April 10, 2023
SEARAC Executive Director Quyen Dinh speaking in front of the White House.
SEARAC Executive Director Quyen Dinh speaking in front of the White House.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 2, 2016) — The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC), National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) on Tuesday joined immigrant and refugee advocates, families, and community members in front of the White House to deliver a petition with more than 130,000 signatures to condemn raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and to urge the administration to provide Central American children and families who came seeking protection from life-threatening violence in their home countries with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

SEARAC Executive Director Quyen Dinh also presented the White House with a solidarity letter signed by over 70 AAPI organizations and allies throughout the country including California, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, and Virginia. A petition with over 400 individual AAPI community member signatures organized by 18 Million Rising was also presented as part of the delivery.
“ICE’s decision to target asylum-seeking children and families is a terrible mistake that only instills fear in ALL our communities. SEARAC, NAKASEC, NQAPIA, SAALT, and many in the AAPI community stand in solidarity with the Central American families,”Dinh said. “Like these refugees, many of our own families arrived to this country fleeing violence and poverty, including my parents, who were among the 1.3 million Southeast Asian refugees resettled into the U.S. following the Vietnam War. We urge the Administration to halt inhumane enforcement policies targeting immigrant and refugee families seeking protection within our borders.”
NAKASEC Executive Director Dae Joong Yoon, KRCC Executive Director Inhe Choiand 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.”
Representatives from SEARAC, NAKASEC, NQAPIA, and SAALT in front of the White House.
Representatives from SEARAC, NAKASEC, NQAPIA, and SAALT in front of the White House.

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.”

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