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Asian Pacific Islanders, LGBTQs stand up for sanctuary city policies

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Press release from Asian Americans Advancing Justice and National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

CHICAGO (August 6, 2017) — Asian-Pacific Islander immigrant, refugee, LGBTQ and disability justice community groups boarded Red Line train, Sunday morning Aug. 6, to urge Chicagoans to call Mayor Rahm Emanuel and ask him to pass an amendment to the Chicago Welcoming City Ordinance, that implements the ordinance without exceptions.

The public action took place on the heels of victory: Governor Rauner, pressed by Chicagoans, is on track to sign the Illinois Trust Act into law. The Act is designed to help protect immigrant and refugee communities by preventing state and local law enforcement agencies from assisting with federal immigration enforcement, including stopping, arresting, searching, or detaining a person based citizenship or immigration status. Currently any contact with law enforcement, regardless of cause, may lead to deportation for some immigrants.

The train takeover called for Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to go a step further and advance the Welcoming Cities Ordinance without exception, bringing it and the city of Chicago in line with the statewide Trust Act. The takeover co-organized by Asian Americans Advancing Justice Chicago, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), (i2i) Invisible to Invincible: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago, Access Living, the Indo-American Center, the BTGNC (Black Trans and Gender Non-Conforming) Collective and allies, engaged passengers and featured speakers, performers, presentations and musicians.

The current unjust system disrupts lives and undermines community safety. It disproportionately affects people of color and LGBTQ people, who are statistically more likely to be profiled by police and stopped for minor offenses and non-offenses that can then result in deportation. The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)'s #RedefineSecurity project highlights stories of this profiling in LGBTQ API communities by local and federal law enforcement. Across the country, courts have been finding such practices to be unconstitutional. For example, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in July that state police couldn't hold immigrants based solely on a federal immigration detainer.

An undocumented Filipina youth Paula, fighting for safety in Illinois, explained: "Though my family has never let our citizenship status define us, we are at times frightened and confused about how to navigate the world while being undocumented. I often wonder, what if I'm in class and my sister text me that ICE have picked up my parents? If the TRUST Act and the Welcoming Cities Ordinance Without Exception becomes law, this will be a powerful step towards protecting the people I love. Hopefully it will set a precedent for similar laws across the country."

NQAPIA Organizing Director Sasha W. added, "At the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, we hear stories of LGBTQ API people who live at the intersections of policing, profiling, criminalization and surveillance. We are committed to supporting invisible 2 invincible (i2) and the Welcoming Illinois Coalition to pass the Welcoming Cities Ordinance Without Exception and make Chicago a safer city for all of our communities."

By disentangling state and local police from federal immigration enforcement, the Trust Act is an important step towards reducing racial, ethnic and LGBTQ profiling of immigrant and refugee people. Strengthening the Welcoming Cities Ordinance Without Exception will serve to reinforce that important act.

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