PRESS RELEASE / API Equality-LA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / January 29, 2013
API Equality-LA Applauds President Obama’s LGBT Inclusive Immigration Reform Principles
Los Angeles – Today, API Equality-LA, a grassroots coalition advancing LGBT civil rights in Asian and Pacific Islander communities, applauds President Obama’s newly released principles on comprehensive immigration reform that include a pathway to citizenship for the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants and enhanced family reunification provisions, including eliminating existing backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system, raising annual country caps, and giving binational couples the ability to apply for permanent residency.
Immigration through family reunification is among the most common pathways for Asian and Pacific Islander families to become residents in the United States. According to the report A Devastating Wait: Family Unity and the Immigration Backlogs by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California, although Asian Americans comprise only 4~5% of the US population, they sponsor nearly one-third of all family-based immigrants. The report also found that over one million Asian American family members receive their green cards through family-based immigration from 2002-2006. With a percentage of foreign-born greater than any other ethnic group, Asian Americans rely heavily on family-sponsored immigration and, as a result, are disproportionately impacted by waiting in the family immigration backlogs.
Eileen Ma, Executive Director of API Equality-LA, says, “Our broken immigration system is forcing Asian and Pacific Islander families to live in the shadows and, at times, tearing them apart. President Obama’s immigration reform principles will help both Asian and Pacific Islander LGBT families and non-LGBT families. Any reform must ensure that no families are excluded, regardless of where they are from and how they express their love to each other. Today, we commend President Obama’s commitment to ensure that all families have a chance to be reunified.”
Charlie Gu, a volunteer with API Equality-LA who is in a same-sex binational couple, says, “The president’s vision to include same-sex binational couples in his comprehensive immigration reform efforts brings new hope for committed couples who live in the fear of separation everyday due to our discriminatory immigration policy. We hope Congress will follow his leadership and act quickly so that Americans will not be forced to choose between the person they love and their home.”
Marshall Wong, Co-Chair of API Equality-LA, indicates, “API Equality-LA is committed to fighting for inclusive, comprehensive immigration reform in order to ensure that the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants have a chance to step out of the shadows and become productive members of society. To that end, we are committed to engage the Asian and Pacific Islander community and beyond in a dialogue about immigration reform and call on Congress and the President to give undocumented immigrants a chance to keep our families together.”
API Equality-LA is a coalition of organizations and individuals who are committed to working in the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities in Greater Los Angeles for fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) families through community education and advocacy.
Visit API Equality-LA at apiequalityla.org or follow us on Twitter @apiequalityla