The National Voice of the APA Legal Community Since 1988
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 75 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes Asian Pacific American political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about Asian Pacific Americans in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.
NAPABA and SABA Condemn the President’s Exclusion
of Refugees and his “Muslim Ban”
Jan. 27, 2017
WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) condemn President Trump’s executive order stopping refugees from entering the United States and halting immigration from Muslim-majority countries. These orders, which are based on the misguided idea that certain ethnic populations are more prone to violence, are incompatible with American values, and will not make our communities safer or our nation stronger. Notably, the order, (1) halts refugee admissions from all countries for at least 120 days, (2) indefinitely halts the admission of Syrian refugees, (3) lowers the number of refugee admissions to the United States, (4) grants states and localities the ability to stop refugees from settling in their jurisdiction, and (5) suspends all entry of individuals from certain Muslim-majority countries.
“We must recognize the humanitarian needs of refugee populations and we must refuse to act based on fear and intolerance,” said NAPABA President Cyndie Chang. “Policies that discriminate against members of the Muslim community go against our values as Americans. President Trump’s anti-immigrant executive orders open the door to a de facto ‘Muslim ban,’ and roll back efforts to create safe and supportive communities. As Asian Pacific Americans who are first, second, or third generation immigrants — which includes refugees, undocumented, and Muslims — we know all too well the harm these types of restrictive policies may cause.”
“Criminalizing and stigmatizing a group of people simply for their religious beliefs, what they look like and where they come from, violates the American spirit of equality, fairness and innocence until proven guilty,” said SABA President Vichal Kumar. “The carve out in the Executive Actions for religious minorities challenges any assertion that these orders do not directly target Muslims. An outright ban of an entire group is an overbroad and unjustified response to a threat that is based solely on conjecture and unsupported by facts. These actions will leave a legacy of creating deeper mistrust of our communities.”
As organizations that serve and represent the interests of Asian Pacific American attorneys, we know firsthand the harmful legacy of national security programs and exclusionary immigration laws that have unfairly targeted our communities. Our communities have experienced exclusion by law from the 1800s through the 1960s — with bans on country admission like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Immigration Act of 1924. We remember the discrimination and hate crimes that our communities experienced in the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Our communities, especially our Arab, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian communities were viewed with suspicion and hate, and subjected to violence in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. We recognize the hope the United States represents to those in humanitarian crises, including to refugees from Asia and the Middle East who have accounted for over half of the refugees admitted to the United States since 1975. Although national security and public safety are critical for all Americans, policies and practices that discriminate against refugees or immigrants on the basis of national origin, race, ethnicity, or religion will not achieve these goals.
Refugees, like other immigrants, enrich our communities and contribute significantly to American society and we oppose efforts to reduce the number of refugees entering the United States. Refugees encounter a high level of scrutiny and security screening before arriving in the United States, often taking almost two years. Those refugees who are admitted for resettlement are usually the most helpless and have fled violence or persecution, such as Asian Pacific American immigrants who came and who still come to the United States due to volatile conditions, war, or strife in their countries of origin.
When our laws are fueled by stereotypes, fear, and mistrust, families are torn apart. NAPABA and SABA stand strongly against government policies and practices that enable racial profiling and discrimination. These policies only provoke and intensify xenophobia and hate or bias motivated acts against communities such as ours.
The following NAPABA affiliates and national associates have signed-on to this statement:
- Asian American Bar Association of San Francisco Bay Area
- Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts
- Asian Bar Association of Washington
- Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley
- Asian/Pacific Bar Association of Sacramento
- Connecticut Asian Pacific American Bar Association
- Filipino Bar Association of Northern California
- Filipino Lawyers of Washington
- Japanese American Bar Association
- Korean American Bar Association of DC
- Korean American Bar Association of Northern California
- NAPABA - Hawaii
- Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association
- Pan Asian Lawyers of San Diego
- South Asian Bar Association of Southern California
- South Asian Bar Association of Washington
- Thai American Bar Association
- The Korean American Bar Association of Washington
NAPABA and SABA Condemn Anti-Immigrant Executive Orders
Jan. 26, 2017
WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) condemn the anti-immigrant and xenophobic Executive Orders issued yesterday by President Trump. Notably, the orders (1) revive the “Secure Communities” immigration enforcement program, which was previously criticized for promoting racial profiling by local law enforcement officials who were required to enforce federal immigration laws, (2) implement policies that may result in the deportation of tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants who pose no threat to the American people, and (3) strip federal funding from “sanctuary cities,” that protect countless immigrants and their families by refusing to prosecute residents for violations of federal immigration laws.
The policies announced yesterday encourage racial and religious profiling and almost exclusively target communities of color. There are 1.3 million undocumented Asian Pacific Americans, including those brought to the United States as children, whose families will be directly affected by these orders. In recent months, Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian Americans have been the targets of more hate incidents and violence than at any time since the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11 — with a noticeable increase in anti-immigrant bias. These Executive Orders that breed distrust of immigrants will only serve to make our communities less safe.
“Actions like the President’s executive orders have been shown in the past to discourage victims from reporting crimes to law enforcement officials because of fear of prosecution based on immigration status and threatens the years of progress we have made towards creating safer communities,” said NAPABA President Cyndie Chang. “As attorneys, we are committed to ensuring that all persons in the United States have equal access to justice and the ability to seek assistance from law enforcement without fear of reprisal or harm.”
“The President’s actions demonize and stigmatize groups of people and further the divisions in our country, while reinforcing the fear and distrust permeating our communities,” stated Vichal Kumar, president of SABA. “With the stroke of a pen, these divisive actions have caused grave uncertainty, shock and grief amongst our must vulnerable. We must continue to provide safety and security for our communities and not allow these divisive actions to further tear us part.”
These orders, along with the reportedly forthcoming executive actions to restrict immigration based on nationality and religion and to close our borders to refugees, represent a rejection of our core values as a country, which has always welcomed those who have been forced to flee their homes to escape conflict or persecution. These actions also represent a step backwards in decades-long efforts to create trust between law enforcement agencies, immigrant communities, and the broader American public — which is a critical component of public safety for all Americans.
Sanctuary policies promote positive relationships between law enforcement and immigrant communities and studies indicate they have not lead to increases in crime. Local jurisdictions have enacted these policies to encourage victims and witnesses of crimes to step forward as a matter of public safety. Threating funding for such jurisdictions may jeopardize the effective operation of our legal system and public safety for all Americans.
The orders further criminalize immigrant communities and will lead to an increase in detention and deportation. The orders expand enforcement priorities to include anyone convicted of any crime, without respect to the seriousness of the crime, and those who are not charged with a crime. Further, Secure Communities led to an increase in racial and national origin profiling by law enforcement resulting in thousands of U.S. citizens being detained.
Immigrant communities and their families contribute to our nation, regardless of origin or status. As attorneys whose families come from a wide range of immigrant and religious backgrounds, we understand that these policies will not make us safer or unite us as a country and NAPABA and SABA will continue to stand up for the rights of immigrants and religious minorities. We encourage our members and all members of the legal community to join us to stand up for the rights of our communities.