Asian-led Community Organizations Call on Asian Pacific American New Yorkers to Join the National Movement to Push for Real Immigration Reform in 2013!
New York, NY – Today, February 28, Asian-led organizations citywide came together torally the Asian Pacific American community to join the national movement for immigration reform. The groups endorsed the New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform Campaign, coordinated by the New York Immigration Coalition and supported by over 150 labor, faith, grassroots and immigrant organizations across the state.
The groups announced their campaign plans, including postcards calling for“real” immigration reform, an Asian Pacific American community-led town hall forum on March 28th at LaGuardia Community College, and a large mobilization on April 10th to Washington, D.C.
“2013 represents our best chance in decades to win immigration reform. The Asian Pacific American community must capitalize on the political power we demonstrated during last November’s election,” said May Chen, President of the New York State Immigrant Action Fund. “It is critical to have the Asian Pacific American community push Congress and President Obama to pass real reform that keeps families together, protects workers and safeguards our civil rights.
David Chen, Executive Director of the Chinese-American Planning Council, emphasized, “The Asian Pacific American community must be ready to join the fight for immigration reform. The last package was passed over twenty years ago and we cannot wait another moment to fix this outdated system. Immigration reform is the most important legislation of our time and we must act now!
Steve Choi, Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action outlined three simple ways community members can join the campaign and urged them to “take a minute to sign the postcard, a few hours to participate in a community townhall or a day to travel down to Washington, D.C on April 10 to join thousands of others in a national march.
“Not only should individual community members act, but our sister organizations serving Asian Pacific American New Yorkers must also mobilize and reach out to their Congressional representatives,“ said Vanessa Leung, Deputy Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families. “There is too much at stake for us and this nation, and as Asian Pacific Americans we need our voices heard.”
Explaining what is at stake, Elizabeth OuYang, President of OCA-New York, added, “The current Senate “Gang of Eight” framework does not provide a realistic pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S. We must tell Senator Schumer that our immigrant community members are the backbone of America and we should not have to wait decades to become fully participating members of our society. The process must be shortened and streamlined.”
“As an organization of undocumented South Asian immigrant workers and youth, we welcome immigration reform that is truly just and humane,” said Monami Maulik, Founder and Executive Director of Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) and the Global South Asian Migrant Workers Alliance. “However, we will not sacrifice one community for another. We cannot trade off any more human and civil rights violation, the militarization and deaths of migrants at the borders, the profiling of communities in the name of national security, and the separation of families through arrest, detentions, and deportations. Reform must be rooted in full human rights.“
Highlighting the importance of family reunification, Mae Lee, Executive Director of the Chinese Progressive Association, stated, “The back family visa categories are a major problem for our communities. Currently, it can take decades for an Asian Pacific American citizen or green card holder to be reunited with a family member. We must demand our New York Congressional representatives to push for a comprehensive immigration reform that keeps families together!”
“Three generations of my family have paid a heavy toll because of the backlogs and outdated quotas in family visa categories,” said Angie Kim, an undocumented Korean American and recent DACA recipient, “Though I am the grandchild of U.S. citizens, I lived over a decade of my life undocumented and in limbo. If we are going to keep families together, family reunification must be the bedrock of a reform package.”
Advocating for the rights of immigrant workers essential to New York’s economy, Luna Ranjit, Executive Director of Adhikaar said, “We strongly oppose the work history requirement in the current proposal. It is going to be very difficult for domestic workers, restaurant workers, nail salon workers, day laborers and other informal sector workers to prove employment history in the U.S., let alone continuous employment. The work history requirement will also make it easier for unscrupulous employers to take advantage of the workers seeking to adjust their status, and will further drive millions of workers into the shadows.”
“Comprehensive immigration reform must try to close the gap between the rights of immigrant Americans and U.S.-born Americans,” said Margaret Fung, Executive Director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. "Recent laws have increasingly promoted racial profiling and resulted in civil rights violations against immigrants. Reform cannot stop short of laws reflecting human rights standards that ensure all workers make a decent living and all families can stay together.“
Rio M. Guerrero, Immigration and Nationality Law Committee Co-Chair of the Asian American Bar Association of New York added, “We support comprehensive legislation that will continue to make the U.S. the destination for world class businesses and the best and brightest workers.”
The APA Table in support of the New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform Campaign include:
Adhikaar, Asian American Arts Alliance, Asian American Bar Association of New York, Asian Americans for Equality, Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund, APICHA Community Health Center, Chinese-American Planning Council, Chinese Progressive Association, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, Desis Rising Up and Moving, Gay Asian & Pac Islander Men of NY, Hamilton-Madison House, Korean American Association of Greater New York, Korean American Family Service Center, Korean American Association of Queens, Korean Americans for Political Advancement, Korean American Business Council of New York, Korean Community Services of Metropolitan NY, MinKwon Center for Community Action, OCA-New York, Q-WAVE, South Asian Council for Social Services, South Asian Lesbian & Gay Association, South Asian Youth Action!, United Chinese Association of Brooklyn, Wonkwang Community Service Center (list in formation)