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Action Alert: Don’t Repeal our Healthcare!

Don’t Repeal our Healthcare!

We need to continue fighting the attack on our communities from Trump’s administration. Republicans in both the house and the senate have been scheming to take away our access to affordable healthcare, and we can’t let them leave our communities in the dark! At the beginning of May, the House passed a Trumpcare bill that strips coverage from 23 million Americans. We must stop the Senate from doing the same.

TAKE ACTION: Call your Senator

Stop the Senate from passing any kind of “Trumpcare” by finding and calling your senator or dialing 866-426-2631!

Use this message:

“Hello, my name is ________. I am a constituent of Senator ____________, and I am calling to ask them to vote against repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with the American Health Care Act. I want to relay a clear message that it’s critical that the provisions and benefits of the Affordable Care Act remain in place. Since its passage, 20 million Americans have gained health care coverage and receive a record low uninsured rate.”

Talk about how it affects AAPI communities:

“Over two million AAPI people could lose health insurance coverage under the repeal bill—and many more women of color and low-income women could lose access to preventive health and reproductive health services.”

Talk about how it affects the LGBTQ community: (Click the image on the right to expand it in a new window.)

“In states without non-discrimination policies, the Affordable Care Act is our non-discrimination protection. That means LGBT couples can enroll for insurance without fear of exclusion. On top of that, people can’t be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, like HIV or even cancer.”

Combine statistics with a personal story:

“I have personally benefited from the Affordable Care Act by (no longer having a lifetime or annual cap on coverage, having access to free contraception, getting coverage even with my pre-existing condition, receiving no-cost prevenative services as a transgender person, etc.)”

Our AAPI LGBT community needs access to healthcare, and we can’t afford to fight discriminatory barriers. Let’s flood the Senate phone lines with our concerns and show them how much our community cares for one another. Our power and resilience shows we are stronger together.

NQAPIA thanks our allies at NAPAWF for their help in developing this Action Alert.

#NQAPIA #ResistTrump

10 ways Obamacare improved LGBT access to health insurance

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.

NQAPIA Statement on the Senate’s Passage of ENDA

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) applauds the Senate’s passage of S 815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).  The Senate’s 64-32 vote today represents historic progress on the march for full equality under the law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.  For the first time, a body of Congress has passed ENDA legislation that includes protections for transgender people. 

Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) who are LGBT face unique challenges and will benefit from this legislation.  The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force reports that a full 98% of AAPI LGBT respondents experienced at least one form of discrimination in their lives, with 75% reporting discrimination based on sexual orientation. According to a study from the Williams Institute, the unemployment rate for AAPIs who are LGBT (11%) is higher than that of non-LGBT AAPIs (8%). 

“Today’s vote represents an important victory for the LGBT community,” said Ben de Guzman, Co-Director of Programs for NQAPIA.  “In 29 states, you can still be fired simply for being LGBT, and 34 states lack employment protections for transgender people.  We are concerned about overreaching religious exemptions and are glad that the Senate voted down some of the more extreme provisions.  As the bill moves to the House, we continue to push for the strongest protections possible that are not unnecessarily watered down in the name of religious freedom.”

Senate Passes Immigration Reform Bill in Historic Week in Washington

Photo:  Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) receive postcards from openly gay undocumented immigrant Tony Choi and  NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs Ben de Guzman

NQAPIA delivers 2,700 postcards to the Senate calling for immigration reform while Supreme Court makes historic decision on marriage equality

 

For Immediate Release
June 27, 2013

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

Washington, DC: Today, the Senate voted 68-32 to pass long-awaited comprehensive immigration reform, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act. The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) sees progress in today’s vote for the Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities we serve, but also some challenges and some hard questions that are yet to be answered as the bill moves to the House of Representatives.  We continue to fight for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that works for all families, immigrant and citizen, LGBT and straight, alike.

The legislation includes provisions important to AAPI LGBTs, including: a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants; elimination of the backlog of family visas; elimination of the one-year deadline to file for asylum; and some specific improvements for conditions in detention centers. Unfortunately, the immigration package also strikes a twofold blow to AAPI LGBT families. The deal ends sibling sponsorship and family sponsorship for married children over 30. After bitter negotiation, it also fails to include the sponsorship privileges for foreign same-sex partners of Americans that married straight couples enjoy.

The vote comes on the heels of a celebrated historic victory for marriage equality at the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The ruling resolves immigration issues for certain binational same-sex couples, but NQAPIA continues to fight for all those affected by the broken immigration system. At least 267,000 undocumented immigrants LGBT, a population that is disproportionately Asian. As crowds cheered on the steps of the Supreme Court for the ruling that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and sent California’s Proposition 8 packing, NQAPIA delivered over 2,700 postcards to the Senate in support of comprehensive immigration reform.

Joined by Tony Choi, an openly gay undocumented immigrant from Korea, NQAPIA gave postcards directly to Tony’s Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), a member of the “Gang of Eight” who pushed the legislation through, as well as Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the first openly lesbian Senator.

“History has been made on two different fronts.” said Ben de Guzman, NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs.  “We have been at the center of all the action on both comprehensive immigration reform and marriage equality this week.  We have never been a single issue community, and today we prove that the movement can walk and chew gum at the same time.  Now we take the fight from the Supreme Court and the Senate to the House, the next battleground for immigration reform.”

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

All LGBT Immigrants Need to be Considered in Immigration Reform

Jose Antonio Vargas and plenary panel at Creating Change (video starts after 40:00)

Jose Antonio Vargas and plenary panel at Creating Change (panel starts after 40:00)

For Immediate Release:  January 29, 2013

 

Contact:

Ben de Guzman

NQAPIA Co-Director for Programs

Phone:  202-422-4909

E-mail:  ben_deguzman@nqapia.org

 

This week, the debate on comprehensive immigration reform took real shape with the Senate introducing a bipartisan framework on principles on Monday, and the President making a statement on Tuesday.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) commends the Senate and the President on taking this initial first, bipartisan step.  Immigrants’ rights and the need for comprehensive immigration reform is a top priority for Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) immigrant communities.

Of course, we will continue to work more closely as details emerge and legislation is introduced.  While there are some questions we have about what has been put forth thus far, we recognize that there are some important building blocks in the Senate’s and the President’s proposals.  We’re committed to working on them to support legislation that will benefit not only the AAPI LGBT communities we work with, but will, on balance, move towards a more comprehensive solution for the entire country.

The inclusion of a path to citizenship and relief for the over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country is a key component of both proposals.  We estimate that 750,000 of those undocumented immigrants are LGBT, and we call for reform that will help ALL of them. Young undocumented activists who worked on the DREAM Act and who are queer have, by making the connection between coming out of the closet and out of the shadows, changed the political landscape, are also included, is encouraging.  The AAPI immigrant families we work with, both LGBT and straight members alike, can also take heart in the provisions to reduce the family petition backlogs, which both proposals include.

But there are discrepancies between the proposals, and the policies that are of concern to our communities and must be addressed.  Provisions around enforcement and detention must not be onerous on our communities.

One of the main discrepancies between the Senate’s and the President’s proposals directly concerns LGBT families.  The Senate’s framework and the discussion of reforming the family-based immigration system did not include same-sex couples, where the President’s statement, on the other hand, states clearly that it will give “U.S. citizens and lawful residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner.”   It is clearly one of the more specific instances where the President’s proposal differs from the Senate’s framework.  We will build on that as a starting point to move the conversation forward.  This means that LGBT communities will be a key constituency to weigh in on comprehensive immigration reform, and we call for a broader reform that supports not only same-sex couples but ALL LGBT immigrants who desperately need reform to the currently broken system.

NQAPIA has always centered the unique perspectives and needs of LGBT immigrants in its work on immigrants’ rights and comprehensive immigration reform.  The LGBT Immigration Forums we have done around the country for the last three years has built a solid foundation for the work we now begin.  This past weekend at the 2013 Creating Change Conference in Atlanta, GA, we collected approximately 4,000 postcards calling on the Congress and the President to act on comprehensive immigration reform now.  As the debate moves forward, we are committed to educating and mobilizing our communities on this important issue.  I hope you’ll join us in this important effort.

 

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