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NYC Media Roundtable on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Impact on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders


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Press Contact: Thanu Yakupitiyage,  Main Phone: 14136875160,  Cell Phone: 14136875160,  E-mail: thanuy@gmail.com
New York, NY  (Thursday, September 1, 2016)

NYC Media Roundtable on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Impact on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders


On Thursday, September 1, 2016, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI), which is housed within the U.S. Department of Education, participated in a media roundtable with leading immigration and AAPI advocacy organizations to discuss Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and its implications for individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. The roundtable was held at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and hosted by the CUNY Center for Community and Ethnic Media in New York City.

In 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They may also request work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual on a case-by-case basis for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.

According to some estimates, over 130,000 AAPI individuals in the United States may be eligible to request DACA. Across Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, this could impact approximately 14,000 individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent, yet requests for DACA remain disproportionately low in the AAPI community.


Left to Right: Ivy Teng Lei, DACA recipient; Jo-Ann Yoo and Howard Shih, Asian American Federation; Reva Gupta, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; Annie Wang, AALDEF; Steven Choi, New York Immigration Coalition; James Hong, MinKwon Center for Community Action; Jung Rae Jang, DACA recipient; Juliet Choi, USCIS; Jehangir Khattak, CUNY Center for Community and Ethnic Media

WHIAAPI Senior Policy Advisor Reva Gupta presented information about the economic impact of DACA on the lives of recipients. “While AAPI community members may face barriers to applying such as fear, stigma, and a lack of awareness, it is also important that we are aware of the positive impact DACA can have,” Gupta said. “According to the Center for American Progress and the National Immigration Law Center, two out of three DACA recipients who are working have found jobs with better pay, which has translated into people being able to help their families financially. Over half of those with DACA have also found jobs that better fit their education and training. And overall, wages among DACA recipients have increased 45 percent.”

Juliet Choi, Chief of Staff at USCIS mentioned, “Our goal is to shine a light on the DACA process so the AAPI community can make an educated decision about their immigration journey using official resources and services available to them. As always, we remind people to avoid immigration scams and seek legal advice on immigration matters only from those authorized to give legal advice. USCIS has many free resources available, in many Asian languages, for those who want to learn more about DACA.”

“As a national civil rights organization that advocates for fair immigration policies, AALDEF recognizes how much the president’s 2012 immigration actions, including DACA, have meant for undocumented immigrants from Asian countries,” said Annie J. Wang, staff attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. “We will continue to provide free legal assistance to those who are eligible for the original DACA policy.”


James Hong, Interim Executive Director at the MinKwon Center for Community Action underscored, “Having provided comprehensive legal guidance to over 1,000 DACA requests since 2012, the MinKwon Center is profoundly aware of DACA's impact on the families and lives of young, undocumented Korean Americans,” Hong said. “DACA has transformed the lives of thousands, allowing them to land better, higher-paying jobs, to drive themselves to work, to travel, and to simply ‘sleep better at night,’ as one recipient described it.”

”New York City is home to more than half a million undocumented immigrants, with Asian American immigrants making up roughly 23 percent of that population,” Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) stated. “Yet nearly 40% of qualified immigrants have not yet requested President Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and the numbers are even higher for Asian American immigrant communities. We are pleased to work with our partners and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to explore ways to encourage even more Asian American immigrants apply for this important program.”

“The Asian American Federation is pleased to co-host this important conversation about DACA with our New York City colleagues and WHIAAPI,” said Jo-Ann Yoo, Executive Director at Asian American Federation. “Despite the best efforts of our city’s leadership to reach the unauthorized immigrant community, there are still thousands of eligible individuals in the pan-Asian community who have not yet applied for DACA due to fear, misinformation, lack of language access, among other reasons. This media briefing, therefore, is an important opportunity to share with DACA-eligible individuals that there is immigration relief available and nonprofit organizations to help them navigate the process.”

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For more information on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, visit www.whitehouse.gov/aapi. The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is housed within the Department of Education.




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