Empowering New York’s Asian American Community Since 1989

Asian American Federation Statement on President Trump’s Executive Orders

New York City: On January 25th, President Trump signed an executive order that stripped federal funding from sanctuary cities. Two days later, on January 27th, he signed another executive order that effectively blocked immigration from a number of Muslim-majority countries as well as refugee resettlement in the U.S. Under his latest order, the U.S. will no longer issue visas to people traveling from Muslim-majority countries or allow the admission of any refugees until further notice.

These measures have unleashed harsh criticism from a number of leaders, including Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio. The Mayor has vowed to protect all New Yorkers, regardless of their immigration status, promising that New York City will pursue legal action if the executive orders are enforced in a way that violates the civil liberties of New Yorkers. Similarly, the Governor has pledged to commit state resources to help and protect anyone detained at New York airports.

The Asian American Federation commends the Governor and Mayor for their quick and forceful responses to President Trump’s anti-immigrant measures. Their vocal opposition and decisiveness demonstrate their recognition that these new policies undermine the character and core values of our country, which are based on tolerance and inclusion of all races, ethnicities, and religions.

President Trump’s latest measures are extreme and perpetuate a false, disproven narrative that tie undocumented immigrants, Muslims, and refugees to higher crime rates and terrorism. Like all immigrant communities, pan -Asian New Yorkers will be impacted by these measures, which give wide latitude to immigration officials to target all undocumented immigrants and individuals from the seven Muslim-majority countries included in the order for detainment and deportation.

Programs that have helped to relocate and settle refugees have greatly benefited our community, providing sanctuary for Cambodian, Vietnamese, Hmong, and Burmese immigrants for decades. These refugee communities have made rich contributions to our country, bringing their culture and considerable skills, talents, and ingenuity to the U.S.

We have first-hand knowledge of the danger of vilifying Americans. Over 100,000 Japanese Americans were interned in camps following similarly anti-immigrant policies in 1942. Before that, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 banned Chinese immigrants from citizenship and family reunification. Indeed, pan-Asian American history is replete with painful reminders of being scapegoated as the enemy and the devastating impact these policies had on our communities. We will not watch our Muslim friends, families, and neighbors experience the same kind of injustice; we will stand up and challenge any program that prevents newcomers from coming to our country to lend their considerable talents to building a stronger U.S.

Today, as we celebrate the birthday of Fred Korematsu, who bravely challenged the internment of Japanese Americans, we thank Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio for their leadership in upholding New York as a sanctuary for all immigrants. The Federation pledges to work together with the Governor, Mayor, and all elected officials to take the appropriate actions to oppose any policy from the new administration that impinges on the rights of immigrants.

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