News

12.22.2022

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Denounces Congress’ Failure to Reach a DACA Deal  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

December 22, 2022  

Contact: 

Michelle Boykins, Advancing Justice – AAJC, Mboykins@advancingjustice-aajc.org
Niketa Kumar, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, media@advancingjustice-alc.org 
Liza Ameen, AJSOCAL, lameen@ajsocal.org
James Woo, Advancing Justice – Atlanta, jwoo@advancingjustice-atlanta.org
Grace Pai, Advancing Justice | Chicago, gpai@advancingjustice-chicago.org

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Denounces Congress’ Failure to Reach a DACA Deal  

Immigrant Youth Urgently Need Pathways to Citizenship  

CHICAGO, IL — As the end of the year approaches, Congress has failed to come to a deal on citizenship for immigrant youth, Temporary Protected Status recipients, and other immigrants. While DACA hangs on by a thread, this failure further threatens the future of undocumented youth and their families in the country they call home. 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five independent civil rights organizations, responds with the following statement:  

 “There is no excuse for lawmakers that oppose a pathway to citizenship. Most Americans believe that our nation needs to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Time and time again, federal lawmakers have talked about finding a permanent solution, but our communities continue to be left with growing uncertainties about their futures and the futures of their families. As a result of anti-immigrant lawmakers’ refusal to protect immigrant young people from detention and deportation, millions of undocumented youth in our communities, including over 600,000 active DACA recipients, remain without a solution as DACA slowly dies in the courts.  

“Undocumented youth are valued members of our community. They are our family, our neighbors, our teachers, our caretakers, and more. We utterly reject the false narratives that anti-immigrant lawmakers have pushed to justify their inaction during this Congress, and we call on elected officials to create an immigration system that works for all of us – from immigrant youth and undocumented neighbors and families to people fleeing unimaginable violence. These communities are in need of Congress’ protections and a place to call home. They should not be used as political pawns.  

“Alongside our undocumented families and friends, we refuse to end the fight here. We will demand relief for undocumented communities until we win. Congress must act swiftly next year to pass a pathway to citizenship before hundreds of thousands of immigrants lose protection from deportation and the ability to work.” 

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice | AAJC (Washington, DC), Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Southern California (AJSOCAL), Advancing Justice – Atlanta, and Advancing Justice – Chicago. 

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12.21.2022

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Condemn the Removal of Family-Sponsored Immigration Reform in Budget Deal 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

December 20, 2022

Contact:

Michelle Boykins, Advancing Justice – AAJC, Mboykins@advancingjustice-aajc.org
Niketa Kumar, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, media@advancingjustice-alc.org
Liza Ameen, AJSOCAL, lameen@ajsocal.org
James Woo, Advancing Justice – Atlanta, jwoo@advancingjustice-atlanta.org

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Condemn the Removal of Family-Sponsored Immigration Reform in Budget Deal

Anti-Immigrant Lawmakers Once Again Block Crucial, Common-Sense Reforms and Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a budget deal was published that failed to include crucial, immigration-related provisions. Despite the inclusion of straightforward reforms to the family-based immigration system in both the House FY2023 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Bill and the Chairman’s Mark of the Senate FY2023 DHS Appropriations Bill, appropriators stripped out these provisions and denied the inclusion of other important proposals such as the Adoptee Citizenship Act, Afghan Adjustment Act, the farmworkers bill, and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five independent civil rights organizations, releases the following statement: 

“Family unity is not a partisan issue. Families are the fundamental building block of this country, and the refusal to help reunite families stuck in the immigration backlog is a rejection of our best values of inclusion and community care. The objections of Republican lawmakers once again leave millions of immigrants separated from their families for another holiday season.

“The provisions included in both the House and Senate FY2023 DHS Appropriations bill would have recaptured hundreds of thousands of unused visas, prevented visas from being wasted in the future, and provided green cards to people who were awarded diversity visas but who could not receive them due to the Trump administration’s immigration bans. Yet, instead of allowing these common-sense policy proposals to help the children, spouses, and siblings of Asian Americans and other families, Senate Republicans decided to demand that these provisions—and other provisions that would have helped immigrant families and communities—be stripped from the final budget deal.

“Four million people are waiting to be reunited with their families here in the U.S. Some of those individuals will wait for over 20 years before a green card becomes available. We demand that Congress take urgent action to reform our family-based immigration system and reunite families.”

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice | AAJC (Washington, DC), Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Southern California (AJSOCAL), Advancing Justice – Atlanta, and Advancing Justice – Chicago. 

 

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11.08.2022

Poll Watching Results from November 8 Midterm Elections

For Immediate Release 

Contacts: 

Kevin Hsia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago 

224-289-5486, khsia@advancingjustice-chicago.org 

Kimberly Leung, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago 

415-234-0748, KLeung@advancingjustice-chicago.org 

For Immediate Release  

CHICAGO, IL — November 8, 2022 – Illinois voters went to the polls today to elect their governor, junior U.S. senator, and 17 of Illinois’ representatives in the U.S. Congress, and other key races and issues.  

Advancing Justice | Chicago dispatched a team of staff and volunteer poll watchers to 96 precincts and three vote centers in Chicago, and 103 precincts in Suburban Cook County. Our poll watching program focuses on monitoring precincts where there are high number of Asian voters with limited English proficiency (LEP). “Most of the precincts that we monitor are designated as protected precincts under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act,” said Kimberly Leung, Voting Rights Legal Fellow at Advancing Justice | Chicago. Because of the recent precinct consolidation in Chicago, we decided to expand the scope of our poll watching program to cover additional locations not covered under Section 203, out of concern that LEP voters at certain polling places may not be getting the in-language assistance they need.  

In addition to poll watching, we sent interpreters to certain precincts to help voters who want assistance. Bharat Sharma, ISP community organizer at Advancing Justice | Chicago, who speaks Hindi, Gujarati, and Urdu, spent his afternoon greeting and helping voters at Warren Park in West Ridge. “I was surprised and inspired to see so many first time, immigrant voters,” Sharma said, “It was my privilege to be part of their voting experience.”  

A likely consequence of the recent precinct consolidation, Advancing Justice | Chicago poll watchers also observed voters at the wrong polling place across Chicago. Anticipating this situation, our poll watchers were trained and equipped to direct voters to their correct polling place or vote center.  

In suburban Cook County, Advancing Justice poll watchers not only monitored for compliance with Section 203 but also for the Vote Opportunity and Translation Equity (VOTE) Ordinance, which was unanimously passed in October 2019. The Ordinance expands the number of languages that suburban Cook County ballots and voting material must be translated into. “Though the passage of the VOTE Ordinance was a significant step, our poll watchers observed that compliance remains spotty,” said Leung. Many of our poll watchers in suburban Cook County observed missing translated signages. Additionally, many of the precincts that were supposed to have bilingual poll workers did not. The issues observed in suburban Cook County underscore the importance of community engagement, and continued investment in language access.  

Thanks to Advancing Justice | Chicago staff and volunteer poll watchers, we were able to monitor over 95 percent of the designated Asian language precincts in Chicago and Cook County. In December, Advancing Justice will share a summary of our Election Day findings with the Cook County Clerk’s Office and the Chicago Board of Election with the goal of strengthening meaningful access for future elections. 

Poll watchers play a vital role in ensuring fair elections. Thank you to our staff and volunteer poll watchers, and our partners and sponsors, including Arab American Family Services, Enlivant, Asian American Bar Association, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC), Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE), and South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI). 

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at www.advancingjustice-chicago.org.

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11.07.2022

Advancing Justice | Chicago: Poll Watching for Nov 8 Midterm Elections

For Immediate Release 

Contacts: 

Kevin Hsia, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago 

224-289-5486, khsia@advancingjustice-chicago.org 

Kimberly Leung, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago 

415-234-0748, KLeung@advancingjustice-chicago.org 

CHICAGO, IL — November 7, 2022 – The Illinois Midterm Election is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 8. The ballot includes races for governor, congressional seats, state legislative offices, and a variety of local positions. Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago continues its long-running poll watching program in Chicago and Cook County. The goal of our nonpartisan program is to ensure that all eligible voters have fair and equitable access to the polls, with particular attention to historically disenfranchised communities like Asian Americans and immigrants.  

Though Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the country and in the state of Illinois, Asian Americans face a number of barriers when it comes to voting, including a lack of language access. Asian Americans are made up of linguistically diverse communities. Seventy-seven percent of Asian Americans in Illinois speak a language other than English at home, and of those, approximately 38% speak English less than “very well.”  

Our poll watching program focuses on monitoring precincts where there are high number of voters with limited English proficiency. In Chicago and suburban Cook County, there are certain precincts that are required to have translated ballots, signages and bilingual poll workers. Our staff and volunteers poll watchers visit these voting locations to ensure that they are in compliance with federal and local laws governing language access.  

Due to changes resulting from Chicago’s precinct consolidation, there are additional concerns this election as to whether voters with limited English proficiency (LEP) will have access to the information and assistance they need. In addition to our poll watching program, we will have volunteer interpreters at certain precincts available to help voters who want assistance. Under the federal Voting Rights Act, LEP voters have the right to bring an interpreter of their choice to assist them with voting, with the limited exception that the person they bring cannot be their employer or union representative.  

This Midterm Election, our staff and volunteers will, cover 96 precincts and three voter centers in Chicago, and 102 precincts in Suburban Cook County.   

In suburban Cook County, the Voting Opportunity and Translation Equity (VOTE) Ordinance, which was passed in October 2019, requires certain precincts to have translated materials in Korean, Tagalog, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Gujarati and Urdu.  In addition to monitoring the Asian language precincts, Advancing Justice | Chicago will also be poll watching at the Arabic language precincts in partnership with Arab American Family Services.  

When: Tuesday, November 8, 2022   

Where: Chicago and Suburban Cook County   

What: Advancing Justice | Chicago staff and volunteer poll watchers will be stationed at polling places across Chicago and Suburban Cook County to monitor for compliance with language access and other requirements.  In total, our staff and volunteers will cover 96 precincts and three voter centers in Chicago, and 102 precincts in Suburban Cook County.    During visits, poll watchers will check for language and disability access and ensure voter harassment and disenfranchisement do not occur.   

Additional info:   

If you have any questions about voting, you can call the Election Protection Hotline. Call 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) for assistance in Bengali, Cantonese, English, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Urdu and Vietnamese. Call 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) for assistance in Spanish. For assistance in English, call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).  

Downloadable Factsheet: How to Vote in Illinois for the Nov. 8 General Election 

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at www.advancingjustice-chicago.org. 

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11.04.2022

Asian Americans Condemn Deceitful, Racist Mailers from Stephen Miller-Led Group

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

CONTACT: Grace Pai (Executive Director) gpai@advancingjustice-chicago.org, Seong-Ah Cho (Organizing Director) scho@advancingjustice-chicago.org 

Asian Americans Condemn Deceitful, Racist Mailers from Stephen Miller-Led Group 

CHICAGO – As Asian Americans continue to be the fastest growing demographic in Illinois and across the country, a group led by former Trump advisor Stephen Miller is flooding the state with deceitful and racist mailers aimed at misleading and sowing fear in the Asian American community. 

The racist mailers were sent by the America First Legal Foundation, the conservative organization founded by former Trump advisor Stephen Miller. Miller has a long history of peddling racist hate and division. Miller was the architect behind the Trump administration’s family separation program, a brutally inhumane anti-immigrant policy which led to the widespread images of kids in cages that shocked the nation, and author of Trump’s widely condemned travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries.  

“Stephen Miller led the most xenophobic, anti-immigrant agenda imaginable under the Trump administration and has demonstrated time and time again that he does not care about Asian Americans,” said Grace Pai, Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago. “The fact that Miller directly contributed to stoking up violence and hatred against Asian Americans and other immigrants and is now attempting to displace that blame is clearly in bad faith. These mailers are blatantly racist fear-mongering in an attempt to mislead and scare Asian Americans and divide us from our fellow communities of color.” 

The mailers are part of a coordinated campaign by the America First Legal Foundation. Outside of Illinois, mailers have been received in Ohio, Arizona, Georgia, Virginia, California, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New York, and Texas over the past week. Since its formation in 2021, the right-wing group has a long history of using divisive rhetoric and misinformation. 

“Asian American communities have a clear and shared stake in racial equity issues like affirmative action, immigration reform, affordable housing, and access to healthcare alongside Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and all marginalized communities,” said Seong-Ah Cho, Organizing Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago. “We will continue to educate our communities and fight together for policies that genuinely represent the interests of our diverse communities. We will not be deterred by those who wish to silence and divide us.” 

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Chicago builds power through collective advocacy and organizing to achieve racial equity. Learn more at advancingjustice-chicago.org. 

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