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.