Press Releases

LGBTQ Asians Defend California’s Sanctuary Laws


For Release: March 12, 2019

Media Contact: Roberta Sklar, (917) 704-6358,

Amicus brief urges US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to Block Trump Administration’s Challenge to CA Laws Protecting Undocumented Immigrants

Tomorrow, March 13, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hear oral arguments in U.S. v. California, the Trump Administration’s lawsuit against California’s sanctuary laws that regulate state employers and law enforcement to protect undocumented immigrants from federal harassment and abuse.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, with the pro bono legal assistance of Weil, Gotshal & Manages LLP, submitted an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief highlighting the special concerns of LGBTQ Asian American immigrants. The brief, joined by 11 other LGBTQ and LGBTQ Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (APIs) groups in California, defends California and illustrates how striking down California’s sanctuary laws would have a direct and outsized impact on the LGBTQ community. The groups signing onto the brief are:

APAIT – a division of Special Service for Groups, Inc.
Asian Pacific Islander Equality – Northern California
Asian Pacific Islander Equality – Los Angeles
Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA), San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles LGBT Center
Network on Justice & Religion, San Francisco, CA
Our Family Coalition, San Francisco, CA
San Francisco LGBT Center
Trikone, San Francisco, CA
United Territories of Pacific Islander Alliances (UTOPIA) San Francisco
Vietnamese Rainbow Orange County (VietROC)

The Trump Administration’s lawsuit seeks to block three laws passed in 2017 that curtail how private employers, local prisons and jails, and local law enforcement work with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).

  • The Immigrant Worker Protection Act (Assembly Bill 450) bars private employers from voluntarily cooperating with ICE and requires businesses to notify workers in advance of an immigration raid.
  • The California Values Act (Senate Bill 54) restricts state and local law enforcement from sharing information with ICE about the release of undocumented people in their custody. It bars the automatic transfer of undocumented persons into federal custody upon release.
  • Public Safety Omnibus (Assembly Bill 103) authorizes state inspections of immigration detention facilities to ensure compliance with California human rights laws.

“The laws have a significant impact on the LGBTQ community because so many of us are immigrants. California rightly decided to protect its residents from Trump’s overly aggressive immigration enforcement, and such laws should be upheld”, said Glenn D. Magpantay, NQAPIA Executive Director.

APIs are the fastest growing racial group in the United States today and the largest segment of new immigrants. An estimated 267,000 undocumented immigrants are LGBT, of which a disproportionate share is API.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a nationwide federation of LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (API) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT API groups, develop leadership, and expand collaborations to better challenges anti-LGBT bias and racism.