Immigration and Immigrant Rights

The overwhelming majority of Asian Americans are immigrants or the children of immigrants, and the Asian American and Pacific Islander population includes the highest proportion of immigrants of other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S. Immigration continues to be a significant, current, life-affecting issue for AAPIs across the country, particularly as more immigrants enter the U.S. from Asia than from any other region in the world.

march against Muslim ban

Fighting back against public charge

In October 2018, the Trump Administration published the official proposed “public charge” rule to the Department of Homeland Security’s website. The rule is a backdoor method to attack family-based immigration by making it harder for people to gain lawful permanent residence and seeks to scare immigrants away from using vital healthcare and other services. The comment period closed in December and as a group, the AANHPI community collected hundreds of thousands of comments to oppose the rule.

In Immigration Today

Approximately 800,000 DACA recipients vowed to fight harder for a pathway to citizenship when plans to end the current DACA program were announced on September 5, 2017. Advancing Justice | AAJC created a web page of DACA resources about renewals, know your rights information, and materials to continue support for the Dreamers.

Value Our Families

Families are the cornerstone of American values and help our country thrive, but the Trump administration is proposing to break up families through deportations or by ending family-based immigration. The White House proposes to:

  • Cut the number of people granted lawful permanent residence (green cards) by over 50%
  • Strip the right of U.S. citizens to sponsor their parents, siblings, and adult children and eliminate the ability of lawful permanent residents to sponsor their unmarried adult children 
  • End the diversity visa program
  • Cap refugees at 50,000 a year

Asian Americans Advancing Justice is committed to advocating for family immigration, while continuing to fight for Dreamers. 

No Muslim Ban Ever

On October 17, a day before the third iteration of the Muslim ban was to take effect, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii granted a nationwide temporary restraining order blocking the majority of the new ban. U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang of Maryland also ordered a preliminary injunction of the ban. We remain committed to fighting against any version of a Muslim ban.

No Ban, No Wall

On January 25, 2017, the administration issued two executive orders that included several inhumane and draconian measures that would criminalize immigrants and cause fear in immigrant communities. The executive orders include a promise to withhold federal funding to sanctuary cities, greatly increase the number of immigration enforcement officers and border patrol officers, resurrect the controversial Secure Communities program, build a wall at the Southern border, create new deportation priorities, and to increase detention—including children and families—at the border, among other things. We will provide more analysis and information on this order as it becomes available.

On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order creating a Muslim ban, ending the Syrian refugee program and temporarily halting the entire refugee program. The executive order effectively bans all entry of immigrants and nonimmigrants from Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan for a 90 day period without assessment of actual security threats. The ban has the potential to be extended indefinitely if those countries fail to meet certain requirements. Initially, the order was applied to lawful permanent residents (people with green cards) despite the fact that a blanket ban on lawful permanent residents is not legal.

People with questions about travel should read the factsheets below and speak to an attorney or Bureau of Immigration Appeals (BIA) accredited representative. 

Did you miss the Immigration Policy Webinar: Dismantling of DACA and Pursuit of the DREAM Act? You can listen to the recording here.

Our Work

The national debate continues to largely ignore the stake Asian Americans have in the debate over immigration, despite facts like the following: 40 percent of all immigrants come to the U.S. from Asia; 1.5 million of those immigrants are undocumented; nearly two-thirds of all Asian Americans are foreign-born. Advancing Justice | AAJC works to educate the public, lawmakers, and the media on Asian Americans' relationship to immigration, as well as the pressing need to overhaul immigration policies and programs that separate families, contradict our nation's values, and simply don't make sense.

Our program has focused on winning a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., family re-unification and keeping families together, immigration enforcement and racial profiling, due process rights, detention standards, removal and repatriation regulations and anti-immigrant state and local legislation. We have authored and signed on to a number of amicus curiae briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and appellate courts in cases affecting the rights of immigrants, and are currently embarking on an impact litigation program.