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

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

Gapimny

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.

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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