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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Close to 150 immigrants and advocates from Black and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities came together in Washington, D.C. for a day of action on immigration. The two groups, often unheard in the debate about immigration policy, joined forces to call for a clean DREAM Act and a permanent solution for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.
Led by UndocuBlack and the AAPI Immigrant Rights Organizing Table, the day featured a press conference with House Minority Whip Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA), Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA).
Central demands include:
- NO change must be made to TPS and no more terminations until a legislative solution is achieved.
- The best permanent solutions that TPS holders support are ones that provide full permanent protection for all countries. It is important that this includes Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Nicaragua and Haiti who all had terminations in 2017.
- A clean DREAM Act focused on creating pathways to citizenship, not expanded enforcement.
Jonathan Jayes-Green, Co-Creator and National Coordinator for the UndocuBlack Network remarked, “Black and AAPI immigrants are joining hands on this historic day of action to reject the lie that our people are disposable and that we are each other’s enemies. We are centering and uplifting our own voices, holding elected officials accountable and demanding a clean Dream Act and a permanent solution for TPS holders together. The time is now and Congress needs to act on both before the end of the year.”
“DACA changed my life. It allowed me to go to and finish school, get a good job and support my family. A clean DREAM Act must pass before Christmas,” said Jung Woo Kim speaking on behalf of the Korean Resource Center and the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC). “We, young immigrant Americans, are an important part of the future of this nation. What kind of government would throw away its young people?”
Anthony Ng with Asian Americans Advancing Justice said, “Each day Congress doesn’t take action, undocumented youth become more vulnerable to deportation while losing their ability to provide for themselves and their family. Inaction from Congress on this issue is unacceptable. Congress must pass a clean Dream Act by the end of the year.”
“As an undocumented immigrant, womxn of color, and a Dreamer, I can attest to the fact that this bill will determine the future of 11 million human lives. This bill is not just a policy. This bill is not an amnesty. This bill is about true American value, American history, humanity, and justice,” said Angie Kim, who participated in the press conference on behalf of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. “Without a clean DREAM Act, nearly 800,000 young lives will be at risk of deportation and inhumanely forced to walk away from the only home, the only life they know. In effect, it will also jeopardize the lives of 11 million undocumented families. No human being is illegal and every human being deserves a chance to pursue happiness and foster a better future for their children. Without a clean Dream Act, my life will be in a limbo, and I will be separated from my family.”
“As Nepalis, as Asian Americans and as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients, we have come to DC to join forces with our comrades from the African immigrant community to demand a permanent solution to TPS now,” explained Maya Gurung, a TPS recipient with Adhikaar. “There are over 430,000 people who have TPS and the Trump administration is cancelling TPS programs, throwing our lives into turmoil. We demand passage of the American Promise Act in the House and the SECURE Act in the Senate for TPS recipients. We need a permanent solution for our communities and a clean DREAM Act for our fellow Dreamers.”
Immediately following the press conference, the groups delivered a CREDO petition with 400,000 signatures in support of DREAMers and TPS holders to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY), Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI), Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY), and Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) Capitol Hill offices.
While the groups are joining a larger effort to pass the DREAM Act, they also lifted up the fight for a permanent solution for TPS as the decisions for four countries loom in 2018. Incoming Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Neilson has not expressed support for continuing the program.
Trump’s decision to end TPS will impact 420,000 immigrants from over 10 countries, the majority of which have populations that are majority black, including Sudan, South Sudan, Haiti, Somalia, Yemen, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua. Ending DACA will impact 800,000 youth and young adults across the U.S.
The day of action occurred on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, as a part of a full week of advocacy with thousands of undocumented young people, TPS holders, advocates and supporters. On Wednesday, the two groups will join the broader immigration coalition protest on Capitol Hill.