Asian Americans Advancing Justice Calls Latest Admininstration’s Actions on Immigration Unconscionable

LOS ANGELES —In response to the breaking news that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly unveiled new FAQs and policy memos aimed at detaining and deporting many more immigrants living in the U.S. regardless of their ties to communities, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice), an affiliation of five civil rights organizations, issues the following statement:

“Asian Americans Advancing Justice is outraged that under the guise of national security, the administration is yet again scapegoating immigrants.  There are 900,000 undocumented Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in this country and many more AAPI immigrants who all contribute to their families, communities and our economy.


The administration has outlined a mass deportation regime targeting all immigrants, including those on student visas, work visas, and the undocumented, for deportation enforcement. The most recent statements and memos from the Department of Homeland Security do nothing to soften the harm done by the administration’s earlier Executive Orders. In fact, the memos greatly increase the probability of tearing mothers and fathers from their children, leaving families with no main breadwinner, and forcing those who remain to pick up the pieces left behind from inhumane policies and enforcement efforts.  Advancing Justice opposes the administration’s agenda of mass deportations and scapegoating of immigrants that are designed to create a wedge in American communities and marginalize communities of color.

The internal enforcement memo seeks to promote fear of immigrants and orders the ICE Director to take funds from programs used to serve any undocumented immigrants – including immigrants who are trafficked and victims of crime – to this new office that will only further demonize immigrants and stir up hatred.

In addition to the policy goals of the memos, the recent creation of the “Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office” and the language used to establish the office are offensive and reminiscent of the rhetoric used to vilify Japanese Americans and justify their internment. Only days after the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which paved the way for the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans, this administration continues to demonstrate hostility toward immigrant communities and an embrace of government-sanctioned prejudice.  From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the recent profiling of Muslim and South Asian Americans in the travel ban, we are in a resurgence of xenophobia and hate that is being led by the administration.

There is a more humane and just way to handle immigration. Our immigration laws should stand for our core values as a nation that welcomes immigrants, respects due process, and gives everyone fair treatment under the law.

We encourage all immigrants to Know Your Rights and individuals with complex issues are encouraged to consult with an attorney or Department of Justice (DOJ) accredited representatives.”