In a surprise announcement on the 5th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Trump administration announced yesterday that it would reverse one of the president’s campaign promises and would instead continue the popular federal program. Founded in 2012, DACA granted renewable permits to undocumented immigrants who had been brought into the United States as children, protecting them from deportation and allowing them to work.
However, yesterday also saw U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly sign a memorandum to roll back a program proposed by the Obama administration in 2014 called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). DAPA was intended to provide legal protections for the undocumented parents of American citizens or residents in an effort to not break up immigrant families. That program was never put into place due to legal challenges in federal court filed by 26 states led by Republican governors.
In January, Trump was quoted as saying about undocumented immigrants, “They are here illegally. They shouldn’t be very worried. I do have a big heart. We’re going to take care of everybody.” However, it is clear by yesterday’s dual announcements that the Trump administration is less interested in “taking care of everybody”, and more interested in taking care of Trump’s approval rating.
Last week, war veterans, mothers, fathers, family, friends, and children held signs of pleas to stop deportations of their loved ones.
Organized by family members of those detained, and supported by a coalition of API advocacy organizations, people lined the streets of Minneapolis outside Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office to demand justice after almost a dozen Cambodian Minnesotans were detained for deportation. This isn’t solely in the Cambodian community. Just last year, the story of Lao American DJ Teace aka Thisaphone Sothiphakhak was in the Minneapolis City Pages.
“That’s the most frustrating feeling,” said Sothiphakhak at the time. “I went through the court system, and literally something 18 years ago came back and made me feel like I was less than human.”
Hours ago, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump confirmed weeks of political gossip with his announcement that he had chosen Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his general election running-mate.
I’ve already written at length about why Donald Trump’s fear-mongering and race-baiting has exacerbated this country’s hostility towards people of colour, and how his rhetoric will ultimately prove damaging for the Republican Party. In the meanwhile, however, people of colour will have to find a way to survive a general election that has popularized derogatory and racist remarks — and open assault — towards non-White people. Today’s decision is by Trump is only more bad news, particularly for AAPI immigrants, women and LGBT individuals and other immigrants, LGBT folks, and other women of colour.
Whether it is Donald Trump’s verbal caricature of overseas Chinese businessmen, or Jeb Bush’s proclamation that when it comes to “anchor babies” the issue is “more related to Asian[s]”, or Carly Fiorina’s lamentations over the “industry” of Chinese women having babies in the United States, one thing has become clear: the Right-wing of American politics is now firmly entrenched in a platform of anti-immigrant nativism filtered through the lens of sinophobia. Much of that xenophobic rhetoric comes in the form of railing against undocumented immigrants, whom Trump characterized in his campaign announcement speech as “criminals”, “rapists” and “murderers”.
Two thirds of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are foreign-born according to the Center for American Progress’ State of Asian America report released last year, and 40% of America’s immigrants currently call an Asian country the place of their birth. Of those approximately 10 million foreign-born AAPIs, 1.3 million (or 1 in every 8) are undocumented immigrants. These numbers also suggest that currently, approximately 1 in every 9 undocumented immigrants is AAPI. Those numbers are on the rise: over the last decade, the overall Asian undocumented population has doubled, with the undocumented population originating from India, South Korea and China having grown by as much as 300%. Considered alongside evidence showing that undocumented immigration from Mexico has slowed in recent years, Asian Americans are now the fastest growing undocumented population in America leaving one National Journal reporter to suggest that “someone tell Donald Trump that he’s picking on the wrong immigrants.”
Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) — journalist, documentary-filmmaker and immigrant rights’ activist — has been handcuffed and detained by US Border Patrol while he was visiting at the McAllen-Miller International airport. Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant in a landmark 2011 New York Times essay, was visiting Texas in relation to the ongoing political debate over Central American child refugees.
Vargas was attempting to attend a screening of his documentary “Documented”. However, because Vargas was brought into the country without documentation as a minor, he was armed with only a Phillipines passport (and a pocket copy of the US Constitution) as his identification papers. Vargas had entered Texas unaware that US Border Patrol sets many immigration checkpoints in border states, specifically to check travelers who are not actually crossing any borders with the U.S, and that he might be unable to leave the area.Shortly after trying to pass through security, Vargas was handcuffed and detained. Reports from “Define American”, the non-profit immigrants rights group Vargas helped found, are that Vargas is currently undergoing questioning.
Since 2001, Reappropriate has been the web's foremost Asian American activism, identity, feminism, and pop culture blog!