Asian American Leaders Blast Federal Court Ruling
Upholding Anti-Immigrant/Anti-Sanctuary City Law in Texas SB4
Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision upholding Texas’s anti-immigrant/ anti-sanctuary city law (SB4). The law is one of the harshest anti-immigrant state laws passed since Trump took office. Several Texas cities filed a lawsuit, in City of El Cenizo v. Texas, to block the implementation.
OCA-Greater Houston Chapter and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, along with LGBT Asian groups in Texas submitted an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief to illustrate the impact the law would have on Asian Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and immigrants. The brief was developed with the pro bono assistance of Reed Smith LLP. Brief is here: http://www.nqapia.org/wpp/nqapia-brief/
In yesterday’s decision, the court unanimously affirmed nearly all of the provisions of the law.
Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director, said, “We are outraged by the decision! Texas SB 4 will subject Asian Americans, LGBT people, and Latinos to illegal profiling about their immigration status by local law enforcement.”
Debbie Chen of OCA Greater Houston Chapter, noted that “Asian Americans are the fastest growing immigrant group in Texas. The Asian population is growing at twice the rate of the Hispanic population. Large metro areas like Dallas and Houston are experiencing particularly rapid growth of Asian Americans, and each has a significant number of undocumented Asian American immigrants.”
The profiling and harassment of the Asian population is not a new phenomenon in the United States. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first law ever enacted to permanently exclude a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States based on race. During World War II, American of Japanese ancestry were interned in concentration camps. Texas SB 4 echoes this shameful era of U.S. bans on Chinese immigrants and internment of Japanese-American citizens.
Koomah of The Collective of Houston Asian Americans (CHAA), said, “Asian Americans are the largest group of immigrants (both documented and undocumented) coming to the US. Undocumented LGBTQi immigrants are also disproportionately Asian. Furthermore, SB 4 would subject Latinx, Asian Americans, Muslims, and LGBTQi people who are already ethnic, racial, religious, gender and/or sexual minorities, to even further discrimination and harassment through discriminatory stops and unlimited questioning by police, regardless of their actual immigration status.”
Moreover, many LGBT immigrants come from Asian countries that criminalize homosexuality. SB4 increases the likelihood that they could be forced to return to countries and face persecution.
OCA-Greater Houston and NQAPIA published an op-ed further illustrating the impact of SB4 on Asian Americans in Texas at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/texas-sb4s-impact-on-asian-americans-why-we-should_us_59a7127be4b00ed1aec9a532
The decision is expected to be appealed and the organizations are looking to be involved in that suit. Magpantay further said, “We will fight this all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
More information about Texas SB 4 is available here: http://www.nqapia.org/wpp/fact-sheet-sb4/
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Established in 1979, the OCA-Greater Houston Chapter (OCA-GH) is one of the OCA’s (formerly the “Organization of Chinese Americans”) 100+ chapters and college affiliates, with a long track record of programs/initiatives that work to advance 4 main goals: to advocate for social justice, equal opportunity and fair treatment; to promote civic participation, education, and leadership; to advance coalitions and community building; and to foster cultural heritage.
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a nationwide federation of LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (API) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT API groups, develop leadership, and expand collaborations to better challenges anti-LGBT bias and racism.