NAPABA Releases Statement in Support of the Biden Administration’s Immigration Action Promoting Family Unity and Protecting Dreamers, Criticizes Congressional Inaction

For Immediate Release:
Date: June 18, 2024
Rahat N. Babar, Deputy Executive Director

WASHINGTON – NAPABA applauds President Biden’s executive action on June 17, 2024 to keep American families together. It creates critical protections for undocumented spouses of United States citizens who have resided in this country for over 10 years and streamlines work visa access for Dreamers. Over half of the Asian American population is composed of immigrants, and NAPABA has for years advocated for the government to treat the immigrant community with fairness, dignity, and humanity. The new policy will grant formal work authorization to persons who are already contributing to this country in the shadows. NAPABA has long viewed family unity as the cornerstone of commonsense immigration reform, and we commend President Biden for focusing on keeping families together.

The Administration’s action today, however, is no excuse for Congressional inaction. During NAPABA Lobby Day last month, NAPABA members from across the country pressed Congress to protect the right to counsel within the immigration system and prioritize the reunification of families. NAPABA continues to call on Congress to advance commonsense immigration reform that upholds the basic values of the Nation and delivers statutory protections for our Dreamers.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of over 80,000 Asian Pacific American (APA) legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local APA bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of all backgrounds in the legal profession.

Hon. Jeffrey K. Oing Interviewed on Amici Podcast for AAPI Heritage Month

To celebrate AAPI Heritage Month this May, Hon. Jeffrey K. Oing, Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, First Department, in Manhattan, was interviewed by John Caher, on Amici, a podcast series which features interviews with judges from the New York State court system. In a program titled, “Promoting Diversity in the Courts,” Justice Oing shared his experiences as an immigrant who grew up with his family in New York City and rose through the ranks in the legal profession to the point where he was being considered for the role of Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court.

Born in Hong Kong until he was four and raised in East Harlem once his parents immigrated to the States, Justice Oing felt fortunate to have never felt like an outsider. Although his parents were not adamant on preserving his Chinese identity, he did not feel disconnected from his culture because of the large Shanghainese community that surrounded him.

During his adolescence, Justice Oing utilized what he recognized as his “gift of gab,” which is a fun way of saying that he loved to talk with people and get to know them. He uses this skill to this day, stating, “Every time I’m in a room with new people, I’m always interested to learn about them because they can read about me, they know about me but I’m really interested about them. I want to know what their story is.” 

Justice Oing began his career never thinking about being a judge, even after clerking for a Chief Justice in New Jersey Supreme Court. It wasn’t until he started working at New York State Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street and served as a court attorney where he helped draft decisions for judges that he discovered being a judge is what he wanted to do. He describes this eye-opening experience, saying, “I got the job and it was nirvana.”

As there weren’t many Asians running for judge in 2000, he stuck out. Everyone knew his name and eventually he was elected as the fourth judge of Chinese descent in New York County. In 2010, he was elected to New York State Supreme Court, being the third of Chinese descent to serve in New York County.

His representation in the court was pioneering, especially as Asian representation in the law was not common. He hones in on this point, calling out the stereotypical belief that Asians can’t be leaders or are not viewed as having a management capability. He says, “we’re viewed as the … hard-working person and less as a person who can run or manage a company. And it’s sort of the docile image that we have.” Being in his role as a judge and meeting other Asian judges with the same ambition to make strides gave him hope for a future with more Asian representation on the bench. 

Justice Oing expressed his passion for diversity and inclusion with his involvement in the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission and the Chinese American Planning Council. Within the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission, he supports their efforts in promoting racial and ethnic fairness to everyone in the court system. As a member of the Chinese American Planning Council, he focuses on services that provide language access to support Asian community needs. “We want to ensure that all people, all the folks who come to our services, get that assistance that they need,” he explained. “So language is a big deal for me, just because of who I am.” 

Justice Oing ends his discussion by recognizing that many immigrant parents have the same goal as native-born Americans: a better life. He perfectly wraps up the conversation by observing, “The pie is pretty big. We all don’t need to have the largest slice, but if everybody can get a slice, I think that will be a good thing.”

Listen here to the full podcast which contains surprising facts about Justice Oing, plus an important announcement:

In The News: Margaret Fung, Co-Founder of AALDEF, is Retiring after 50 Years of Service as a Pioneer in the Struggle for AAPI Civil Rights

On April 1, 2024, AsAm News published an article by Ti-Hua Chang reporting on the retirement of  Margaret Fung, co-founder of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF). After serving as Executive Director of AALDEF for most of the fifty years she’s been with the organization, she is now retiring from her position in October.

AALDEF, based in New York, is a national organization known for spearheading advocacy efforts in support AAPI workers’ rights, voting rights, and anti-Asian hate initiatives, among others. Margaret Fung, who pioneered many such civil rights activities, has been praised by community leaders, especially in Chinatown, for her continuous fight to improve the lives of the working people and immigrant communities. After hearing about her retirement, many wondered what the future of AALDEF will look like without her prominent contributions. 

Executive Director of the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) Yang Chen stated, “AALDEF is the NAACP of the Asian American community and has done a lot of great work in the last 50 years. Now that Margaret is stepping down, the big question is: will they be able to perpetuate that, continue that.”

The full article can be found at:

Whatever the future holds for AALDEF in the years to come, Margaret’s legacy as an AAPI civil rights advocate and trailblazer in the male-dominated legal field will continue to live on. AABANY honors Margaret for all that she has accomplished in a storied career. 

Support Stabbing Victim Mr. Yoo

Kang Hwan Yoo, a 70-year-old Korean immigrant business owner was stabbed repeatedly inside his store last month. Last week, the alleged perpetrator was finally arrested, but some of Mr. Yoo’s most challenging times remain ahead.

AABANY, along with community leaders and organizations, demands justice for Mr. Yoo. AABANY Board and AAVTF Member, Christopher Bae, is representing Mr. Yoo pro bono to help ensure that he receives all the legal, financial, and victim services that he needs. 

Please consider donating to Mr. Yoo’s official Gofundme. Click here to learn more and to donate. 

AABANY Congratulates Jennifer H. Wu on Testifying before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the Federal Response to Anti-Asian Racism

On March 24, 2023, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) organized a briefing to address the federal government’s response to anti-Asian racism in the United States. Jennifer H. Wu, Co-Chair of the AABANY Women’s Committee and a member of the AABANY Anti-Asian Violence Task Force, provided her testimony during the session. Jennifer highlighted the fact that none of her pro bono clients, who were victims of well-known anti-Asian hate crimes, had ever reported the crimes to federal agencies. “I am here, because I became a civil rights lawyer,” Jennifer declared, “because there has been no federal response to anti-Asian racism.”

During her testimony, Jennifer emphasized the importance of reading AABANY’s reports on anti-Asian violence in 2021 and 2022 to understand “the response from the local community to people in our community dying.” She acknowledged the precipitous rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in New York City and the growing atmosphere among of fear within the AAPI community during the pandemic. Jennifer called for comprehensive support for victims, including providing and advocating for qualified and experienced interpreters in interactions with the police and improved training and education. In addition, “[the] victims need wraparound services [such as] people to help them with [setting up a] Go Fund Me. In order to withdraw funds, you need [a] Social Security number from the United States as well as [a] bank account [in] the United States. They also need [the] ability to apply for U visas if they are undocumented. They need help with healthcare.” Jennifer, herself a daughter of immigrant parents and a mother of three children, expressed her deep “yearn[ing] for a better future.” 

AABANY extends our congratulations and gratitude to Jennifer for her outstanding efforts and advocacy work in support of the AAPI community during a most difficult and challenging time. Her invaluable pro bono work advising and assisting survivors and victims of anti-Asian violence in New York over the past few years were recognized with a Member of the Year Award at AABANY’s 2023 Annual Meeting. We commend her for her dedication and commitment.

To view the full hearing before the USCCR, please click here

To view the highlights of AAPI leaders who testified: 

  • Jo-Ann Yoo, Asian American Federation
  • John Yang, Asian Americans Advancing Justice
  • Cynthia Choi, Chinese for Affirmative Action
  • Jennifer Wu, Asian American Bar Association of New York
  • Manjusha P. Kulkarni, AAPI Equity Alliance

please click here. Thanks to Commissioner Magpantay for sharing the highlight video.

Sandra Ung, Former AABANY Treasurer, Runs for City Council on Platform of Unity for the Flushing Community

Former AABANY Treasurer and longtime community advocate Sandra Ung has announced her candidacy for New York City Council for the upcoming 2021 election. Sandra, who has dedicated her life to serving the Queens community, hopes to use her extensive experience in and passion for law and public service to best support and represent the Flushing community.

Growing up, Sandra always knew she wanted to be a lawyer. “I’ve always believed that it’s important to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves,” she said in a recent interview. Sandra, who is ethnically Chinese, fled Cambodia during the genocide and immigrated to the United States when she was just seven years old. Soon after, she moved to Flushing, where she has called home ever since. But growing up as an immigrant presented many challenges.

“It’s not easy when you come to a country where you don’t know the language and have to start over,” she said. “But I quickly realized that we were not the only family on this path.” With this passion for community justice in mind, Sandra attended New York City public schools until graduating from Hunter College and then going to Columbia Law School to get her J.D. in 2001. She then worked at a law firm, where she learned detail-oriented writing and organizational skills that allowed her to really understand how to be a professional.

She then worked for Sanctuary For Families, a New York non-profit focused on helping victims of domestic violence and related forms of gender violence. Domestic violence is not regularly or openly talked about in the Asian American community, and survivors often find it difficult to talk to counselors and attorneys, especially when they look nothing like them. When working with organizations like Sanctuary for Families and the Korean American Family Service Center, Sandra saw her Asian American clients slowly open up to her, and she realized how important it is to have a support system that truly understands you and, therefore, your needs.

Now, one of Sandra’s platforms is to provide greater assistance for domestic violence victims. The pandemic has revealed what people in the field already know: domestic violence is a real, pressing issue in every community, and it is not addressed well enough. Therefore, true domestic violence advocacy requires not only highlighting and funding service providers, but also providing ways for survivors of domestic violence to physically move-out, with better housing solutions, and become financially independent from their abusers.

Sandra has worked for the New York State Assembly as a Special Assistant to the NYS Commissioner on Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; a Legislative Assistant to former New York City Comptrollers Bill Thompson and John Liu; and Chief of Staff to former New York State Assemblyman Jimmy Meng. Currently, she is the Special Assistant to Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Queens), leading the congresswoman’s re-election campaigns and running Grace’s At the Table PAC, a political action committee dedicated to expanding women and minority representation in politics. As the eyes and ears on the ground while the congresswoman is in D.C., Sandra is proud to represent the immigrant community and support them through the same challenges she faced growing up. She especially enjoys running free workshops that teach public speaking and career-based skills to young women who lack access to this knowledge, like she did when she was also growing up in an immigrant family. “We really understand that if you want to have a seat at the table, you need the basic skill set to get you to that table in the first place,” she said.

While serving as AABANY’s Treasurer, Sandra felt empowered by the inclusivity that AABANY created for its community. Due to the breadth and diversity of its members and leaders, AABANY showed Sandra the importance of having strong representation of Asian Americans in leading legal, public interest, and government positions, where they will truly advocate for the communities they serve.

Therefore, after over a decade working for New York state and years of working on other people’s campaigns, Sandra feels ready to tackle and win her own. “The recent national and local elections have shown that we are more divided than ever,” she said. “So, in campaigning, it is especially important to me to set a positive tone.” She hopes to focus on creating unity within the Flushing community, building a broad coalition as strong as their neighborhood.

Now more than ever, Sandra looks up to her mother, who was born in Cambodia and forced to leave her family during the genocide. While working in a laundromat all her life, Sandra’s mother taught her about perseverance and hard work; her parents continue to inspire her to give back to the country that gave them everything they have.

“The people around me have given me the courage to try and do this,” she said. “I believe in my community, I believe in myself, and I believe that I will be the best person for this job.”

To learn more about Sandra’s campaign and find out how you can get involved, please visit

To hear more about the campaign from Sandra herself, please watch the video below.

To follow Sandra’s campaign on social media, please visit their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

This member profile has been published for informational purposes only and does not constitute and should not be construed as a campaign endorsement.

Asian/Immigrant Mental Wellness Workshop, June 10, Doors Open at 9am!

Last Chance to Register! Free Admission – Pre-Registration Required – Free Refreshments.

Register HERE.
Or go to:

Mental Wellness Workshop
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Queens Library at Flushing
41-17 Main Street, Flushing Queens, NY 11355
Lower Level Auditorium

9:00 am: Doors open.  Entry is not permitted before this time.
9:00 – 9:30 am: Registration & Free Continental Breakfast
9:30 am – 12:30 pm: Program Presentation/Panel Discussion
12:30 – 1:00 pm Free Refreshments/Networking

Hamilton Madison House, Samaritans Suicide Prevention Center and the Problem Gambling Prevention Coalition invite you to attend a free Asian/Immigrant Mental Wellness Workshop at the Queens Flushing Library, Wednesday, June 10, 2015.  

Join us for this open discussion with mental health professionals as we address the unspoken problem of suicide and mental wellness in the Asian and Immigrant community.  

Please share this opportunity with your colleagues.


Social workers, guidance counselors, psychologists, substance abuse and addiction counselors, home health workers and other family and community health providers working within the Asian/Immigrant community as well as others those who provide care, support and/or treatment to members of that community.


Our Unspoken Problem touches the lives of many members of the Asian and Immigrant community.  Cultural stigmatization of mental health problems and insufficient access to culturally competent services result in the needless suffering of friends and family.

  • The Asian/Immigrant Community has among the highest suicide rates in the country.
  • Asians are consistently identified as having the highest risk for problem gambling.
  • The NYC High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (CDC) showed an increase in male and female Asian students who “seriously considered suicide” in the past 12 months.
  • Asian American Women (ages 65-84) consistently have the highest suicide rate relative to other racial demographics.
  • Untreated mental health problems like depression and addiction can lead to death, domestic violence, financial ruin, family disintegration, long-term hospitalization and incarceration-impacting both the individuals, families and their community.


  • Join us at the Asian/Immigrant Mental Wellness Workshop and take part in an open discussion with mental health professionals as we address this Unspoken Problem and the mental wellness of our community.
  • Confront the critical problems impacting our community: addiction, problem gambling, parenting/grandparenting challenges, and mental health treatment for the Korean Community.

Learn about where and how to access mental wellness support for friends, family, and yourself! Engage in conversation about how to recognize signs of mental health problems in your colleagues, friends, and family.


  • Alan Ross, Addressing the Unspoken Problem
  • Peter Yee, Problem Gambling in the Asian community
  • Erica Vien,  Parenting Challenges for Asian immigrants
  • Inok Kim, Wellness Challenges for Korean Americans
  • Ginette Wong, Addictive Behaviors in the Asian community

This free workshop is a community collaboration of the Samaritans of New York, Hamilton Madison House and the Problem Gambling Prevention Coalition with funding provided by New York City Council Members Elizabeth Crowley, Peter Koo, Paul Vallone, Mark Weprin, Ruben Wills, and the Neuberger Berman Foundation, in association with the Queens Library at Flushing.