On April 18, 2016, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case U.S. v Texas. The case challenged President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration, which expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and created a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program.
NQAPIA filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief, with GAPIMNY as one of the co-sponsors, illustrating the program’s impact on the LGBTQ community. The President’s immigration programs could help up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including 400,000 Asians, to be free from deportation and gain work authorization. An estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants are LGBT, of which a disproportionate share is API.
The brief shows how the lower court’s suspension of the programs place LGBT families in extremely difficult circumstances. Undocumented LGBT parents and children must (a) return to their home countries where LGBT people are persecuted, jailed, and even sentenced to death or (b) parents must leave the United States and abandon their children without any or with minimal family support. The expanded DACA and DAPA programs allow undocumented LGBT individuals and LGBT individuals with undocumented family members to stay in the U.S. and keep families together.
Lower courts suspended the immigration programs. The programs would specifically benefit undocumented immigrants over 30 years old who entered the United States as minors (expanded DACA) and undocumented parents of citizen and legal permanent resident children (DAPA).http://www.nqapia.org/wpp/
Brief is here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/
NQAPIA’s brief highlights the stories of LGBT Asian immigrants:
Sandra Meetran is a 16 year-old student in Rhode Island. She is a citizen but her father was deported to Laos when she was younger which made her coming out much more challenging. Her family would have benefitted from DAPA.
Jose Antonio Vargas is a 34 year-old Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, filmmaker, and media producer. Jose is undocumented and entered the U.S. when he was 12 from the Philippines. Because he is now over 30, he is ineligible to apply for deferred action from deportation, but could apply for the expanded DACA.
Tony Choi is a 24 year-old gay Korean undocumented beneficiary of the original DACA program (for those under 30) from New Jersey. In 2010, his options were to live a closeted life taking care of this mother with cancer or return to Korea where his LGBT identity would subject him to harsh hazing for two years in the mandatory military service. He successfully applied for DACA and has helped dozens of other undocumented youth apply for DACA and continued fighting against deportations.
These stories demonstrate how the expanded DACA and DAPA programs protect LGBT APIs from harassment, discrimination and hardship. Read more here: http://www.nqapia.
Joining NQAPIA as co-signers to the brief are variety of LGBT organizations from various regions of the county, various ethnicities, allies, and youth and transgender groups.
Local LGBT Asian/ South Asian organizations:
- Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Portland
- Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York
- Gay Asian Pacific Alliance – San Francisco
- hotpot! Philadelphia
- Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance (QAPA) Boston
- United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance (UTOPIA) Seattle
- API Chaya – Seattle
- Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF)
- Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement – Los Angeles
- New York City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center
- VAYLA (Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association) – New Orleans
National LGBT organizations:
- Immigration Equality
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- National LGBTQ Task Force
- PFLAG National
- Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
- Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
- The Trevor Project
- Transgender Law Center