Asian American Organizations Issue Joint Statement in Support of Haitian and Black Immigrants

A migrant encampment at the southern US border, near Texas. (Photo credit: Julio Cortez / AP)

By Guest Contributor: GAPIMNY – Empowering Queer & Trans Asian Pacific Islanders

As Asian American organizations and communities, we express our unrelenting solidarity for Haitian and Black immigrants under attack at the Southern Border. We demand the Biden Administration immediately end the mass deportations of Haitian and Black immigrants. As we write this, the Biden Administration is forcibly returning over 10,000 Haitian asylum-seekers fleeing political destabilization, natural disaster, and severe poverty.

As Asian American and immigrant communities, we recognize the many complex drivers of migration. Many of us are here due to war, colonization, imperialism, poverty, and unsafe conditions in our nations of origin. We recognize the U.S. immigration system is rooted in white supremacy, benefits immigrants with wealth and education, and targets low-income immigrants who too often are migrating for survival. This reflection of white supremacy has led to the current humanitarian crisis at the Southern Border, and the deportation of Vietnamese refugees this spring who had lived in the United States for decades. We denounce both actions as racist and classist, and call on all Asian communities to recognize how these actions interconnect Black and Asian liberation.

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BREAKING: ICE Rescinds International Student Rule Requiring In-Person Classes

File Photo: A gavel, and a balance placed upon on open book.

Just one week after ICE announced they would require international students to attend in-person classes in order to remain in the country, the Trump administration has rescinded the controversial rule. In their earlier announcement, ICE had said that students on F-1 or M-1 visas would be required to leave the United States if they enrolled for courses held entirely online. Students attending universities holding courses entirely online in the fall would be forced to depart the country or transfer to a different school. This despite the fact that the number of new COVID-19 infections continues to rise, and that the CDC considers in-person college classes to significantly heighten the risk of coronavirus spread.

ICE’s announced rule was met with swift backlash from immigration rights activists as well as the nation’s colleges and universities. Within a day of the announcement, Harvard and MIT filed the first of eight lawsuits against ICE challenging the rule; others to sue ICE over the rule include John Hopkins University, the University of California, and 17 states as well as the District of Columbia. Over two hundred students, schools, local governments, and organizations also came together to file 13 amicus briefs in the Harvard and MIT lawsuit — all in support of Harvard’s and MIT’s position.

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ICE Says International Students Can’t Remain in US if Attending Classes Remotely

Recent spikes in the number of new coronavirus cases are threatening America’s reopening efforts, and suggest that some form of quarantine will persist through to the end of the year. In response to this possibility, many of America’s college and universities are announcing that some or all of their fall semester classes will be held remotely; other schools are still in the process of deciding how classes will be offered in the fall.

Either way, public health data are clear about one thing: we are still in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed over 130,000 American lives to date. College classes — wherein students spend an hour or more, indoors, crowded into tight quarters, and breathing recirculated air — can only exacerbate coronavirus spread on college campuses. While many instructors are still figuring out how to adapt their classes for remote learning (to varying degrees of success), one thing is irrefutable: online classes reduce the risk of coronavirus spread compared to in-person classes. Thus, it makes sense for schools to hold many of their fall classes — especially large lecture classes — remotely: this is the only solution that maximizes the safety of students.

And yet, in an announcement that is completely out of step from these discussions, ICE said today that international students on F-1 or M-1 visas will not be permitted to remain in the United States if they are taking all their classes online. Students attending schools holding some in-person classes will be permitted to take some (but not all) of their classes remotely, as long as the school certifies that they are taking the minimum number of classes online as would still allow them to progress to their degree. Students enrolled in schools that are offering all classes online would be required to transfer schools to avoid deportation.

Students who violate this policy will face consequences, including the possibility of deportation. In other words, this fall, ICE will require international students to take at least one in-person class – even at the risk of their own health – in order to remain in the country. Schools weighing how they will adapt coursework offerings for the fall will be incentivized to adopt a hybrid in-person/online model (or a fully in-person model) to protect international students, a decision that will risk not only the health of all students but also instructors and other campus staff.

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Trump Signs Sweeping Executive Order To Suspend Non-Permanent Work Visas

President Donald Trump

The White House announced today that President Trump has signed an Executive Order that would suspend the issuing of several classes of work visas for non-permanent visitors to the United States.

The visa classes targeted for suspension will include: H1-B (highly-skilled workers), H2-B visa (low-skilled workers), J-1 (highly-skilled students, trainees, and teachers), L (intracompany transfers) and H4 (spouses of H1-B holders). The issuance of new visas in these classes will be suspended until December 31, 2020. Trump had previously ordered a temporary halt to new green cards for 60 days beginning in April, but had not previously targeted temporary work visas.

The White House claimed that the move is intended to preserve American jobs in the wake of high unemployment rates related to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Trump administration attacks on legal immigration pre-date the COVID-19 outbreak, and he campaigned on a platform of xenophobia and nativism. Thus, the White House appears to be seizing the Coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to advance hardline anti-immigrant policies.

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One Year Later, Women of Color Still Pushing Back Against Kavanaugh

Protesters hold signs opposing Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court of the United States in New York on July 10, 2018. (Photo credit: AP / Seth Wenig)

By Guest Contributor: Sung Yeon Choimorrow (Executive Director, NAPAWF)

One year after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, women of color, our families, and our communities are still under attack. This time last year, more than 100 women and people of color from all over the country traveled to Washington, DC to voice our strong opposition to Kavanaugh at the first-ever Reproductive Justice Day of Action. We showed our collective power in the halls of Congress to fight Kavanaugh’s nomination because we knew it would exacerbate the decades-long degradation of our rights and disregard for our lives, our families, and communities.

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