WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 21, 2014) — The National Asian Pacific American Bar (NAPABA) welcomes President Barack Obama’s decision to take executive action and provide immigration relief—an important step towards fixing our broken immigration system. A key part of the President’s executive action is providing temporary relief from deportation to an estimated 4.9 million undocumented immigrants, of which an estimated 1.3 million are Asian Pacific American immigrants.
“NAPABA has long supported the need for commonsense immigration reform and applauds the President’s efforts to take action and provide relief,” said George C. Chen, president of NAPABA. “We recognize that President Obama’s actions are only temporary and continue to stress the need for legislative action and call on Congress to pass legislation to fully address the problems within the immigration system.”
Of the 1.3 million undocumented Asian Pacific Americans, an estimated 400,000 will benefit from this temporary relief. However, Asian Pacific American immigrants who have been waiting for decades to reunite with family members due to the visa backlogs in the family immigration system will not obtain any relief. It is estimated that 1.8 million people from Asian countries are waiting for a family-sponsored visa to join loved ones in the United States.
Supporting the need for comprehensive immigration reform has long been a priority for NAPABA. For many years, the NAPABA Board of Governors has passed policy resolutions on immigration, and immigration reform has been a focus of advocacy efforts for NAPABA members on the Hill and across the country within NAPABA’s state and local affiliates. A few weeks ago, NAPABA was proud to present Jose Antonio Vargas, an Asian Pacific American undocumented immigrant and Pulitzer-prize winning activist, as the keynote speaker of the 2014 NAPABA Convention in Arizona. In light of the administrative relief announced last night, Mr. Vargas may, after more than 20 years, finally be able to return home to the Philippines to see his mother.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American (APA) attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and approximately 70 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.