For Immediate Release
February 2, 2016
Emily Kessel of NAKASEC, firstname.lastname@example.org
Katrina Dizon Mariategue of SEARAC, email@example.com
Sasha W. of NQAPIA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lakshmi Sridaran of SAALT, email@example.com
NAKASEC, NQAPIA, SAALT, and SEARAC Deliver Petition Denouncing ICE Raids to the White House
AAPIs Join the Fight to Demand an End to Deportations Targeting Central American Families
WASHINGTON, DC— Today, the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC), National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) joined immigrant and refugee advocates, families, and community members in front of the White House to deliver a petition with more than 130,000 signatures to condemn raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and instead provide the Central American children and families who came seeking protection from life-threatening violence in their home countries with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
SEARAC Executive Director Quyen Dinh also presented the White House with a solidarity letter signed by over 70 AAPI organizations and allies throughout the country including California, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, and Virginia. A petition with over 400 individual AAPI community member signatures organized by 18 Million Rising was also presented as part of the delivery.
Dinh said, “ICE’s decision to target asylum-seeking children and families is a terrible mistake that only instills fear in ALL our communities. SEARAC, NAKASEC, NQAPIA, SAALT, and many in the AAPI community stand in solidarity with the Central American families. Like these refugees, many of our own families arrived to this country fleeing violence and poverty, including my parents, who were among the 1.3 million Southeast Asian Americans resettled into the U.S. following the Vietnam War. We urge the Administration to halt inhumane enforcement policies targeting immigrant and refugee families seeking protection within our borders.”
NAKASEC Executive Director Dae Joong Yoon, KRCC Executive Director Inhe Choi, and KRC Interim Executive Director Jenny Seon released the following statement denouncing the ICE raids: “We are appalled that while over 5 million immigrant students and parents fight for the implementation of the DAPA and expanded DACA programs, the Obama administration decides to move forward on widely condemned raids targeting another group of vulnerable children and families. Many communities are victims of war and poverty, so protecting refugees and asylum seekers is a key priority for all of us including the Korean American community and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Looking at our shared history, we are all refugees and immigrants. These Central American children and parents are a part of our family. America is and we are better than this.”
The groups participating in the petition delivery include: NAKASEC, NQAPIA, SEARAC, the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), Reform Immigration FOR America (RI4A), CREDO Action, Southeast Immigrant Rights Network (SEIRN), Church World Service (CWS), Presente.org, Center for Popular Democracy Action, Just Foreign Policy, America’s Voice, CASA in Action, and impacted families.
Sasha W., Organizing Director for NQAPIA, added: “President Obama has become the ‘deporter-in-chief,’ deporting more immigrants than his predecessors. Like the so-called ‘Secure Communities’ program, and the new Priority Enforcement Program, creating a culture of fear does not lead to safety. As queer API immigrants, these raids make us feel less safe and less American. Immigrants and refugees are part of our homes, our families, and our daily lives. We stand against rhetorics and policies that criminalize Syrian refugees, Central American refugees and all those migrating to escape violence. The only crime here is deporting Central American refugees over the holiday weekend. President Obama needs to stop deporting immigrants, families, and children, and focus instead on pushing for DACA+ and DAPA in the courts and stopping profiling in immigration enforcement.”
SAALT Director of National Policy and Advocacy, Lakshmi Sridaran, said: “It is a dangerous and disturbing trend to deport and refuse refugees and asylum seekers who are fleeing violence. Our immigration priorities should be focused on implementing the expanded DACA and DAPA programs and passing common sense immigration reform legislation, not on enforcement measures that criminalize children and families. We know that the conditions of the ICE family residential centers where many of these families will be sent are often deplorable. All immigrants deserve to be treated with fairness and dignity and raids over a holiday weekend are unacceptable.”
“FIRM will do everything in its power to stop this plan from continue to be implemented. We cannot and we will not remain silent when our families are living in fear of being separated and sent back to face possible harm, including death. The government must work to ensure that anyone in the country seeking protection is afforded safety, not deportation. Until then, our nationwide movement and its supporters will fight hard to stop these deportations from taking place. President Obama, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and ICE Director Sarah Saldana betrayal of the Latino and immigrant communities is one that will mark his legacy and that of this administration,” concluded FIRM spokesperson Sulma Arias.“
Solidarity statement shared by Representative Mike Honda (CA-7):
“Thank you all for your critical leadership and commitment. Today, I join with you in solidarity with immigrant families to call on the the Administration to end the ICE raids and deportation of Central American women and children. It is shameful that the U.S. government are deporting women and children back countries it has suspended their Peace Corps programs in because they are too dangerous for our Peace Corps volunteers. I sent a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security today with my concerns and urging him to end the raids and afford all asylum seekers with the due process they deserve. Instead of rounding up our neighbors, we must treat refugee families with compassion and fairness. I will continue to fight with you for an immigration and refugee system that truly reflects our American values.”
For a full list of AAPI organizational signers CLICK HERE.