Gay Asian-American Groups Fight Immigration Reform

As we trudge through today’s protests against immigration reform, we are reminded (by the attractive Latino gentleman certain Queerty editors are currently dating) that holding together LGBT families is already difficult, dealing with a somewhat unsympathetic government. With the proposed anti-immigration legislation, it will become a crime for a US citizen to offer financial assistance to “illegal” immigrants of any kind. You say, for instance, that you don’t need marriage rights–and you think you can pay for your boyfriend to stay here with you? Think again, mister. He has to go, or you both go to the slammer. (Not to mention that houseboy, yard worker, and cleaning lady you’ve been paying. And don’t pretend you’re not.)

A coalition of LGBT Asian/Pacific Islander organizations have held the White House to task, in an open letter to Bushie and his buddy Dennis Hastert, who is sponsoring the bill. We especially like the part that mentions “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.” Not that it will happen. But it’s nice that they asked.

Read the letter below:

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.


[the undersigned]

LGBT Asian-American Groups Protest Immigration Reform [The Advocate]