AAPIP joins with many who were stunned by the announcement on Tuesday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Trump Administration is terminating the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. Initiated by President Obama in 2012, DACA has provided shelter against deportation to some 800,000 young immigrants who were brought into the United States as children. This decision not only makes little economic sense for the country but is also a rejection of the fundamental values of our democracy, which has been a beacon of hope for millions of immigrants.
Although it may not be widely known, federal immigration statistics indicate that four of the top 24 countries of origin for DACA recipients are Asian, including South Korea, the Philippines, India and Pakistan. The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) further reports that over 130,000 Asian immigrants were eligible for DACA in 2016. According to Asian Americans Advancing Justice, only 16,000 young AAPIs actually enrolled to receive DACA protection between 2012 and 2016, due to larger systemic barriers related to language access, stigma, and community isolation.
With the rescinding of DACA, these statistics become more sobering knowing that each individual story is deeply personal and the ultimate costs are human. In 2012, AAPIP took a stand to support Asian “Dreamers” by sponsoring young Asian immigrants as Dream Summer Interns with various AAPI nonprofit organizations nationally. One of our Dream Interns was Steve Li, who shared his compelling story and what could have been done to make DACA even stronger.
Steve Li was so right when he said “We all have a role in creating the world we dream about…” Here are some ways you can take action now!
- Give. Support local grassroots organizations led by Dreamers and other immigrants, undocumented people, and people of color who are on the front lines of this fight.
- Learn. Take advantage of webinars and other resources for funders to support immigrant rights.
- 9/14 webinar from Grantmakers Concerned with Refugees and Immigrants (GCIR): Dreams in Limbo: A Look at DACA, Young Immigrants, and How Funders Can Respond
- 9/26 webinar from Minnesota Council on Foundations: Philanthropy in Action: Immigrants and Refugees
- GCIR’s handout Supporting Immigrants and Refugees in Volatile Times: What Philanthropy Can Do for an overview on areas of philanthropic impact
- Advocate. Read about the DREAM Act to protect DACA beneficiaries and undocumented immigrants and contact your Congressional representatives to advocate for their support.