Pabitra Benjamin shared her thoughts about the NQAPIA hill drop and delivering over 2,700 postcards calling for commonsense immigration reform. Add your voice to hers and tell the Congress to pass immigration reform this year!
I’ve just spent two amazing days on Capitol Hill talking to actual members of Congress about immigration reform from a perspective they NEVER get to hear. As a South Asian queer advocate, my perspective is at best ignored, and at worst, vilified. Being told that “immigration is a Latino issue,” or “Deportations are too tough an issue to talk about” weighs heavily on me as I fight for the needs of my community. Having lawmakers listen to our communities’ stories and the issues we care about such as family reunification, protecting workers’ rights, providing health care for immigrants, and stopping arbitrary deportations and detentions on our terms has been nothing short of inspiring.
There is perhaps no more important time for these conversations to happen. As we approach the holidays, the window is closing for the Congress to act on enacting real reform that provides relief for our communities and our families.
Speaking with the members of Congress gave me valuable insight on the challenges we face, but also the opportunities we have to have real impact. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) is the chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CA), her counterpart in the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, heard us loud and clear as immigrants and family members who are both AAPI and LGBT. Calling them to account for our communities is not just an exercise in democracy, but a testament to the power we can wield as a community.
In the next few weeks, lobbyists on all sides of this issue will bring their slick messaging and glossy presentations to the Hill as the heat turns up on the immigration debate. For us, our most powerful tools we bring to the table are the compelling stories of real need in our communities for real change. Seeing the eyes of a Congressmember light up when they heard our real stories, I know this to be true now more than ever.
P.S. Learn more about our communities in NQAPIA’s Uncovering Our Stories series.