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Ben de Guzman

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Undocumented and Unafraid: Queer DREAMers

Posted: 06/19/2012 12:21 pm

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) hailed the announcement from the Obama Administration that it would be implementing a policy that would provide eligible undocumented immigrant youth with relief from deportation, from entering into deportation proceedings, and eligibility to apply for work authorization.

We applaud President Obama for taking action in support of young undocumented people who are, in fundamental ways, just as American as their neighbors. We are particularly proud of our Queer DREAMer advocates and activists who continue to fight for the simple right for everyone to be able to pursue the American dream. Queer undocumented students and activists, in particular, made the connection between coming out of the closet and coming out of the shadows. Undocumented and unafraid, they have shown us that the simple act of telling your truth can transform the political dialogue.

This comes at a critical moment in our history and in our movements; it arrived on the anniversary of the Plyler v. Doe case, which reaffirmed the right for all children living in the United States to public K-12 education regardless of their immigration status. Along with many others, undocumented activist and "Redefine American" founder Jose Antonio Vargas greeted this announcement with great joy. Vargas, an openly gay Filipino American and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, lives and works in the United States. At 31 years of age, not directly affected by this new policy, he graced the cover of TIME magazine on the eve of the Department of Homeland Security and White House announcement. One year ago he wrote a New York Times magazine story which first exposed his status as an undocumented immigrant. In his update published for TIME online late Thursday June 14, Vargas raised a critical set of questions about the nation's immigration system.

We look forward to the continuing dialogue with Jose, our DREAMers, and all our advocates and allies at our upcoming conference, and in the ongoing discussions moving forward as we continue the struggle for justice and equality for immigrants and everyone in our communities. Jose will join us at our conference Power, Presence and Progress July 19-21 in Washington, D.C. Together we will celebrate our victories, identify our continuing challenges, strategize for the future and build the relationships, networks, and capacity that will take our communities to the next level. This new development gives increased vigor to our work and we hope you will join us. For more information click here.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance is a federation of LGBTQ Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander Organizations. NQAPIA seeks to build the capacity of local LGBT AAPI organizations, invigorate grassroots organizing, developer leadership, and challenge homophobia, racism, and anti-immigrant bias. NQAPIA is a project of the Tides Center.

The author can be reached at ben_deguzman@nqapia.org.

 
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