Monday, May 15, 2017 3:43 PM | Anonymous

Los Angeles, CA, May 15, 2017 - In light of the current administration’s priorities, which in the first 100 days appear to target our immigrant communities, we at APABA feel it is important to make a clear statement denouncing any and all anti-immigration enforcement policies that directly contravene our mission of inclusiveness.  As we did with President Trump’s executive orders that targeted Muslim immigrants, we similarly condemn any attempts by the federal government to intimidate and instill fear in our immigrant communities, including the recent arrests of undocumented immigrants by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in courthouses in California and nationwide. These targeted arrests have also been reported in other public locations such as public schools, and county health and social services facilities.                            

We believe these new enforcement policies, in particular, have had and will continue to reap a detrimental effect on our communities. As noted by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, “[o]ur courthouses serve as a vital forum for ensuring access to justice and protecting public safety. Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigrant laws.” She further opined that, as a result of such courthouse arrests, “both documented and undocumented immigrants will no longer cooperate with state and local law-enforcement agencies; crimes or civil wrongs will go unreported and communities will live in fear.” Courts in New York City, Boston, Denver, and other U.S. cities have cited similar consequences of recent courthouse enforcement actions.

APABA believes that anti-immigration policies undermine our judicial system, which is supposed to serve and protect the poor, abused and vulnerable. Instead, these policies discourage immigrants from reporting crimes and serving as witnesses in crimes against them.   Furthermore, we are deeply concerned that immigrants will not go to public agencies to apply for vital social services and healthcare and other necessary assistance for which they are eligible out of general fear of immigration authorities. 

The consequences of the new administrations’ anti-immigration policies directly conflict with Congress’ efforts to protect immigrant crime victims.  Laws such as the Violence Against Women’s Act and the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act encourage immigrants to come forward and assist law enforcement with prosecuting criminals who have victimized them.  They are less likely to do so now in light of the increase in courthouse enforcement actions and other anti-immigrant policies.

APABA encourages our members to take an active part in building community dialogue and rejecting any policies or conduct that promote fear-mongering and discrimination. In furtherance of our commitment to engage our communities through civic education, outreach, and activism, APABA conducted a series of Know Your Rights Immigration Town Halls in Los Angeles and Orange counties in February and March 2017. We recently joined the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) in a public statement, expressing concerns about ICE’s practices at courthouses. The statement can be read here. APABA also joined NAPABA’s amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth and Ninth Circuits to support a preliminary injunction of the revised Executive Order barring individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. The appellate courts will hear the cases later this month. Information about the amicus briefs can be found here.

To commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, we invite community members to participate in our “100 Days Later: APA Perspectives on the Trump Administration” event to be held on May 18, 2017 where we will review the impact of the first 100 days of the new administration, and how each of us can bring about positive change in our local community.  APABA remains steadfast in our mission to confront discrimination and promote inclusivity through mobilizing our community with outreach programs and education efforts.

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The Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County is a nonpartisan member organization comprised of attorneys, judges and law students throughout Los Angeles County. It is a voice for issues of concern to the Asian Pacific American community. APABA provides legal education and assistance to underserved communities and sponsors programs in professional development, community education and law student mentorship.

CONTACT: Dinh Luu (dinh@goldfarbluu.com); Ash Puri (apuri@foxrothschild.com)


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