’s narrow—and legally required—exceptions lack meaningful rules guaranteeing equal treatment of LGBT visa applicants, Trump’s travel ban disproportionately denies LGBT people the ability to reunite with their loved ones in the United States.

Co-Signers

8 signed-on organizations

Seven (7) LGBTQ South Asian and Asian Pacific Islander organizations across the country join as co-amici to sign on to the brief:

  • API Equality-Los Angeles
  • API Equality-Northern California (APIENC)
  • Invisible to Invincible (i2i): Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago
  • KhushDC
  • Massachusetts Area South Asian Lambda Association (MASALA)
  • Queer South Asian Collective (QSAC)
  • South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association of New York City (SALGA-NYC)
  • Trikone Northwest

In addition to these groups, the NYC Gay & Lesbian Anti Violence Project; Immigration Equality; LGBT bar associations in New York (LeGaL), Chicago (LAGBAC), San Francisco (BALIF), and Los Angeles; and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) in Boston also joined.

Shristi Pant, a member of QSAC in Boston, said, “As an organization for South Asian queer and trans folks, we have a duty to support our Muslim community members, as well as Muslim folks from other areas of the world. This travel ban is just one aspect of the anti-Muslim violence that is being perpetuated in and by the U.S. and one that deeply affects Muslim LGBTQA+ folks in need of refuge from the violence they already face.”

Sammie Ablaza Wills, Director of API Equality-Northern California, commented that, “The anti-Muslim and anti-refugee ban is political fear mongering, directly impacting many in our communities. As LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander people, we understand that we cannot accept policies that dehumanize our Muslim and refugee family members. APIENC is dedicated to working towards safety and freedom for our people, and we will fight the Muslim ban at the airports, on the streets, and in the courts.”

Anne Watanabe, i2i core member in Chicago further elaborated, “As Asian Americans, we remember the disgraceful U.S. history of 120,000 Japanese American and Japanese people being forced into detention camps as a result of wartime hysteria filled with racism. We are now seeing this racist history repeat itself against Muslims and other targeted communities.”

Prior Actions

API Equality-LA works in solidarity with LGBTQ Muslims and those affected by racial profiling. In 2017, API Equality-LA took action on 9/11 highlighting the experiences of queer and trans Muslims and South Asians through a vigil hosted at Los Angeles City Hall. Its Indi(visible) Campaign advocates for a holistic approach towards immigration equality that encompasses challenging Islamophobia and the Muslim Ban, defending DACA and undocumented communities, and protecting LGBTQ immigrants, particularly trans immigrants of color.

Last fall, before the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments on Trump’s second version of the travel ban, NQAPIA and several of the co-signing groups organized awareness raising actions in seven (7) cities—Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC—protesting the violence, harassment, and profiling that LGBTQ South Asians and Muslims have endured since 9/11.

“For the past two years, on the anniversary of 9/11, KhushDC has participated in and organized direct actions to raise awareness of Islamophobia. These actions bring attention to the increased profiling and discrimination faced by Muslim people in the U.S.,” said Anish Tailor of KhushDC.

The effort, entitled “#QueerAzaadi,” featured community funerals to lift the names of Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim, trans women, African Americans, and undocumented immigrants killed in hate crimes; storytelling speak outs of LGBTQ Muslims and experiences of violence in the last 16 years; and mock checkpoints targeting white people to replicate the profiling that South Asian, Muslim, API, and people of color experience at airports and government buildings. 300 people participated in the actions in seven (7) cities that unveiled the interlocking systems of Islamophobia, Transphobia, Xenophobia, and Anti-Blackness.

Voices of Queer Muslims

NQAPIA has also published the personal stories of LGBT Muslims and South Asians sharing their experiences of policing and profiling in writing at nqapia.org/redefinesecurity-stories and in video at nqapia.org/redefinesecurity-videos.

Historical Timeline

1882 – Anti-Chinese Travel Ban
In 1882, Congress adopted and the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Chinese Exclusion Act, the first piece of federal legislation that singled out a minority group for invidious discrimination and barred their entry. It was not until 1943 that Chinese people could naturalize to become U.S. citizens. The Act was passed after many Chinese people had built the transcontinental railroad which unified the United States East and West.

1952 – Anti-LGBT Travel Ban
From 1952 to 1990, LGBT people were excluded from the U.S. because they were deemed to be of “psychopathic personality.” The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law and its application to homosexuals. Lower courts further denied the naturalization of LGBT immigrants because they were persons of “bad moral character.”

1987 – Anti-HIV Travel Ban
From 1987 to 2010, President Reagan issued an Executive Order, which President Bush extended, barring people with AIDS or who were HIV+ from entering the United States. Congress then codified the HIV+ exclusion into federal law in 1993. It was not until 2010, under President Obama, when the travel restriction was eliminated.

2017 – Anti-Muslim Travel Ban
Trump issued an executive order preventing people from 6 majority Muslim counties (Syria, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia) and all refugees from entering the United States.

# # #

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 LGBTQ API groups, develop leadership, and expand collaborations to better challenges anti-LGBT bias and racism.

#NeverAgain nomuslimbanever.com #QueerAzaadi

Not Another Death Threat: Queer and Trans Muslim Realities in America

By Almas Haider

There should be a name for the particular depression of living as a queer trans Muslim of color in America. A specific PTSD of walking the streets in constant fear of being racialized as Muslim and have your gender and sexual orientation questioned. The pleasure of not just having one day a year, September 11th, to expect extra harassment, but surprise holidays like “Punish a Muslim Day.” The joy of calling your mother and father, asking them their plans for the day, and telling them to “be mindful, keep your phone charged, and go home and call me if you don’t feel safe outside today.” Because to be a queer trans Muslim of color in America means to live in a state of anticipation of what hate violence we can expect next.

In the past two years since Trump’s campaign and subsequent election, there has been a surge in anti-immigrant legislation and hate violence. According to a study conducted by South Asians Americans Leading Together (SAALT), from Election Day 2016 to Election Day 2017 there have been “302 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities in the United States.” 82% of these incidents were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment, a “45% increase from the year leading up to the 2016 election cycle, levels not seen since the year after September 11th.” [SAALT]

This rapidly escalating level of hate violence was not created in a vacuum. This cycle of violence is directly tied to the racist and xenophobic legislation and systems of the United States. The latest manifestation of this has been the Muslim Travel Ban which will be heard by the Supreme Court on April 25th. The executive order, “bans citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, suspends the entry of all refugees for at least 120 days, and bars Syrian refugees indefinitely,” creating yet another form of institutionalized Islamophobia in the U.S. [ACLU].

In response, on March 26th the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) and seven LGBT South Asian and API groups submitted an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Donald Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban. The brief showed how the ban has a direct impact on the lives of LGBTQIA people and tears families apart.

This brief is in part a direct response to an attempt to pinkwash the Muslim Travel Ban. Language included in the Ban says it will protect Americans by barring entry to “those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation” [Human Rights First]. This insinuates that people living in Muslim-majority countries are queerphobic and transphobic, a marketing and political tool most infamously being used by Israel to justify Palestinian genocide.

How quintessentially American: the Ban would bar queer and trans immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers from seeking a complicated form of “safety” in the U.S., while claiming that the ban will help keep queer and trans people safe. This will in turn further the narrative of queerphobic and transphobic tyrants reigning in Muslim majority countries, justifying ongoing U.S. imperialism and intervention in the Middle East and creating more refugees. And the amount of physical and verbal violence queer and trans Muslims of color experience within the U.S. will continue to increase.

As the policies of the state become normalized in our everyday lives, the next turn in this cycle of queer, trans, and gendered islamophobia is the increase in hate crimes against our communities. For queer and trans Muslims of color, these attacks target multiple identities that we hold. According to the 2016 FBI Hate Crimes Statistic report, hate crimes against racial and ethnic minorities drastically increased in 2016. 25% of incidents were motivated by anti-Muslim bias alongside 18% anti-queer and anti-trans bias incidents. This makes queer and trans Muslims of color disproportionately likely to be victims. [FBI report]

Through our organizing as queer and trans Muslims, we aim to change that.

For the last two years, on September 11th, we have been crafting actions across the U.S. The purpose of these actions has been to educate, empower, and hold our community who experience the nuances of being profiled as queer Muslims of color. Our actions, drawing inspiration from Black Lives Matter and the movement for Palestinian liberation, have ranged from mock “security” checkpoints to guerilla performance art.

We are questioned and detained not just because of the languages we speak, our ancestral homes, and places of worship and communal gathering, but also because of how we express our gender and sexual identity through our appearance and the political movements we align with. Through these actions we have focused on the ways that Islamophobia and transphobia reinforce each other, how Black Muslims are particularly impacted by queer and gendered islamophobia, and building solidarity internally within our LGBTQIA community.

On the 15th anniversary of September 11th, we spearheaded 20 local organizations to create “checkpoints” in high-traffic areas of Washington, D.C. The Washington Post showed how we aimed to replicate various “checkpoints” and experiences that Muslim Americans and those perceived to be Muslims have to go through every day, including being stopped by the Transportation Security Administration, being verbally and physically harassed in businesses, and routinely called terrorists.

In 2017, after a year of direct and blatant attacks on our communities by the Trump administration, we focused on creating spaces of not only resistance, but also of healing and safety. We named the Muslim Travel Ban and other forms of state violence as the root cause of queerphobic, transphobic, and Islamophobic hate crimes. We drew connections between queerphobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-Blackness, xenophobia. We questioned how we show up for one another. And we committed and successfully created spaces for all of our communities to mourn both the lives and the safety that has been taken from us since the election.

Through this work we as queer and trans Muslims of color have recognized and grown our power in a country that seeks to alienate, imprison, and murder us within and outside its borders. And as we wait in anticipation for the the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Muslim Ban, we begin our plans for an annualized and formal nationwide series of actions on September 11th. We now look to September 11th and every day, not with fear, but with the resolve and strengthened ability to create a different world. And ask our accomplices to be ready to join us.

Almas Haider is the Racial Justice and Immigrants’ Rights Committee Chair of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance and Community Partnerships Manager at South Asian Americans Leading Together.

You can learn more about and get involved with the work of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance to combat Islamophobia, transphobia and queerphobia at www.nqapia.org.

Texas SB4’s Impact on LGBTQ South Asians – Why We Should Care

Texas SB4’s Impact on LGBTQ South Asians – Why We Should Care

By Amrit Uprety of KhushATX and Sasha W. of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)

This past week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld Texas Senate Bill 4 (SB4) one of the most rigorous anti-immigrant laws passed since Donald Trump took office.

Last May, Governor Greg Abbott signed SB4 into law which would allow racial profiling and subject anyone perceived to be an immigrant — in other words, all communities of color — to unlimited questioning about their immigration status, all by local law enforcement officials with little or no training in immigration law. It prevents any city in the state of Texas from becoming a “sanctuary city,”  and levies heavy penalties against local officials who push back against federal immigration authorities.

Resistance to the bill was clear and rapid.  Just one day after the bill was signed into law, city and county officials in Texas filed a lawsuit to block implementation. The four largest cities in Texas joined the lawsuit.  Then, LGBTQ Asian and South Asian  community groups in Texas, including KhushATX in Austin, Coalition of Houston Asian Americans, and Dragonflies in Dallas joined the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance to file anamicus brief illustrating the impact of the law on the LGBTQ and Asian American community.

According to the Census, South Asians and Asian Americans make up the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the country — we are the largest percentage of documented and undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. And, as we know, many of our South Asian immigrant community is also LGBTQ. Nationally there are 267,000 LGBTQ immigrants from Asian countries, that includes various South Asian nations, including nearly 40,000 who are undocumented.

SB4 would subject South Asians and all people of color to profiling, discriminatory stops by police and interrogation about their immigration status. If the law goes into effect, our LGBTQ and South Asian community members will be caught in the crossfire.

As LGBTQ South Asians, we are no strangers to discriminatory policing and racial, ethnic and religious profiling. As queer people of color, SB4’s legalized profiling evokes the history of police raids of LGBT bars — Stonewall, which helped to catalyze the LGBT movement, which was a riot against this queer and transphobic policing. As South Asians, our communities have faced increased Islamophobia and profiling since 9/11, which has skyrocketed.  This kind of everyday profiling happens at airports, on public streets, and in our places of work and worship.

As queer and trans South Asians, we must fight back against being profile for “looking” immigrant, trans, queer, Muslim, South Asian, Latinx, Black. KhushATX, with other LGBTQ Asian American groups in Texas and throughout the South, worked with NQAPIA to oppose SB4. We hand-wrote 50 letters to government officials to block the law from taking effect, and we asked them to continue resisting this racist, xenophobic bill.

You can learn about what’s happening with our LGBTQ South Asian immigrant family in Texas. Don’t ignore the struggles and the beautiful resistance of the South. If you are in or have family in Texas, read and share this oped. And stay ready to support our family when we are called — whether it be in the form of a handwritten letter, a phone call, a protest, or a rally — to show up and hold space in solidarity with our LGBTQ immigrant family.

Learn More

Fact Sheet about Texas SB 4’s impact on LGBTQ Asian Americas and South Asians, and translation in Urdu.

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

#RedefineSecurity Statistics

We’ve created our own 1-pagers and infographics on critical racial/religious profiling issues.  Take a look!

Countering Violent Extremism (1-Pager)

Homeland Security (1-Pager)

FBI Terror Watchlist (1-Pager)

Southeast Asians are 3-5 times more likely to be deported on the basis of an old criminal conviction than other immigrant communities The Sikh Coalition has seen a 3 times increase in hate crime reports since the bombings in Paris. Wages for Arab and Muslim men have gone down 10% since 9/11 In the past year, 28% of Muslim high school students in New York City report being stopped by the police. 25% of South Asians in the US report being selected for secondary screening in the majority of their encounters with the TSA. 48% of Muslims report experiencing racial/religious discrimination in the past year. (Gallup Poll) 75% of media coverage on Muslims is negative. Laotian and Cambodian youth in California are incarcerated at 5-9x the rate of the general population.

Sources:
http://www.searac.org/sites/default/files/SEAA%20School%20to%20Deportation%20Pipeline_0.pdf
http://saalt.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/In-Our-Own-Words-Narratives-of-South-Asian-New-Yorkers-Affected-by-Racial-and-Religious-Profiling.pdf
http://www.gallup.com/poll/6361/civil-rights-profile-profiling.aspx
http://repec.iza.org/dp4411.pdf

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

Fact Sheet: Texas SB4’s Impact on LGBT & Asian Communities

What is Texas Senate Bill 4?

On May 4, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law SB4, one of the nation’s most rigorous anti-immigrant laws passed since Donald Trump took office. It bans “sanctuary cities” where immigrants are protected in that local police officers are limited in asking for or disclosing someone’s immigration status.

The Texas bill would enable local police to ask about someone’s immigration status when they are initially detained — even if they have not yet been charged with a crime. Those who do not comply with the law could be fined up to $25,500 per day and face misdemeanor charges.

The bill is scheduled to go into effect on September 1, 2017.

What has the response been so far?

Just one day after Texas’ governor signed the bill into law, city and county officials in Texas filed a lawsuit against both the Governor and State Attorney General Ken Paxton. Since then, the four largest cities in Texas – Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin – have joined the lawsuit, along with other organizations throughout Texas. Supporters of the lawsuit argue that the bill would violate the Constitution by impeding free speech and equal protection. Several local and national civil rights groups, labor unions and legal experts have condemned the law.

How would Texas Senate Bill 4 affect LGBTQ and API communities?

Immigrants’ rights and LGBTQ rights are deeply intertwined.

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial minority group in the country. Asian Americans are also the largest segment of both legal and undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. One million Asian Americans are undocumented. In Texas, 44% of the state’s population is Latino, Asian American, or Arab American. Texas SB 4 would equally subject both Latino and Asian Americans to illegal profiling regarding immigration status.

There is an estimated 263,000 LGBTQ API immigrants, of which nearly 40,000 are undocumented. Studies have found the LGBT undocumented immigrant population to be disproportionately Asian.

Texas SB 4 would subject LGBT people who are ethnic and racial minorities to discriminatory stops and unlimited questioning about their immigration status by local law enforcement.

Moreover, LGBT people have also been historically harassed by local law enforcement.  Not too long ago, same-sex sexual relations were illegal and police often raided gay bars.  We must take a stand against Texas Senate Bill 4, because no one should be singled out and discriminated against merely for looking Latino, gay, Asian, queer, Muslim, or trans.

What you can do?

First, read up on the details and an analysis of the bill here and know your rights under the bill, which are clearly explained here.

Second, help your LGBTQ and API family take a stand against the bill by writing a letter to city mayors, council members, and other local officials in Texas localities that have not yet joined the lawsuit challenging the bill. For instance, Fort Worth City Council has not yet voted on the matter.

Third, join the fight. NQAPIA works with several LGBTQ API community groups in Texas, including Coalition of Houston Asian Americans (CHAA), Khush-ATX in Austin, and Dragonflies in Dallas who are standing up for our community.

Read this in Chinese (NQAPIA Fact Sheet Texas SB4 Chinese), Urdu (NQAPIA Fact Sheet Texas SB4 Urdu), and Vietnamese (NQAPIA Fact Sheet Texas SB4 Vietnamese).

Celebrating our Community

Dear friends,

This is a difficult time for many of us. It’s hard to find support with the deluge of despicable declarations that have been coming from the White House. But, we have to support each other. And, there are several champions in our community who have supported the queer API community and efforts to keep or community safe and fight for immigrants’ rights, racial justice, and LGBT equality.

NQAPIA is working hard to keep our community safe and secure. You can help by making a donation.

Glenn speaks at a podium

Later this month, NQAPIA will be hosting our annual Community Catalyst Awards Celebrations in New York City and Washington, DC. They are celebrations of our community, reunions with old friends, and time to inspire a new generation of leaders. Join us!

For me, they are more than just fundraising banquets. They showcase the people who inspire me and have worked hard to defend our community. Let me tell you about them and why they are so special to me.

Community Catalyst Awards Banquet in Washington, DC on March 11


Gautam RaghavanGautam Raghavan is a first-generation immigrant from India and served as President Barack Obama’s liaison to the LGBT community and the Asian American & Pacific Islander community. Before, he was Deputy White House Liaison for the U.S. Department of Defense and led efforts to undo the Pentagon’s anti-LGBT “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. He is now Vice President of Policy of the Gill Foundation where he drives federal and state efforts to ensure a level playing field for all LGBT Americans.


Miriam YeungMiriam Yeung was most recently the Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) leading the country’s advocacy on behalf of AAPI women and girls. Miriam has brought fierce intersectional analysis, practical policy advocacy, and a deep belief in powerbuilding from the base up. I recognize her as a leader in reproductive justice, immigrant rights, economic justice, and racial justice movements.


AQUA DCFor 20 years, Asian and Pacific Islander Queers United for Action (AQUA DC) has been promoting positive identity and advocating for the general welfare of the API GBTQ male-identified members of the of the Washington, DC metro area. I’ve know the “AQUA boys” for over 15 years and have always admired their advocacy, coalition building, education, networking, outreach, and support.


Where would our community be were it not for Gautam, Miriam, and AQUA?

Community Catalyst Awards Banquet in New York City on March 25


OnginaOngina (born Ryan Ong Palao) is flying in from Los Angeles and is originally from the Philippines. She was part of the 1st Cast of RuPaul’s Drag Race and was best known for her sweetness, fashionable runway presentations, and coming out to the world as HIV+. She now hosts Logo’s series “HIV and Me” to tell the stories of those living with HIV. Ongina inspires me with her views drag as artistic expression and an outlet for a woman stuck in a gay man’s body to come out and let loose and have fun. I can so relate.


Ng FamilyThe Ng Family is one where each member of the family has done so much for the LGBT API community (pictured left to right: Jonas, Virginia, Maxwell, and John).

Father John Ng, was educated in Hong Kong and came to the U.S. in 1974 looking to better his life and provide an opportunity for the next generation. He has spoken on several panels being the proud father of a transgender son. He has been married to his wife Virginia for 43 years.

Mother Virginia Lou Ng, has been involved in the Asian American community for over 35 years and is best known for her work at OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates (formerly the Organization of Chinese Americans) and Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. Virginia served as New Jersey Chapter President and OCA National Vice President.

Son Maxwell Ng chairs the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition. Last summer, MTPC passed legislation to protect Trans people in public accommodations. Maxwell also serves on the Steering Committee for the Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance (QAPA). Founded in 1979, QAPA, is the oldest Asian queer organization in the US.

Brother Jonas Ng is a Vice President at Nationwide Bank. He has excelled as a member of the Bank’s executive leadership team and before was a Managing Director for Discover Card. He is a staunch LGBT ally and has promoted Diversity and Inclusion is at several Fortune 200 financial institutions.


I love that we are honoring a drag queen and a family.

Fundraising

It’s up to the community to support the work of NQAPIA in cultivating a new generation of LGBT API leaders, building local capacity, fighting for immigrants’ rights, and promoting family acceptance. We cannot rely on foundations, corporations, and the rich. So, at each of the dinners, Anish Tailor from KhushDC and Patrick Lee from GAPIMNY will share their personal stories and why they are supporting NQAPIA and the Queer Asian movement. All support at any level helps.

I am so excited for each of these dinners and I hope you can join us. You can buy tickets to the New York and Washington, DC dinners.

If you cannot come, please consider supporting someone else to come so that they can be in community with us. NQAPIA believes that money should never be a barrier to participating. You can donate a ticket by purchasing a ticket for either or both dinners in New York and Washington, DC.

And at the very least, a donation of any amount will help continue the critical work of these amazing honorees. Donate at bit.ly/supportcca.

I hope you can join us and be in community with us either in-person or as a donor. We need your support now more than ever.

In community and solidarity:

../../Bios/Glenn%20Signature.jpg

Glenn D. Magpantay
Executive Director
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
glenn_magpantay@nqapia.org

#NQAPIA   bit.ly/supportcca   #Catalyst2017

NQAPIA Blasts Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration

MEDIA RELEASE for January 26, 2017
Contact: Sasha W., NQAPIA Organizing Director, 909-343-2219, sasha@nqapia.org

NQAPIA Blasts Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance blasted Mr. Trump’s executive orders calling them “detrimental to the interest of the American public—immigrants and citizens alike,” according to Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA’s Executive Director.

Yesterday, Mr. Trump authorized spending U.S. tax dollars on building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, notwithstanding that net migration from Mexico has decreased over the last 10 years. He decreed the creation of more detention centers, 5,000 additional border patrol agents, and a reinstatement of 287(g) that requires local police enforcement of complicated federal immigration laws. His orders threaten to cut all federal funding from sanctuary cities and to reinstate Secure Communities, a deportation program that was discontinued due to ineffectiveness and increased distrust among immigrant communities.

Today, NQAPIA is anticipating that Mr. Trump will fulfill his campaign promise of implementing a Muslim ban. For 30 days, individuals from Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, and Iran will be banned from entering the U.S., simply because they live in Muslim-majority countries. Individuals from these countries will be unable to receive visas, even if they are already approved, intend to seek asylum, or have family members in the U.S. For 120 days, no refugees from these same countries will be allowed to enter the U.S. The only exception will be refugees who are religious minorities in their countries—in other words, refugees who are not Muslim.

Sasha W., NQAPIA’s Organizing Director, said, “Building a wall, constructing detention centers, and banning Muslims does not make us safer. Instead, these executive actions demonize and criminalize our communities. Trump campaigned on Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, anti-LGBT bigotry, misogyny, and ableism—not facts or policy. Our communities have already faced significant backlash during his campaign; now, the hate violence is solidifying into federal policy.”

In NQAPIA’s #RedefineSecurity Week of Action, during the beginning stages of Mr. Trump’s campaign, NQAPIA lifted up the stories of institutional Islamophobic and xenophobic hate violence against our LGBTQ API communities. We told the stories of an Indian transwoman harassed by immigration officials; a Pakistani traveler being invasively examined by TSA, in her body and belongings; a queer South Asian organizer whose home was raided; and a Bangladeshi traveler who has been on the “no-fly list” since she was a child.

Last year, in the midst of this national uptick in hate and vigilante violence, NQAPIA submitted a model guidance to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), urging DHS to adopt protections against profiling on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, and religion. Instead, Mr. Trump is doing the opposite—he is choosing to embolden the white nationalist, Islamophobic, and xenophobic elements of his campaign.

Sasha W. concluded, “Mr. Trump is continuing to enact policies that simply do not work and that make our communities feel more unsafe in this country.”

If you want to take action against these policies, get trained with us! Sign up for NQAPIA’s direct action organizing series (in Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, DC, Philadelphia, New York City, and Chicago) at bit.ly/datrainings.

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#NoBanNoWall #RedefineSecurity #NotOurPresident

Guidance on Profiling – Letter to President Obama and DHS

December 26, 2016

To:
Barack Obama, President of the United States
Jeh Johnson, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
Felicia Escobar, Special Assistant to the President for Immigration Policy, White House Domestic Policy Council
Manar Waheed, Deputy Policy Director of Immigration, White House Domestic Policy Council

Over the past two years, we have been in communication with this administration about guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to end its reliance on profiling on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity as a method of national security and immigration enforcement.

As organizations representing diverse Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ), Asian Pacific Islander (API) and people of color communities, we urge the Department to adopt and issue guidance immediately.

To assist you in developing this guidance, attached is a model language, drafted in typical legal guidance form, developed by the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA). The model language lays out the necessary policy changes to end existing practices of profiling. We ask that you take this guidance under consideration and enact these protections against profiling. We must keep our communities as safe as possible in the years to come.

Some highlights of this guidance include:

  • Examples detailing the inappropriate use of profiling, without exemption for matters concerning border security, national security, or state and local law enforcement.
  • A clear process for addressing allegations of profiling based on race, ethnicity, national origin, color, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
  • A remedy for when inappropriate profiling is used. Resulting detention or deportation should be deemed improper and revoked, as already exists in criminal proceedings where wrongfully obtained evidence is suppressed.

In the final weeks of this administration, this issue is increasingly urgent. We ask that you take action before you leave office.

For further conversation, please contact Sasha W., Organizing Director for the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA): sasha@nqapia.org.

Sincerely,

Sasha W.
Sasha W.
Organizing Director

Signatories:
18MillionRising
API Chaya
Alliance of South Asians Taking Action
API Equality LA
API Equality Northern California
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO
Asian Pacific Islander Queer Society
Asian Queers United for Action
Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
BiNet USA
Black and Pink
Center for Black Equity
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving
Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement
Family Equality Council
GALA, Inc.
Gay Asian Pacific Alliance
GetEQUAL
Hotpot! Philly
Juntos
KhushDC
Lambda Legal
MASALA
Muslim American Women’s Policy Forum
NAPAFASA
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Federation of Filipino American Associations
National Immigration Project of the NLG
National LGBTQ Task Force
Network on Religion and Justice
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates
Providence Youth Student Movement
Satrang
South Asian Americans Leading Together
South Asian Bar Association of North America
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
Transgender Law Center
Trikone
Trikone NW
U.T.O.P.I.A. Seattle
VAYLA-New Orleans
Washington Peace Center
Witness to Mass Incarceration

Attachment: DHS Guidance by NQAPIA