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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

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.

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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