Gay Asian-American groups send letter to Congress, president on immigration reform

As Congress reconvenes this week after its spring recess, Senate majority leader Bill Frist, House speaker Dennis Hastert, and President Bush were put on notice by a coalition of LGBT Asian-American groups—led by the Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York—that the immigration reform bill currently pending is largely unacceptable.

BY admin

April 26 2006 12:00 AM ET

As Congress
reconvenes this week after its spring recess, Senate
majority leader Bill Frist, House speaker Dennis
Hastert, and President Bush were put on notice by a
coalition of LGBT Asian-American groups that the
immigration reform bill currently pending is largely
unacceptable. Although the 40 signatories, spearheaded
by Gay Asian and Pacific Islander Men of New York and
representing several other states, commend a few
provisions in the bill passed by the House last December,
overall there's still work to be done, they say.
"Countless LGBTs are immigrants themselves," the
groups said in a joint statement. "Of the
nation’s 12 million Asian-Americans, 69% are
immigrants. The House bill adopted last December could
subject the organizations to criminal prosecution
simply for having undocumented members."
The statement continued: "Moreover, the House
bill makes being an undocumented immigrant a felony.
The same was true for LGBTs. Sexual relations between
same-sex couples were criminal until the Supreme Court
struck down sodomy laws."
Following is the complete text of the letter.
(The Advocate)

Letter from LGBT APA Organizations and Allies on
Immigration Reform

President George W. Bush
Speaker Dennis Hastert United States
House of Representatives
Majority Leader Bill Frist United
States Senate
Dear Sirs:
There are almost 12 million Asian Pacific
Americans in the United States. 69% of them are
immigrants. Countless Asian immigrants are lesbian, gay,
bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). We write to urge you to
support comprehensive immigration reform.
We are greatly concerned about the immigration
bill adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives last
December that would make simply being an undocumented
immigrant a felony and makes it illegal to help and support
undocumented immigrants.
The bill could subject our organizations, as
well as those who love and care for their undocumented
immigrant partners and loved ones, to criminal
prosecution. To love and show compassion should never be
criminal. We urge you to abandon these mean-spirited provisions.
Rather, we urge you to support immigration
policies that promote family reunification. Immigrants
and their children should be together. We should
strengthen families, not tear them apart.
We commend certain provisions of the U.S. Senate
Judiciary Committee’s bill. We commend the
earned path to legal permanent residency and
ultimately citizenship for certain undocumented workers and
college students. We commend the protections for
migrant workers. We are pleased that it addresses the
extensive backlogs in processing visas for family
members abroad of immigrants living in the U.S. But much is
still missing.
(1) We urge you to address the detention and
deportation of immigrants. Many Muslim, South Asian,
and Southeast Asian Americans have been improperly
racially profiled and have not been afforded constitutional
due process protections.
(2) We urge you to undo the requirement that
local police enforce complicated immigration laws.
LGBTs have already encountered many problems with
police misconduct and police brutality. There are
insufficient assurances and resources to make this workable.
(3) We urge you to support the reunification of
immigrant families and binational same-sex couples and
ease the highly restrictive process to apply for
political asylum.
We hope you will show compassion and will take
our views into your consideration.
Sincerely,
[the undersigned]

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