Tonight, President Obama announced his plan to provide administrative relief to certain groups of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. The following is a statement by Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund:
“We welcome President Obama’s use of executive authority to provide relief from deportation to millions of undocumented immigrants and their families. The Asian American population nationwide is 19 million, and close to 1.5 million Asian immigrants are undocumented. Current deportation and detention policies have separated Asian American families, harmed low-wage workers, and created fear and mistrust of local law enforcement. With the continued failure of Congress to enact comprehensive legislation, President Obama’s action to delay the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants is long overdue.
In our exit poll of 4,100 Asian American voters in the 2014 midterm elections, 65% expressed their support for executive action on immigration. The measures announced tonight are an important step in the right direction, in order to ensure that the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws adheres to human rights principles and reflects American values of fairness and family unity.
The omission of large numbers of undocumented immigrants with strong ties to the U.S., such as the parents of immigrants who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), is disappointing. AALDEF will continue to support organizing and advocacy efforts that seek long-term solutions to our unworkable immigration policies. Such actions will pave the way for Asian immigrants and their families to gain a pathway to citizenship, contribute more fully to their communities and to our country as a whole, and protect the rights of all Americans, both native-born and immigrants.”