Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Report on NQAPIA Conference and Briefing on AAPI Issues at the White House

by Amos Lim

I had the honor of representing Out4Immigration in attending the NQAPIA Annual Conference at Arlington, VA from July 19 – July 22.  The trip was partially financed from a grant from ARCUS Foundation. 

As part of the conference, the attendees were invited to a briefing on AAPI Issues at the White House. One of the issues that were to be discussed was LGBT Immigration. Felicia Esobar, Senior Policy Director for Immigration, attended the briefing.

While I did not get to ask my questions during the briefing (there were about 75 people in attendance), I did manage to hand a packet of materials and information for Ms Escobar about Out4Immigration and same-sex binational couples.  Included in the packet was a request for the Obama Administration to issue a Memorandum/Order similar to the one issued to the DREAM Act students that would, at the very least, hold green card applications in abeyance until the constitutionality of DOMA can be decided by the Supreme Court. (Click here to see the contents of the packet delivered to the White House.)

I want to thank all of those who contributed donations in time and money to help me prepare our message to the White House and to get me to Washington  for the WH meeting/briefing and conference.

I also want to thank my husband, Mickey Lim and my precious 4-year-old daughter for their support in allowing me to travel to from San Francisco to Washington, and most important, our angels at the National Center for Lesbian Rights and specifically Shannon Minter for putting me up at a hotel for the extra night needed when the White House opportunity came up. 

One of the most important things I learned from this trip to the White House as well as the conference itself is that there is power in telling your stories.  You might sometimes feel alone in this struggle, you might feel invisible in this struggle and you might feel that all is lost for your partner and you… but I can assure you that it is NOT!

Here’s some of the things that you can do:
  • Use our blog to tell your stories.
  • Submit a photo to the United by Love, Divided by Law Tumblr blog.  We have created a poster board with some of the pictures posted and they have been shown at Pride events in San Francisco and Sacramento as well as at the NQAPIA Conference.
  • Make an appointment to meet with your Congressional representative! They will be back in their home districts in August while Congress is in recess so this is a great time to meet them and tell your story!
It has really been very empowering to bring your stories to the world, whether it is publishing them on our blog, or showing your photos to the world on our United by Love Divided by Law Tumblr blog, or sharing stories from the book, “Torn Apart”, or from the documentary film, “Entry Denied”.  Every story told is important because it sheds a light on the discriminatory impact laws like DOMA have on same-sex binational couples, and the more people find out about us, the more sympathetic they become to our issue and the word spreads about the need for change.

At Out4Immigration, we hope that you know that you are not alone in this struggle and that relief will come. It might not be as fast as we want it to be but if we all keep telling our stories, keep pushing, refusing to be ignored, it will happen!

I long for the day when all my brothers and sisters can be together in this country (or any country of their choice!) without fear! I long for the day when there is no need for an all-volunteer organization like Out4Immigration to exist anymore.

It can happen, but it won't happen without every single one of you getting involved.

Contact us at info@out4immigration.org for more information on what you can do to help.

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