April 6, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 8, 2016) — The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC), Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC), Korean Resource Center (KRC), National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) join the call of refugee and immigrant rights organizations, families, and community members across the country in condemning raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) targeting Central American children and families who came seeking protection from life-threatening violence in their home countries.

ICE’s decision to target asylum-seeking children and families is a grave mistake that only instills fear in ALL our communities. SEARAC, NAKASEC, KRC, KRCC, NQAPIA, and SAALT encourage AAPI partners to show support for these Central American families by signing an AAPI Solidarity Sign On Letter condemning the unjust raids by Tuesday, January 12 at 12pm Eastern. Visit the following link to sign on to the letter: [Sign on here]

Quyen Dinh, executive director, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.
Quyen Dinh, executive director, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.

SEARAC Executive Director Quyen Dinh said: “It is shameful to see America’s legacy as a leading humanitarian leader tarnished by recent ICE raids targeting refugees and asylum seekers. Like many Southeast Asian communities fleeing war and violence over 40 years ago, Central American families deserve compassion and protection. Criminalizing their very act of survival undermines our humanitarian values by re-traumatizing vulnerable communities. We urge the Obama Administration to reexamine their current enforcement policies that have seen to the deportation and separation of immigrant and refugee families. As a nation, we must fix our broken immigration system by implementing and expanding DACA and DAPA, integrating and welcoming immigrant communities, expanding prosecutorial discretion and other protections against unjust deportations, and keeping families together.”

NAKASEC Executive Director Dae Joong Yoon, KRCC Executive Director Inhe Choi, and KRC Interim Executive Director Jenny Seon released the following statement denouncing the ICE raids: “We are appalled that while over 5 million immigrant students and parents fight for the implementation of the DAPA and expanded DACA programs, the Obama administration decides to move forward on widely condemned raids targeting another group of vulnerable children and families. Many communities are victims of war and poverty, so protecting refugees and asylum seekers is a key priority for all of us, including the Korean American community and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Looking at our shared history, we are all refugees and immigrants. These Central American children and parents are a part of our family. America is and we are better than this.”

Sasha W., Organizing Director for NQAPIA: National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, added: “President Obama has become the ‘deporter-in-chief,’ deporting more immigrants than his predecessors. Like the so-called ‘Secure Communities’ program, and the new Priority Enforcement Program, creating a culture of fear does not lead to safety. As queer API immigrants, these raids make us feel less safe and less American. Immigrants and refugees are part of our homes, our families, and our daily lives. We stand against rhetoric and policies that criminalize Syrian refugees, Central American refugees, and all those migrating to escape violence. The only crime here is deporting Central American refugees over the holiday weekend. President Obama needs to stop deporting immigrants, families, and children, and focus instead on pushing for DACA+ and DAPA in the courts and stopping profiling in immigration enforcement.”

SAALT Director of National Policy and Advocacy, Lakshmi Sridaran, said: “It is a dangerous and disturbing trend to deport and refuse refugees and asylum seekers who are fleeing violence. Our immigration priorities should be focused on implementing the expanded DACA and DAPA programs and passing common sense immigration reform legislation, not on enforcement measures that criminalize children and families. We know that the conditions of the ICE family residential centers where many of these families will be sent are often deplorable. All immigrants deserve to be treated with fairness and dignity and raids over a holiday weekend are unacceptable.”

The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) is a national organization that advances the interests of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans by empowering communities through advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building to create a socially just and equitable society. Find out more at www.searac.org.

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