CAPAC Joins Asian American Activists Outside White House to #DefendDACA

Activist and undocumented immigrant Min Su Kang speaks at NAKASEC’s Dream Action to #DefendDACA. (Photo credit: Twitter / NAKASEC)

President Donald Trump is poised to make a decision next Tuesday on the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers protection from deportation as well as work authorization for some undocumented immigrants brought to America as children. DACA was implemented by the Obama administration in 2012 and enjoys broad popular support, but Trump campaigned on a platform that included repealing the measure.

Although Trump has since suggested he supports DACA, hard-line Republicans insist that Trump should stick to his campaign promises, and the state attorneys of nine Republican-stronghold states have threatened to sue the president if he doesn’t act by next Tuesday to end DACA. (Originally, Tennessee had also threatened to sue, but today Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III sent a letter rescinding the state’s inclusion in the threat.)

Immigration activists have spent the last week launching a nationwide campaign to attempt to save DACA (broadly referred to as #DefendDACA), as well as TPS — a program that protects undocumented immigrants from deportation to countries where they would face imminent physical danger if returned. One such group is NAKASEC, which earlier this month launched a 22-day, 24hr vigil in front of the White House to protect DACA and Asian American Dreamers registered under the program, as well as to protect TPS.  (A live feed of the White House action can be viewed between 10am and 8pm EST here.)

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Senator Hirono, Will You Join Our Resistance? | #DearMyAAPIRep

Photo credit: Twitter

By Guest Contributor: Mark Tseng Putterman (@tsengputterman)

Dear Senator Hirono (@mazieforhawaii),

On inauguration day, you promised your commitment to “resist any attempt the President makes to dismantle the progress we’ve made” on issues of health care, immigrant rights, civil rights, and economic justice. The next day, you joined hundreds of thousands of women and supporters at the Women’s March in D.C. — tweeting: “Aloha trumps hate & we will not back down”.

These admirable sentiments are all the more powerful coming from you, our first Asian American woman senator, and a longtime advocate for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. But in these times of political crisis, we know that every single vote counts.

That’s why I was so disappointed to see that on January 20, the same day you promised to resist Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda, you used your vote to help confirm his nominee, John Kelly, as Secretary of Homeland Security.   

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Representative-Elect Tulsi Gabbard, first Hindu American Congressperson, will be sworn in over Bhagavad Gita

Tulsi Gabbard is the first Hindu American to be elected to Congress.

On the historic Election Night of 2012, Hawaii elected Tulsi Gabbard to represent Hawaii’s second Congressional district, making Gabbard the first Hindu-American Representative in American history. In a powerful statement in favour of America’s religious diversity, Gabbard made history that night and joined Senator-Elect Mazie Hirono (also out of Hawaii, and whose vacated House seat Gabbard is filling), the first Asian American woman and the first Buddhist elected to Congress.

Again underscoring the impact of America’s growing diversity, Gabbard will take her oath of office on the Bhagavad Gita, an important spiritual text in the Hindu faith, reports Jezebel. The Huffington Post reports that Gabbard cites the following as her favourite passages out of the Bhagavad Gita:

— “That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.” (2:17)
— “The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.”(2.23)

One can only marvel at how Gabbard’s decision stands in stark contrast to the Republican Party’s post-Election lamenting over the changing face of America, wherein they are both surprised and dismayed to find that Brown people 1) exist, and 2) have a vote. To wit, Bill O’Reilly:


One can only hope that America continues to evolve in its understanding that not every American is a White Christian man. And, Gabbard’s choice to be sworn in over the Bhagavad Gita only serves to strengthen that message.