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Immigration Update: Where We’re at and What You Can Do

The national debate about immigration stands at a crossroads as we celebrate LGBT Pride month. We have moved the ball further than ever before, but with the midterm elections coming up in November, unless the Congress moves in June or July, nothing will happen legislatively this year. We are pushing the Congress to pass immigration reform legislation and the President to do what he can as well, but we need your help.

The AAPI community has mobilized locally and nationally for immigrants’ rights.  Yet, the LGBT movement has lost considerable steam after a victory for family petitions for married binational couples as a result of the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality last June.  Wrangling from conservatives in the House of Representatives has stalled legislation from moving forward.

NQAPIA and our Asian and Latino allies are still fighting for immigrants’ rights on the legislative front because it is the most assured way of giving legal status to 11 million undocumented immigrants, of which 1 million are AAPI and half a million are LGBT.

 

Legislation Adopted by the United States Senate

A year ago the Senate passed an immigration bill.  It is a good start with expanded visa programs, a path to citizenship for the undocumented, and some legal protections, but there are also problematic heavy enforcement provisions, which should be removed.

 

Engaging The White House  

The President has actively campaigned for comprehensive immigration reform, but a record 2 million immigrants have still been deported.  The President has an ability to act in the short term.  In collaboration with the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, NQAPIA brought LGBT AAPI immigrants and representatives of local LGBT AAPI organizations to Washington DC for a special roundtable meeting with the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.  We provided a variety of recommendations that the President can order to improve the lives of immigrants and their families.

 

Moving the House of Representatives

Last year, NQAPIA delivered 5,403 postcards to Congress calling for immigration reform. Thanks to our local partners, scores of volunteers, organizers from the Task Force, and supporters like you, NQAPIA undertook one of the largest grassroots mobilizations among AAPI and LGBT national organizations for immigrants’ rights.  But now, our voices are needed again more than ever.

The House of Representatives still continues to drag its heels and we need you to call your Member of Congress and demand that they pass immigration reform this year.  Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be directed to your Member of Congress’ office.  Tell them:

“I live in your district and I am calling to ask my Congressmember to support comprehensive immigration reform.  I support legislation that: 1) provides a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants; 2) keeps families together, 3) protects workers across the wage spectrum; and 4) preserves our civil rights and due process protections.”

Please call in the month of June.  There is no pride in being undocumented, deported, or in losing a visa.   But there is much pride in winning new rights and protections for LGBT AAPIs across the country.

June 2013 E-blast: LGBT Pride, Immigration, Community Catalyst Awards, and MORE

June is wrapping up on a high note!  With historic movement in Washington, DC on immigration and marriage equality, and unprecedented celebrations at Pride events around the country, Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian,gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities have been at the center of the action!

In this e-blast, find out more information about the following:

NQAPIA Annoucements and Activities:  Intern Corner, Immigration, and NQAPIA Community Catalyst Awards

Around the Horn:   DesiQ, LGBT Pride

News and Notes:  Supreme Court, ENDA, SSA

NQAPIA Announcements and Activities

Community Catalyst Award Flyer.Front

Intern Corner:  We are pleased to welcome interns Steven Cong and Elizabeth Duthinh to Team NQAPIA this summer.  Check out their reflections and observations every week on our blog.  This week, they offer their take on what’s been an historic week in the nation’s capital.

Immigration: NQAPIA took our communities’ voices to Capitol Hill as the Senate took an historic vote on comprehensive immigration reform.  With Tony Choi, a queer undocumented immigration from New Jersey, we delivered 2,700 postcards to the Senate, meeting with Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

NQAPIA Community Catalyst Awards: We are pleased to announce our annual Community Catalyst Awards this year, which will be held at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel in Honolulu, HI.  Join us on Saturday, July 27 as we honor former NFL football player and LGBT activist Esera Tuaolo and UNITE HERE Local 5.  Check us out on Facebook for more information.

 

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Around the Horn: AAPI LGBT Action Across the Country

DesiQ

San Francisco, CA:  Hundreds of LGBT South Asians from around the world are converging on San Franicsco this coming weekend for the DesiQ conference.  NQAPIA is going to be there in full force July 4-6.  For more information, click here.

LGBT Pride:  We’ve been documenting local groups’ LGBT Pride contingents all month.  Cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Twin Cities, and Seattle are closing us out this weekend.  We are gathering images and stories about queer AAPIs making our voices heard.  Tell us your story at nqapia@gmail.com

News and Notes: Legislative and Policy Roundup

Photo from getequal.org

Supreme Court:  NQAPIA monitored a number of issues taken on by the Supreme Court in their recently concluded session.  While much of the news coverage (particularly in the LGBT media) has focused on marriage equality, NQAPIA weighed in on cases that were decided on issues such as Affirmative Action and Voting Rights.  We joined a national statement from the LGBT community expressing our disappointmenent on their ruling on Voting Rights.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA): Out & Equal released a new report that explores the discrimination LGBT employees face in the workforce. You can check out their report here.

Social Security Administration (SSA):  Transgender communities got good news this month when the SSA announced new policies that will improve people’s ability to change the gender markers on their identity documents, including their Social Security cards.  Our friends at the National Center for Transgender Equality issued this factsheet explaining the new policies.

June 2013 E-blast: LGBT Pride, Immigration, Community Catalyst Awards, and MORE

June is wrapping up on a high note!  With historic movement in Washington, DC on immigration and marriage equality, and unprecedented celebrations at Pride events around the country, Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian,gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities have been at the center of the action!

In this e-blast, find out more information about the following:

NQAPIA Annoucements and Activities:  Intern Corner, Immigration, and NQAPIA Community Catalyst Awards

Around the Horn:   DesiQ, LGBT Pride

News and Notes:  Supreme Court, ENDA, SSA

NQAPIA Announcements and Activities

Community Catalyst Award Flyer.Front

Intern Corner:  We are pleased to welcome interns Steven Cong and Elizabeth Duthinh to Team NQAPIA this summer.  Check out their reflections and observations every week on our blog.  This week, they offer their take on what’s been an historic week in the nation’s capital.

Immigration: NQAPIA took our communities’ voices to Capitol Hill as the Senate took an historic vote on comprehensive immigration reform.  With Tony Choi, a queer undocumented immigration from New Jersey, we delivered 2,700 postcards to the Senate, meeting with Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

NQAPIA Community Catalyst Awards: We are pleased to announce our annual Community Catalyst Awards this year, which will be held at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel in Honolulu, HI.  Join us on Saturday, July 27 as we honor former NFL football player and LGBT activist Esera Tuaolo and UNITE HERE Local 5.  Check us out on Facebook for more information.

 

______________________________________________________

Around the Horn: AAPI LGBT Action Across the Country

DesiQ

San Francisco, CA:  Hundreds of LGBT South Asians from around the world are converging on San Franicsco this coming weekend for the DesiQ conference.  NQAPIA is going to be there in full force July 4-6.  For more information, click here.

LGBT Pride:  We’ve been documenting local groups’ LGBT Pride contingents all month.  Cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Twin Cities, and Seattle are closing us out this weekend.  We are gathering images and stories about queer AAPIs making our voices heard.  Tell us your story at nqapia@gmail.com

News and Notes: Legislative and Policy Roundup

Photo from getequal.org

Supreme Court:  NQAPIA monitored a number of issues taken on by the Supreme Court in their recently concluded session.  While much of the news coverage (particularly in the LGBT media) has focused on marriage equality, NQAPIA weighed in on cases that were decided on issues such as Affirmative Action and Voting Rights.  We joined a national statement from the LGBT community expressing our disappointmenent on their ruling on Voting Rights.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA): Out & Equal released a new report that explores the discrimination LGBT employees face in the workforce. You can check out their report here.

Social Security Administration (SSA):  Transgender communities got good news this month when the SSA announced new policies that will improve people’s ability to change the gender markers on their identity documents, including their Social Security cards.  Our friends at the National Center for Transgender Equality issued this factsheet explaining the new policies.

Wish You Were Here: NQAPIA Delivers Postcards for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

 

Wish You Were Here: National LGBT Asian American Group Delivers Postcards for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

NQAPIA to deliver thousands of postcards from across the country

to the Senate in time for critical vote


Contact: Ben de Guzman

NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs E-Mail: ben_deguzman@nqapia.org Phone: 202-422-4909

Washington, DC: Today, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) begins a weeklong drive to deliver over 2,700 postcards to the United States Senate in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Constituents from around the nation, many of whom representing Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities, sent these postcards in support of justice for all immigrants. The postcards are intended to coincide with a planned vote on the Senate floor for S744:  The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.   Among the Senate offices receiving postcards are:

  • Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY): The leading Democrat on the “Gang of Eight” will get a whopping 188 postcards, the biggest individual delivery, from his constituents calling for immigration reform.
  • Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL): One of the key Republicans on the “Gang of Eight” will receive postcards from Floridians calling for immigration reform.
  • Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ): Tony Choi, an undocumented AAPI LGBT immigrant from Korea, will bring postcards from his fellow New Jerseyans to Democrat “Gang of Eight” member Senator Menendez.
  • Senator Jeff Chisea (R-NJ):  Tony will also bring postcards to the Republican Senator appointed to fill the seat vacated when Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) passed away.
  • Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI): The first openly LGBT Senator, whose support for the entire package of comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for the undocumented as well as keeping immigrant families united (including siblings and adult married children as well as same-sex binational couples) will be critical.

AAPIs comprise 11% of all undocumented immigrants in the United States, but represent 15% of undocumented LGBT immigrants in the United States.  There are over 4 million people languishing in backlogs of family petitions, about half of whom are waiting to reunite with AAPI families.  For these immigrants and the entire community, the time has come for immigration reform that protects all our families.

“Our communities are speaking out at this critical moment for comprehensive immigration reform that works for everyone,” said Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs.  “We understand that how this bill defines families and the family immigration system will have profound impact on all of us.  As AAPIs, we know that, as the saying goes, ‘it takes a village’ to ensure our families are able to thrive.  As LGBTs, we also know the bureaucratic gymnastics we have to do to keep our families recognized in the light of laws that only accept definitions of a nuclear family.  The time for immigration reform that captures the reality of how the modern American family is configured is NOW.” Over 2,700 postcards are being delivered to the Senate this week, representing 40 states around the country.  Some of the states with the largest contingents of postcards include New York (377), California (304 total), Pennsylvania (246 total), Massachusetts (212 total), Georgia (196 total), and Texas (135 total). NQAPIA is a federation of AAPI LGBT organizations around the country.  Through its work with local communities, as well as advocacy and research, NQAPIA is fighting for comprehensive immigration reform that includes:

  • A path to citizenship for the undocumented;
  • Family Reunification- including same-sex binational couples, siblings, and adult married children that are left out of the current bill;
  • Humane Enforcement- including reforms for the detention system and the removal of the one-year deadline to apply for asylum; and
  • Improvements for Immigrant Workers- including reforms to non-immigrant worker visas for both high-tech and low-skilled workers.

Immigration Reform Mixer!

Join NQAPIA, APALA-DC, NAPAWF-DC and Generational Alliance for a night of food, good company and phone banking, letter writing, and postcard sorting in support of immigration reform.

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Nation’s Leading LGBT Advocacy Organizations Decry Draconian Amendments to Senate Immigration Bill

This statement can be attributed to the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, United We Dream and Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project, GetEQUAL, National Center for Transgender Equality, Equality Federation and National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.

“This week, the Senate is considering several amendments to the immigration reform bill that make draconian demands for excessive and unfair enforcement provisions and border armament. This is reckless and insulting to lawmakers trying to negotiate in good faith and to everyone who is committed to providing a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, including 267,000 LGBT immigrants. These amendments are nothing more than poison pills that threaten the entire legislation.

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A Seat at the Immigration Table

As comprehensive immigration reform progresses through Congress, we grow closer to a historic moment with each passing day. NQAPIA is proud to be part of a weekly immigration table that connects the works of AAPI organizations across the nation to build AAPI solidarity around the issue. Everybody’s effort at this immigration table will greatly contribute towards the bill’s passage through Congress.

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Intern Blog: Senate Debate on Immigration Reform

By Steven

During Monday’s debate on S.744, which is the Senate bill on immigration reform, I heard arguments that made me cringe. At the debate, a senator tried to invalidate paths to citizenship by claiming that though “we are a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws.” While that is true, some of our laws used to claim that slaves were less than people and that the Chinese should be excluded from the nation. The idea behind our legislative system is that laws would not be permanent, and that they should be subject to refinement or removal if they no longer serve the needs of our people.

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