Immigration

Fact Sheet: Detention

End Immigration Detention for Vulnerable People

Violations of immigration laws are a civil violation, and those in violation are detained in detention facilities as non-criminals. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for immigrant detention facility, though over 67% of people detained are housed in county prisons, city prisons, and private facilities. Many in detention facilities face poor conditions and have no due process rights. Many undocumented and documented people in detention centers have been in the U.S. for years.

Under the November 2014 Executive Order on immigration, DHS issued a memo emphasizing the discretion DHS enforcement agencies have in detaining individuals. Under this memo, vulnerable communities should be considered for alternatives to detention. Yet, LGBTQI individuals, families, survivors of torture, asylum seekers, pregnant women, victims of human trafficking, and other vulnerable people continue to be detained.

Detention CenterNQAPIA is especially concerned with trans* folks who continue to be marginalized and made especially vulnerable in immigration detention centers. Most centers continue to house individuals according to sex, making violence and abuse a daily reality for trans* folks. Some centers see solitary confinement as a way to protect individuals, but in reality, such treatment subjects them to inhumane mental and emotional conditions. Cells designated specifically for trans* folks are still very far in between, forcing individuals to be detained far from their families and support systems. We must stop to the expansion of detention centers, and end detention for vulnerable communities, including the LGBT community. 

Resources

NQAPIA Info-graph

www.nqapia.org/infographics-on-immigration-riseupnqapia/

detention_infographic_edited_low

#Not1More Campaign: Nicoll Hernandez-Polanco

#Not1More #FreeNicoll “Nicoll Hernandez-Polanco (A# 089 841 646), a transgender woman from Guatemala, is currently being  detained in the all-male wing of ICE’s Florence Service Processing Detention facility in Florence, Arizona.  Nicoll came to the United States seeking asylum in October 2014 because she was the target of violent attacks,  constant harassment, and discrimination in her country of origin. Unfortunately, at the hands of ICE, Nicoll is  now being subjected to the same treatment she seeks protection from.

In her first month in detention, Nicoll was patted down 6-8 times a day by male guards, who Nicoll reported  would grope her breasts and buttocks, make offensive sexual comments and gestures, and sometimes pull her  hair. In addition to physically harassing Nicoll, ICE staff routinely verbally abuse her. She has been called  “stupid,” and “the woman with balls” in front of other detained immigrants.”

Read more about Nicoll’s case.

Sign the petition to demand her release.

Other Resources

Community Conversations

Many Southeast Asians, Pacific Islanders, South Asians, and Asians are targeted and caught in immigration detention facilities that are a part of the prison industrial complex. We do not have many stories or data of AAPI communities in immigration detention, but we know there are community members in the system. It is important for our queer AAPI communities to discuss these issues, so we can support all people unfairly detained and uncover stories of our community members in immigration detention facilities.

Start your discussion with stories, cases, videos, and reports from our resources section. Humanize the reality of LGBTQI folks in detention.

Sample Questions

  1. If you watch a video or share a story, ask people how they feel with what they saw or heard.
  2. Have people been in or heard of those who have been in immigration detention centers? If so, have people share whatever they feel comfortable sharing.
  3. Have you heard of the prison industrial complex? What does this term mean to you? Do you agree that it exists? Why or why not?
  4. How does immigration detention and/or the prison industrial complex impact your community?
  5. What can be done locally to fight the prison industrial complex including immigration detention?

Sign the Petition to End Immigration Detention Here.

Download the NQAPIA End Immigration Detention Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet: Racial Profiling

End the use of racial and religious profiling

Our communities have been the targets of profiling by law enforcement based on various dimensions and intersections of our social identities. Under the immigration enforcement regime, South Asian, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and Southeast Asian communities have continued to be especially vulnerable, being subject to unjust profiling based on race, religion, and national origin—real and perceived.

DHS logoThe Department of Justice Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or Gender Identity is an attempt at a guideline for federal law enforcement agencies to curtail rampant profiling. Citing the routine reason of protecting national and border security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA), among several others, are exempt from these guidelines. This exemption continues to give license to some of the most egregious, profile-based policing in our country, including the targeting of our community as perceived “terrorists” and “gang members.” This deprives already vulnerable communities of their civil liberties, and opens the doors to massive detention and deportation.

Many Muslim communities also face profiling within the immigration visa processing. Individuals are profiled by their last names and country of origin and put through extra screening and interviews, resulting in backlogs in the immigration system. There is no space for compromise; we need clear policies that hold all agencies accountable for their unconstitutional profiling practices and demand action on all complaints of improper profiling in the immigration system. There is no space for compromise; end racial and religious profiling for all communities. Close the loopholes in the  DOJ Guidance for Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Regarding the Use of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, National Origin, Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity that allow DHS, CBP, and TSA to continue profiling.

What is Racial Profiling?

Racial profiling is when police or government agents use race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion to decide whom to stop, question, or arrest. Racial profiling is humiliating, harmful, and makes us less safe. Here are some of the ways racial profiling is used today:

  • CriminalizationWar on Drugs: For the past 40 years, Black, Latino, and Southeast Asian people have been targeted by police under the “War on Drugs,” even though studies consistently show that white people are just as likely (or more likely) to use and sell drugs.
  • War on Terror: Since September 11, 2001, members of Arab, Muslim, and South Asian communities have increasingly been searched, interrogated, detained, and deported by Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and local police in the name of “national security.”
  • Criminalizing Immigrants: Members of immigrant communities are targeted by police under the guise of immigration enforcement. State laws like Arizona’s SB1070 and collaborations between Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and local police encourage racial profiling.

RESOURCES

Uncovering Our Stories: Maya Jafer

Maya Jafer“I was born and raised in the south of India in Madurai, Tamil Nadu with my parents, older brother and younger sister. I was born into a very religious Muslim family. My parents gave me the name Mohammed Gulam Hussain though now, as a post-operative transsexual female, I am Maya Jafer. My journey to the US began in 2000, at the age of 30, when I moved to Seattle on an F-1 student visa to complete my second doctorate in Natural Medicine. The past decade has been a tremendous struggle for me. Though I entered this country legally, I faced intense discrimination as a Muslim in the post-9/11 world. My last name—Hussain—did not help, and I often dealt with interrogations concerning my perceived (and false) association with Saddam Hussein. I often wished for stronger protections against this profiling and discrimination in immigration and law enforcement.”

Read Maya’s story at www.nqapia.org/uncovering-our-stories-maya-jafer

Other Resources

Community Conversations

#blacklivesmatterQueer Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander communities face forms of profiling. However, at this time with the horrendous police killings of Black people in the US, it is important to focus on how Black lives are targeted by the police. We must work in solidarity as AAPI communities to support Black communities.

All over the country, numerous trans* folks of color have also been profiled and killed by police officers; increased community raids in immigrant communities profile “undocumented” and so called “dangerous” immigrants; and Islamophobia has heighted hate crimes with profiling of South Asian and Muslim community members.

Take advantage of the Week of Action to connect the issues and focus on the impact of profiling in your area. We recommend you start by sharing stories, watching a film, or talking about current cases in your community. Use the resources provided in this factsheet or videos in the “Other Resources” section to start a dialogue, and use the questions below to guide your discussion.

Sample Questions

  1. If you watch a video or share a story, ask people how they feel with what they saw or heard.
  2. What are your personal experiences with racial and/or religious profiling? Have you been profiled or witnessed profiling? How did it make you feel?
  3. Through media and social media the world has witnessed the killing of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tony Robinson and countless others who have lost their lives to police profiling and brutality. How has your community reacted to the loss of these innocent lives?
  4. Does colorism/racism in our Asian (American) communities impact the systematic use of racial profiling by police officers? If so, how? If not, why not?
  5. What experiences does the community-at-large have with profiling? How does this impact your queer AAPI community?
  6. Does profiling fit into the larger system of detention and/or deportation of people of color? If so, how? If not, why not?
  7. What are some solutions to racial and religious profiling in your community?
  8. Are there ways you can act locally to stop racial and religious profiling in your community? How can you support current efforts?

Sign the Petition to End Racial and Religious Profiling HERE!

Download the NQAPIA End Racial Profiling Fact Sheet.

RISE UP! NQAPIA Week of Action Toolkit

Immigrants have got to stay

ONLINE TOOLKIT

Thank you for joining RISE UP! NQAPIA Week of Action on Immigration. The following is an online toolkit to support your event. For assistance contact pabitra_benjamin@nqapia.org or call 202-805-5405


WHY TAKE ACTION NOW?

WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR THE WEEK OF ACTION?
– Daca & Dapa
– Educational Event
– Phone Bank
– Host Legal Consultation sessions
– Learn from Others

CONVERSATIONS WITH PURPOSE
– End Racial Profiling immigration detention and deportation of our communities
– Resources for conversations
– Action
– Want to do more?
– Social Media Resources

OTHER RESOURCES
– Documented a film by undocumented Americans
– It Starts at Home: Confronting Anti-Blackness in South Asian Communities

TAKE ACTION


 

WHY TAKE ACTION NOW?

Together, as NQAPIA, we’ve made great accomplishments working for immigrant rights. We advocated for CIR while pushing for administrative reform. After years of pressure from the immigrant rights movement, in November 2014, the President announced his Executive Order for administrative relief, which included deferred action programs for childhood arrivals and parents of legal residents and changes in the visa programs. NQAPIA submitted comments for the Visa Modernization Task Force to expand visa programs and started educating our community on who qualifies for relief.

Even with this victory, we knew we had work to do. Many LGBTQ communities and those with criminal convictions were left out. We started to push President Obama to create a more inclusive action. In February, things took a turn for the worse. Immigration opposition groups filed for an injunction that put the expanded deferred action from deportation program on hold. NOW, the administration is using its Priority Enforcement Program to launch massive attacks on immigrant communities—profiling, detaining, and deporting thousands of individuals while Congress pushes for the more deportations

NQAPIA continues to work for expanded visas, protection of asylum seekers, and inclusion of LGBTQ communities in administrative relief. For RISE UP! NQAPIA Week of Action on Immigration we concentrate our efforts!

  1. Educate the community on administrative relief. Defend the expanded programs and help those who qualify for current relief apply. Prepare those who qualify for expanded programs so they can apply after the delay.
  2. Fight to end racial profiling, detention of vulnerable communities and the deportation of all our communities.

RISE UP! April 12th-18th, 2015 Join NQAPIA to end profiling, detention, and deportation

 


 

WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR THE WEEK OF ACTION?

DACA & DAPA

The 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program is available. Help people apply for DACA now, and educate people on how to prepare for the upcoming expanded DACA and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs. Our Asian, South Asian, and Southeast Asian communities have the lowest enrollment rates in comparison to those who qualify for the current DACA program. Most of our community members just don’t know. Help us raise awareness by hosting an event!

NQAPIA DACA & DAPA Resources

Educational Event

Sample Agenda for Admin Relief Event

Phone Bank

It’s easy: get your board, gather a few volunteers, ask from friends to join and call your members, friends, and family. We’ll help you create a list of people to call and provide a sample phone script. Contact pabitra_benjamin@nqapia.org for more information.

Host Legal Consultation Sessions

Work with a local legal clinic to hold short consultation sessions. Help your community understand if they benefit from the new programs or visa changes. Contact pabitra_benjamin@nqapia.org if you need help contacting a legal clinic.

Learn from Others

Find speakers, read stories or watch videos of queer AAPI individuals who fought for DACA.


 

CONVERSATIONS WITH PURPOSE

End Racial Profiling, Immigration Detention and Deportation of Our Communities

Provide space for communities to dialogue about issues of race, gender, queerness, and immigration. Focus on racial and religious profiling, detention, and deportation–and take action to pressure the federal government to change their ways. Hosting a conversation can be the perfect way to grow community support for the issues, while providing an interactive and welcoming educational opportunity.

Resources for Conversations

Tips for Hosting a Conversation (includes a sample agenda)
NQAPIA Sign-In Sheet

NQAPIA Racial Profiling Fact Sheet
Racial Profiling Fact Sheet (pdf)
NQAPIA Immigration Detention Fact Sheet
Immigration Detention Fact Sheet (pdf)
NQAPIA & SEAFN No Deportation Fact Sheet
No Deportation Fact Sheet (pdf)
LGBT AAPI Immigration Infographic (png)
Deportation & AAPI Communities Infographic (png)
LGBT AAPI Immigrants & Detention Infographic (png)

Action

Sign the Petition to Ask President Obama to End Racial and Religious Profiling, Detention & Deportation


 

WANT TO DO MORE?

Sign up here to help with advocacy and/or to take direct action for immigration & to stop profiling, detention, and deportation. In coming months, we will be advocating for reforms and joining hands with our broader immigrant communities to take direct action. JOIN US!

SOCIAL MEDIA RESOURCES

NQAPIA Social Media Toolkit

NQAPIA Rise Up! Social Media Specifics
#RiseUpNQAPIA!

 


 

OTHER RESOURCES

Documented a film by undocumented Americans

In 2011, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas outed himself as an undocumented immigrant in an essay published in the New York Times Magazine. Documented chronicles his journey to America from the Philippines as a child, his journey through America as an immigration reform activist, and his journey inward as he reconnects with his mother, whom he hasn’t seen in-person in over 20 years. NQAPIA has a Public Performance License. The film includes a discussion curriculum. Please email pabitra_benjamin@nqapia.org for more information, and give us at least one week to send you a DVD.

It Starts at Home: Confronting Anti-Blackness in the South Asian Communities

This curriculum was created by the Queer South Asian National Network and is an excellent facilitation guide to talk about race, anti-blackness in our communities, and immigration. It can be adapted for other API and immigrant communities.

 


TAKE ACTION

Download the petition to Ask President Obama to End Racial and Religious Profiling, Detention & Deportation for your event

#RiseUpNQAPIA!

Tell President Obama, Don’t Discriminate Against LGBTQ Immigrants

Expand Deferred Action for Families of All Shapes and Sizes

The recent executive action on immigration taken by President Obama came as a result of tremendous effort by affected communities. More than four million undocumented people will be eligible for relief but the way it is structured disproportionately excludes LGBTQ people.

Sign the petition to ask President Obama to recognize our families come in all shapes and sizes and to include LGBTQ immigrants without children in upcoming relief.

The President was not limited by law in the scope of his action. In fact, it was politics that guided his pen, as he calculated the safest level of risk, when what was needed was for him to show unflinching leadership to enact common sense reform. By expanding protection from deportation only to childhood arrivals and biological parents of U.S. citizen children and legal permanent residents the immigration action disproportionately excludes LGBTQ people.

Limiting those who deserve to live without fear only to childhood arrivals or biological parents of US Citizens (and legal permanent resident children) is an error that must be corrected.

Further, the executive action only recognizes certain types of families. Biological parenthood is not and should not be privileged as the sole relation that defines ties to this country. Undocumented LGBTQ people, through loving ties and chosen family, weave together relationships that should be honored, and community that makes up the fabric of this country too.

Millions have finally been provided relief. But millions more have still been excluded.

Take action now to demand that immigration policy change to recognize all families and stop the disproportionate exclusion of LGBT immigrants.

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.

DACA/DAPA

The original DACA program from 2012 is still accepting applications. Although the expanded DACA and DAPA programs are currently delayed by legal challenges, we expect these programs to will prevail through the courts.

What is DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA) & DEFERRED ACTION FOR PARENTAL ACCOUNTABILITY (DAPA)?

DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA)

planningAdministered by USCIS, DACA provides temporary relief from deportation for certain people brought to the United States as minors. It allows individuals who qualify to stay in the U.S. and obtain a work permit. DACA is granted on a case-by-case basis and does not provide a path to lawful permanent residence or U.S. citizenship. The DACA program was expanded by the November 20th announcement but the revisions are not yet in place. Check www.uscis.gov for updates.

Eights guidelines to qualify for the DACA program:

  1. Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. The expanded DACA program will eliminate the age ceiling.
  2. At least 15 years of age at the time of application or in removal proceedings.
  3. Entered the United States before the age of 16.
  4. Continuously resided in the United States (U.S.) since June 15, 2007 to the present time. The expanded DACA will change this date to January 1, 2010.
  5. Physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of applying for DACA.
  6. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012.
  7. Either currently in school, graduated from high school, completed a GED or equivalent, or a veteran honorably discharged.
  8. Not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

In coming months, work visas will be extended from two to three years. Current DACA recipients should check with USCIS about how these changes will impact them. DACA recipients must reapply every two years. Recipients should start the process between 120-150 days before expiration.

Find videos about DACA in Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Thai as well as receive legal advice in these languages at Asian American’s Advancing Justice and guides in Bengali, Urdu, and Hindi at South Asian Americans Leading Together.

Apply for DACA

To apply for DACA or renew DACA, visit www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.

If you need legal assistance in applying for DACA, explore NQAPIA’s legal resources.

Many LGBT young people, who were undocumented, have benefited from the DACA program and have gained legal status and work authorization.

DEFERRED ACTION FOR PARENTAL ACCOUNTABILITY (DAPA)

Info TableThe Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), administered by USCIS, provides temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). DAPA lasts for three years and is not yet accepting applicantions.

Qualification for the DAPA program:

  1. Have a U.S. citizen or LPR son or daughter (by blood or adoption) as of November 20, 2014
  2. Continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 2010
  3. Physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014, and at the time of applying
  4. Have no lawful immigration status on November 20, 2014
  5. No criminal convictions (including a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors), no gang involvement or terrorism, not a recent unlawful entrants, and others
  6. Pass a background check that includes a criminal and immigration background check

Check www.uscis.gov to confirm start dates and the application process.

Now, parents of LGBT people can benefit and gain legal status.

How do I prepare?

  1. Save money (at least $465 for the application fee).
  2. Get proof of identity such as a government-issued passport, birth certificate or ID card.
  3. Gather proof of relationship to U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) son or daughter.
  4. Gather proof of how long you have been in the U.S.
  5. Gather any criminal records.
  6. If you have a criminal conviction, check with an attorney to expunge, vacate, or modify this conviction.
  7. If you have a prior deportation or removal order, check with an attorney.
  8. Stay informed and know your rights!

For more information go to http://nilc.org/toptenwaystoprep.html.

Where can I find assistance to apply?

If you are in need of legal assistance, view NQAPIA’s list of legal resources that are free or low-cost. The specific groups listed here have not been vetted by NQAPIA to be queer friendly. Be sure to seek assistance from trusted clinics, and be aware of scams.

If you need help finding assistance, fill out NQAPIA’s DACA intake form, and we will help match you with free legal assistance.

Immigration Relief Executive Action Fact Sheet

NQAPIA Immigration Relief Executive Action Fact Sheet

People can currently apply for the DACA program that was announced on June 15, 2012. The expanded DACA program and DAPA is being delayed by partisan politics. We encourage people to prepare for the new programs. We will email our list as we have more information on the executive order.

President Obama announced several executive actions on immigration that can change the lives of millions of individuals. His announcements came after years, if not decades, of organizing and advocacy from immigrant communities.

NQAPIA commends the President for his actions and so many LGBT people, especially those who are Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, or Pacific Islander will enjoy relief from deportation.  Yet, we also urge law-makers to consider those still left behind. Many LGBTs will not benefit if they are not married or have children. Those who got into trouble with the law, no matter the reason or if dues have been paid, are excluded.  NQAPIA will press for more comprehensive solutions that include all of our community and we encourage those who qualify to APPLY for current programs.

Chinese Fact Sheet
Hindi Fact Sheet
Chinese & English Fact Sheet
English Fact Sheet

What is an executive action on immigration?
What does the executive action do, and who qualifies?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)
How do I prepare?
Where can I find assistance to apply?
Are there any risks?
Other people who will benefit.
Enforcement of immigration laws.
Where do we go from here?
Learn more

WHAT IS EXECUTIVE ACTION ON IMMIGRATION?

On June 15, 2012, the President announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program allowed certain undocumented individuals to lawfully stay in the U.S. and gain work authorization. Since June 30, 2014, 685,544 people have participated in DACA. The Asian countries with the largest estimated number of youth eligible are South Korean (33,000), Philippine (15,000), China (15,000), India (11,000), and Pakistan.

On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama announced expansions to the DACA program and a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.  This was done through a series of executive memoranda issued by the Department of Homeland Security.  DACA and DAPA will provide temporary relief from deportation for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants.

The programs are not a permanent fix to our broken immigration system, which only Congress can do.

 

WHAT DOES THE EXECUTIVE ACTION DO AND WHO QUALIFIES?

DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS (DACA)

planningAdministered by USCIS, DACA provides temporary relief from deportation for certain people brought to the United States as minors. It allows individuals who qualify to stay in the U.S. and obtain a work permit. DACA is granted on a case-by-case basis and does not provide a path to lawful permanent residence or U.S. citizenship. The DACA program was expanded by the November 20th announcement but the revisions are not yet in place. Check www.uscis.gov for updates.

Eights guidelines to qualify for the DACA program:

  1. Under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. The expanded DACA program will eliminate the age ceiling.
  2. At least 15 years of age at the time of application or in removal proceedings.
  3. Entered the United States before the age of 16.
  4. Continuously resided in the United States (U.S.) since June 15, 2007 to the present time. The expanded DACA will change this date to January 1, 2010.
  5. Physically present in the U.S. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of applying for DACA.
  6. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012.
  7. Either currently in school, graduated from high school, completed a GED or equivalent, or a veteran honorably discharged.
  8. Not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

In coming months, work visas will be extended from two to three years. Current DACA recipients should check with USCIS about how these changes will impact them. DACA recipients must reapply every two years. Recipients should start the process between 120-150 days before expiration.

Find videos about DACA in Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Thai as well as receive legal advice in these languages at Asian American’s Advancing Justice and guides in Bengali, Urdu and Hindi at South Asian Americans Leading Together.

To apply for DACA or renew DACA, visit www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.

Many LGBT young people, who were undocumented, have benefited from the DACA program and have gained legal status and work authorization.

DEFERRED ACTION FOR PARENTAL ACCOUNTABILITY (DAPA)

Info TableThe Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), administered by USCIS, provides temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). DAPA lasts for three years and should be ready for application in late May 2015.

Qualification for the DAPA program:

  1. Have a U.S. citizen or LPR son or daughter (by blood or adoption) as of November 20, 2014
  2. Continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 2010
  3. Physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014, and at the time of applying
  4. Have no lawful immigration status on November 20, 2014
  5. No criminal convictions (including a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors), no gang involvement or terrorism, not a recent unlawful entrants, and others
  6. Pass a background check that includes a criminal and immigration background check

Check www.uscis.gov to confirm start dates and the application process.

Now, parents of LGBT people can benefit and gain legal status.

 

HOW DO I PREPARE

  1. Save money (at least $465 for the application fee).
  2. Get proof of identity such as a government-issued passport, birth certificate or ID card.
  3. Gather proof of relationship to U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) son or daughter.
  4. Gather proof of how long you have been in the U.S.
  5. Gather any criminal records.
  6. If you have a criminal conviction, check with an attorney to expunge, vacate, or modify this conviction.
  7. If you have a prior deportation or removal order, check with an attorney.
  8. Stay informed and know your rights!

For more information go to http://nilc.org/toptenwaystoprep.html.

 

WHERE CAN I FIND ASSISTANCE TO APPLY?

Fees to apply for DACA and work authorization are currently $465, with limited fee waivers for people in need. USCIS is expected to begin accepting applications for expanded DACA in February 2015 and DAPA in May 2015. Seek advice from trusted legal immigration service provider and be aware of scams.

For clinics who serve API and/or LGBT populations, please email nqapia@gmail.com

 

ARE THERE ANY RISKS IN APPLYING FOR RELIEF?

No Human is IllegalEvery person who applies for administrative relief must go through a national security and criminal background check. Anyone who qualifies for relief will be entered into a national database, and there will be a simple fine for the unauthorized entry.  We encourage people to apply, and be prepared. BE AWARE OF FRAUD. Work with trusted legal immigration service providers. This is temporary relief, and we can work together to change our nation’s immigration laws and create a permanent pathway to citizenship.

 

 

OTHERS WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION:

EMPLOYMENT AND STUDENT VISAS

President Obama’s executive actions also included proposed changes in the visa programs. Individuals should talk to an immigration lawyer, and check www.uscis.gov for updates.

  • Expansion of degree programs eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, which authorizes foreign students from U.S. schools to gain work experience after graduation.  Students in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields will be allowed to work for a longer period in the United States.
  • Greater visa portability for employment-based permanent resident status.
  • Provide employment authorization (H4 visa) to spouses (including same-sex spouses) of H1B foreign workers who have been approved for a green card.

Several other changes are being proposed, and a task force is working to modernize the visa processing system.  Check http://www.dhs.gov/immigration-action for more information.

Many LGBT Asians and South Asians come to the United States on professional worker (H1B) visas or as foreign students (F-1). These changes will extend the time that they can stay in the US and improve their experience with securing a visa.

 

HOW ABOUT ENFORCEMENT OF IMMIGRATION LAWS?

DHS has discounted the problematic the Secure Communities program as a result of organizing and advocacy around the nation.  However, a new Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) focuses on national security, border security, and public safety.  Unlike Secure Communities that focused on pre-conviction arrests, PEP prioritizes detention and deportation post-conviction and continues to rely on cooperation with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. DHS programs such 287(g) and Criminal Alien Program still exist. DHS continues to expand the opening of new detention centers including those for families and children. If you need support with immigration enforcement concerns, please contact American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Work permits for foreign students graduating in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) are expanded for 2.5 years under Optional Practical Training (OPTs).  OPT will be expanded to include many more fields of study.  A significant number of LGBT students studying in the United States as F-1 student visa holders are from Asian countries.  Oftentimes, they come to the US to study, and then they come out.  Moreover, the administration is considering an expansion of the fields of study that qualify for OPTS.

This is a step in the right direction, but NQAPIA and our allies will still monitor the programs for the impact on LGBTs.

 

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Queer Asian Undocumented UnafraidAdministrative relief is a temporary solution. Our community must organize and press Congress for a permanent solution to our broken immigration system. The executive action also excludes community members with criminal convictions and LGBT people who do not have legally recognized partnerships or supportive families. The administrative action allows for profiling of communities under concerns of “national security” or “gang violence” with limited civil liberty protection.

As a community we must work to protect all of our family members.
Donate
 or contact nqapia@gmail.com to support NQAPIA’s work on immigration.

 

LEARN MORE

Contact us at nqapia@gmail.com with any questions.

 

The National Queer Asian Pacific IslanderAlliance (NQAPIA) is a federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI)organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT AAPIgroups, develop leadership, promote visibility, educate our community, enhance grassroots organizing, expand collaborations, and challenge homophobia and racism.

English – Immigration Relief Executive Action Fact Sheet

Chinese – Immigration Relief Executive Action Fact Sheet

Chinese and English – Immigration Relief Executive Action Fact Sheet

Hindi – Immigration Relief Executive Action Fact Sheet

QUEER ASIANS REVEL IN VICTORY BUT WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT

Breaking News: President Obama Announces Action on Immigration; Queer Asians respond

For Immediate Release: November 21, 2014
Media  Contacts:
Pabitra Benjamin, NQAPIA Organizing Director
202-805-5405, pabitra_benjamin@nqapia.org.
Roberta sklar 917-704-6358
(For Interview opportunities)

QUEER ASIANS REVEL IN VICTORY BUT WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT

 The President’s action is a great step forward but the devil, and our dignity, are often in the details.” – Pabitra Benjamin, NQAPIA   

On Thursday Nov 20, President Obama, in an historic announcement of Executive Action regarding immigration reform, talked about how immigrants came to the United States to contribute to American’s successes. “At the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance we know that LGBT immigrants, whether they are on a visa or undocumented, also contribute to the LGBT community’s successes. The LGBT community is strengthened because of LGBT immigrants,” said Aya Tasaki, an immigrant, law student, and NQAPIA Board Member.

NQAPIA applauds the President’s actions,” said Pabitra Benjamin, NQAPIA Organizing Director.  “It will grant administrative relief to millions of undocumented immigrants.  The President’s action will have tremendous impact on the lives of so many LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islanders through the expanded Deferred Action (DACA) Program; visas for workers in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Math; and change in those prioritized for deportation.   We know that so many LGBT AAPIs who are here on worker visas, entered as childhood arrivals, will benefit from these actions.”

The elimination of Secure Communities, where local police are given the power to enforce complicated immigration laws, will curb some of the state violence that so many immigrants experience and fear. However, the continued focus on enforcement through the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), increase in border security and renewed focus on ‘terrorism’ will still allow law enforcement agencies to cast a broad dragnet in criminalizing and profiling our communities.

We were also dismayed that the President did not include the parents of Dreamers for relief, create a new non-familial category for LGBT immigration, access to healthcare for undocumented immigrants or address alternatives for transgender people in detention.

LGBT AAPIs across the country worked incredibly hard for the past several years to urge Congress to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill and the President to take bold administrative action.   We collected thousands of postcards, made hundreds of phone calls, met with lawmakers, and had demonstrations across the country.  The President’s actions do not address every one of our issues but its a major step in the right direction.

These changes, within the limits of executive power are temporary and do not provide a path to citizenship.  Now is the time for the Congress to turn away from partisan politicking, and focus on humane legislation that will give us true comprehensive Immigration reform. Over the coming months, NQAPIA will work with the administration through implementation and to address these issues for the LGBT AAPI community. We’ll continue to press Congress to enact permanent, inclusive, and comprehensive immigration reform.  For NQAPIA, no one can be left behind in reform.

“The devil, and our dignity, are often in the details,”  Benjamin concluded.

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The National Queer Asian Pacific IslanderAlliance (NQAPIA) is a federation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI)organizations.  We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT AAPIgroups, develop leadership, promote visibility, educate our community, enhance grassroots organizing, expand collaborations, and challenge homophobia and racism.