WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 8, 2014) — The Organization of Chinese Americans, Asian Pacific American Advocates, a national membership-driven organization of community advocates dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs), is deeply disappointed by President Obama’s decision to delay executive action on immigration until after the November elections.
Over the weekend, President Obama announced that he would postpone executive action on immigration, in spite of his promise on June 30 to move forward with a plan by the end of summer.
“OCA is incredibly disappointed by President Obama’s decision to delay executive action that could have potentially provided additional relief to some of the over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, of whom 1.3 million are Asian Pacific Islanders,” said Miriam Yeung, OCA National Vice President of Public Affairs. “The President has a moral and economic obligation to provide administrative relief to the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Each day without some form of reform equates to a higher number of deportations. Our communities are not political currency to be traded for votes and should not be casualties of the same partisan politics that have prevented the House of Representatives from passing an immigration reform bill.”
Executive action could have expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which currently grants work authorization and deferred removal for individuals under 31 on June 15, 2012 and who arrived before the age of 16, among other criteria. Additionally, the President’s authority would have also allowed him to make changes to current immigration enforcement priorities that could provide relief for non-citizens classified as deportable by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, as well as adjust policies to decrease family and employment visa backlogs.
“Although 1.3 million Asian Pacific Islanders continue to hide in the shadows for fear of deportation, our communities need more than just relief for undocumented immigrants. We need broad executive action that is inclusive of all our communities’ experiences. The President must focus on expanding DACA and also reexamine different ways to decrease the family and employment visa backlogs,” said Ken Lee, OCA National Acting CEO. “We are disappointed with the President for the delay; however, we will continue to work with our partners to advocate within the administration and Congress to make sure that the diverse immigration needs of our communities are included in legislation and the President’s plans.”
In addition to pursuing broad executive action on immigration for Asian Pacific Americans, OCA, along with nine other Asian Pacific American and Latino organizations, released the 2014 National Immigration Score Card outlining support of comprehensive immigration reform and family reunification within the House of Representatives.