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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#DearMyAAPIRep: Please Join Your AAPI Congressional Colleagues in Boycotting Trump’s Inauguration

To encourage better and broader civic engagement within the AAPI community in Trump’s America, #DearMyAAPIRep is a new feature that will appear semi-regularly in 2017 that will feature an open letter written to specific Asian American & Pacific Islander elected officials. Each letter will highlight an issue of particular relevance to the AAPI community and will invite a response from our elected officials.

Dear Rep. Ami Bera, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Rep. Doris Matsui, and Rep. Bobby Scott,

On Friday, the power of the United States’ highest office will peacefully transfer from the nation’s first Black president and to a man who rose to prominence by fomenting a racist “whitelash” against his presidency. Over the course of the 2016 campaign, President-elect Donald Trump deployed racism, sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, classism, ableism, threats of violence, and the promise of exclusionary immigration laws to cement his majority support among all subgroups of white voters. Today, it remains unclear exactly what legislative damage we might expect with the Trump administration – there is no need for me to list the many looming threats to our liberties and civil rights posed by Trump’s inauguration — but, it is certain that life will be much harder for people of colour under A President Donald J. Trump.

As of this morning, nearly 60 members of Congress have joined a national Congressional boycott against Trump’s inauguration. The boycott was inspired by President-elect Trump’s disdainful (and overtly racist) tweets against civil rights legend (and sitting US Representative) John Lewis. Trump ushered in Martin Luther King Day weekend celebrations with an accusation that Rep. Lewis — who grew up in Jim Crow segregation and who nearly gave his life to the Civil Rights Movement — was “all talk” and that he should focus on fixing soaring crime rates in his “falling apart” district. (In reality, Lewis represents one of the wealthiest, and least crime-ridden, districts in Georgia.) In response to this bizarre and offensive attack, Rep. Lewis mused that Trump was not “a legitimate president”, citing US Intelligence reports that Russia had deliberately influenced the election’s outcome for Trump.

In the wake of this latest Trump Twitter dust-up, members of the Congressional Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses rallied to Lewis’ defense with declarations that they would join him in a boycott of Trump’s inauguration. That movement has since spread throughout the House. Currently, four of Congress’ AAPI congressmen – including Reps. Mark Takano, Ted Lieu, Pramila Jayapal and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) chair Rep. Judy Chu – are participating in the boycott.

Rep. Lieu cited Trump’s history of “racist, sexist and bigoted” remarks as motivation for his decision to participate in the protest. “For me, the personal decision not to attend Inauguration is quite simple,” said Lieu. “Do I stand with Donald Trump, or do I stand with John Lewis? I am standing with John Lewis.”

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