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Erwin de Leon
Erwin de Leon is a policy researcher and writer based in Washington, D.C. He is regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Feet in 2 Worlds, and the Nonprofit Quarterly.

Entries by Erwin de Leon

Democratic and Republican Lawmakers Agree on Congressional Gold Medal for Filipino American Vets

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2015 | 10:32 AM

Democratic and Republican lawmakers can hardly agree on anything that nothing ever gets done in Washington. Last Thursday, however, members of Congress from both Houses announced the introduction of a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to 260,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who responded to President Roosevelt's call-to-duty and...

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Immigrant Organizations Key to Carrying Out Obama's Executive Action

(1) Comments | Posted November 25, 2014 | 10:15 AM

Last Thursday, the president laid out his long-anticipated executive action on immigration, which grants reprieve from deportation to an estimated 4 million undocumented immigrants, individuals who have lived here for at least five years and have no criminal record. Now, many people will be...

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What About LGBT Refugees in the United States?

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 11:32 AM

A line in a recent Christian Science Monitor article asks, "Are children fleeing Central American violence refugees who need asylum or illegal gold-diggers who need to go home?"

Politicians, talking heads, policymakers, and those of us interested in immigration have been transfixed by the surge of unaccompanied minors...

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When a Pat on the Head Becomes Spit on the Face

(1) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 4:13 PM

It's perfectly okay to pat a dog's head. It's fine to pat a very young child's head. It is not acceptable, however, to pat another adult's head.

Last Sunday, at church, a fellow parishioner walked by my pew during communion and patted me on the head. I felt violated, disrespected,...

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Moving Beyond Marriage Equality

(3) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 8:46 PM

A couple of days ago, my husband and I were interviewed by an immigration adjudicator. The gentleman deemed our relationship legit, approved us on the spot, and told us to expect a green card in the mail. Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling upending Section 3 of the...

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15 Years in a Binder

(4) Comments | Posted October 20, 2013 | 6:30 PM

Last month, my husband and I celebrated our 15th anniversary. In a few days, we need to prove those 15 years real to an immigration adjudicator, now that my spouse is able to sponsor me for a green card. This one person will decide our future in the country we...

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Are Immigrant Aid Organizations Ready for Reform?

(5) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 12:12 PM

On Oct. 8, thousands rallied at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. then marched to the Capitol demanding that Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform immediately. A reported 200 people got themselves arrested to underscore the urgency of the matter, among them union and community leaders and

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Syria, Sochi and Gay Rights at the G20 Summit

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 6:41 PM

Leaders of the world's top economies meet in St. Petersburg this week for the G20 Summit, and global economic recovery is at the top of the agenda. The crisis in Syria, however, overshadows the gathering, with U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin circling each other, and French...

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Why a Gay Asian Immigrant Marches

(1) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 5:17 PM

I was born years after the March on Washington in 1963 and came to the United States 27 years after hundreds of thousands demonstrated for jobs and civil rights. Nonetheless, I felt the need to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, and so many other nameless...

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Immigration: At the Intersection of Race and Sexual Orientation

(9) Comments | Posted August 21, 2013 | 4:49 PM

Last month, I had to stop working because immigration authorities told me so. This week, I am cutting my vacation short because they want to "capture" my biometrics. But it's all good. After 23 years dealing with our immigration system, it looks like I finally have a clear path to...

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Mail-Order Brides, Scandal, Shame and Immigration

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2013 | 6:47 PM

Why do people immigrate, leave their homeland and loved ones, to be a stranger in another land? The Mango Bride tells part of the story, through the lives of two Filipino women forced into exile by circumstances of their birth and dictates of Philippine culture. The novel is...

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What the DOMA Ruling Means for Gay Binational Couples

(4) Comments | Posted June 26, 2013 | 7:04 PM

After wrestling with the immigration system for 23 years, just like that, I have a clear path to citizenship, thanks to nine very human and very fallible Supreme Court justices. By ruling DOMA's section 3 unconstitutional, legal marriages of lesbians and gays in 12 states and the District of Columbia...

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How Not to Welcome a Brown Person

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2013 | 3:01 PM

I was at a recent convening of middle-class, well-educated liberals. This being a Washington, D.C., area group, it was predominantly white, with a spattering of African Americans, a couple of Latinos, and one Asian. Me. Now this is a pretty welcoming organization and they do try hard to promote diversity....

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Breaking Down the Gang of Eight's Immigration Bill

(20) Comments | Posted April 21, 2013 | 5:55 PM

The Senate's "Gang of Eight" released details of its immigration reform legislation last week, so the Urban Institute updated its earlier infographic comparing the White House's immigration blueprint to the Senate bill.

The president and the senators are, for the most part, in sync....

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No Surprise: Gays Left Out of Immigration Reform Bill

(27) Comments | Posted April 18, 2013 | 1:01 PM

The Senate "Gang of Eight" has finally released its much-awaited immigration legislation. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 is characterized by President Obama as a compromise bill that is largely consistent with his own principles for immigration reform.

The proposed law...

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The Value of Family Visas

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2013 | 5:46 PM

In the 1960s, my uncle settled down in Neshoba County, Mississippi, a very distant and vastly different place from our native Philippines, where he became the physician of Blacks, Choctaws, and the few Whites who came to trust the "Chinaman." As soon as he was able, he applied for visas...

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Not All LGBT Immigrants Are Married to Americans

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2013 | 7:20 PM

The inclusion of gay couples in comprehensive immigration reform legislation has turned into a highly contentious issue. The reality, however, is that there are more lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) immigrants than the estimated 32,300 individuals married to American citizens or legal permanent residents.


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Sequestration's Toll on Immigrants and Our Shared Future

(27) Comments | Posted March 8, 2013 | 3:20 PM

Here's what the scaremongers think they know about sequestration and immigration: that hundreds of undocumented criminal aliens will be let loose and hundreds more will swarm through our unsecured borders, steal American jobs, and abuse our welfare system. Setting aside the facts that many being released from detention...

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Sequestration's Damaging Effects on Nonprofits and Needy Families

(1) Comments | Posted February 26, 2013 | 4:10 PM

In a few days, sequestration hits unless Congress and the White House agree on an alternative to $85 billion in automatic spending cuts. Thousands of human service organizations would be affected, along with the communities, families, and individuals that depend heavily on nonprofit programs and services.

An Urban...

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Immigration Reform: The President's Plan vs. the Senate's

(9) Comments | Posted February 1, 2013 | 11:30 AM

The president and Senate "gang of eight" introduced their proposals for comprehensive immigration reform this week. Both agree on key principles revolving around enforcement, employment, a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, and solutions for problems plaguing the system. Several differences remain, however, as shown in...

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