On September 28, 2014 at P.S. 24 in Sunset Park, members of the Government Service & Public Interest Committee and Immigration & Nationality Law Committee of AABANY, in collaboration with members of the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund, proudly presented a community presentation on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  We served as partners in the New York Immigration Coalition’s inaugural effort to include the Asian Pacific Islander community in its annual multi-service consular event, recognizing the great need for more outreach, education, and both social and legal services in the API community.

The speakers included Annie Wang, AALDEF attorney and immigration law specialist, Jeffrey Louie, a core member of Revolutionizing Asian American Immigrant Stories on the East Coast (RAISE), and Elizabeth Plum, DACA coordinator at the NYIC, with Katrina Goyco, co-chair of the Government Service & Public Interest Committee at AABANY introducing the speakers and making remarks.  One highlight of this Know Your Rights Forum was the real life account given by Jeffrey Louie about how DACA changed his life.  Jeffrey, a recent CUNY graduate, wants to advocate for more fair and humane immigration reform in the future. RAISE, the East Coast’s first undocumented youth group, is a remarkable group of DREAMers. Here is their inspiring collective story, “Why We Rise.” Check it out: http://vimeo.com/66714074

After the presentation, AABANY attorneys, Yao Ma and Keli Liu, led by Immigration & Nationality Law Committee co-chair, Tsui Yee, counseled several individuals who had questions about DACA and immigration laws.  Other AABANY members, including Ran Kyong Yoo, Fonyu Kong, and Pounnaphone Phomtalikhith, took advantage of this pro bono opportunity, offering their time and translation abilities at this forum.  Vicky Mao, an AABANY law student member, translated outreach materials for the DACA program in simplified and traditional Chinese, and provided expert simultaneous translation in Mandarin for the entire event. 

New York City Council Member Carlos Menchaca made public remarks at the close of our DACA program, showing his support for our efforts and the need to reach the API community in his efforts as Chair of the City Council’s Immigration Committee.  Joyce Choi Li, City Council’s Community Liaison to the API community, was present for the entire day.  All major Chinese newspapers, Sing Tao, World Journal, and China Press, covered our program and/or interviewed the speakers, as well as the Epoch Times, and the television channel, Sinovision. 

Many thanks to all of the AABANY members who contributed to the success of this program, as well as to Council Member Carlos Menchaca’s Office and to the United Chinese Association of Brooklyn for their tremendous support, and to our partners in the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund and the New York Immigration Coalition for their outstanding collaborative effort and willingness to join us in a mission to make steps towards progress in New York City for the API community.