Immigration and Immigrant Rights
The overwhelming majority of Asian Americans are immigrants or the children of immigrants, and the Asian American and Pacific Islander population includes the highest proportion of immigrants of other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. Immigration continues to be a significant, current, life-affecting issue for AAPIs across the country, particularly as more immigrants enter the U.S. from Asia than from any other region in the world.
In Immigration Today
Approximately 800,000 DACA recipients vowed to fight harder for a pathway to citizenship when plans to end the current DACA program were announced on September 5, 2017. Advancing Justice | AAJC created a web page of DACA resources about renewals, know your rights information, and materials to continue support for the Dreamers.
Take Action Now!
- Call your Senators and Members of Congress and tell them to support the DREAM Act
- Call Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (202) 225-0600 and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (202) 224-2541 and ask them to bring the DREAM Act up for a vote.
No Muslim Ban Ever
On October 17, a day before the third iteration of the Muslim ban was to take effect, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii granted a nationwide temporary restraining order blocking the majority of the new ban. U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang of Maryland also ordered a preliminary injunction of the ban. We remain committed to fighting against any version of a Muslim ban.
No Ban, No Wall
On January 25, the administration issued two executive orders that included several inhumane and draconian measures that would criminalize immigrants and cause fear in immigrant communities. The executive orders include a promise to withhold federal funding to sanctuary cities, greatly increase the number of immigration enforcement officers and border patrol officers, resurrect the controversial Secure Communities program, build a wall at the Southern border, create new deportation priorities, and to increase detention—including children and families—at the border, among other things. We will provide more analysis and information on this order as it becomes available.
On January 27, President Trump issued an executive order creating a Muslim ban, ending the Syrian refugee program and temporarily halting the entire refugee program. The executive order effectively bans all entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants from Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan for a 90 day period without assessment of actual security threats. The ban has the potential to be extended indefinitely if those countries fail to meet certain requirements. Initially, the order was applied to lawful permanent residents (people with green cards) despite the fact that a blanket ban on lawful permanent residents is not legal.
People with questions about travel should read the factsheets below and speak to an attorney or Bureau of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representative.
- Know Your Rights for DACA recipients and DACA-eligible immigrants (Advancing Justice - Los Angeles)
- Community Guidance: Restrictions of Muslim Entry to the U.S. (Muslim Advocates)
Did you miss the Immigration Policy Webinar: Dismantling of DACA and Pursuit of the DREAM Act? You can listen to the recording here.
The national debate continues to largely ignore the stake Asian Americans have in the debate over immigration, despite facts like the following: 40 percent of all immigrants come to the U.S. from Asia; 1.5 million of those immigrants are undocumented; nearly two-thirds of all Asian Americans are foreign-born. Advancing Justice | AAJC works to educate the public, lawmakers, and the media on Asian Americans' relationship to immigration, as well as the pressing need to overhaul immigration policies and programs that separate families, contradict our nation's values, and simply don't make sense.
Our program has focused on winning a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., family re-unification and keeping families together, immigration enforcement and racial profiling, due process rights, detention standards, removal and repatriation regulations and anti-immigrant state and local legislation. We have authored and signed on to a number of amicus curiae briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and appellate courts in cases affecting the rights of immigrants, and are currently embarking on an impact litigation program.