SEARAC Commends Executive Orders Providing Relief to Certain Immigrants

But the US must ensure safety to all immigrants and refugees

Washington, DC — Today, President Biden announced executive orders to provide immigration relief to certain immigrants who are undocumented. Under the new actions, undocumented spouses of US citizens may be able to request “parole-in-place” and get access to work permits and a path to legal residency status without first departing the US and being separated from their families, as is currently required. The executive orders also provide relief to DACA holders and Dreamers who have achieved higher education in the United States.

“While we celebrate this win for immigrants, which includes more than 106,000 undocumented Vietnamese Americans, the fight for a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented individuals continues,” said Quyên Đinh, Executive Director of SEARAC. “In light of President Biden’s remarks announcing the executive orders, we also remind the President that the United States must continue to be a safe haven for all people escaping persecution and violence; our asylum system must be strengthened, not dismantled. At the same time, we must ensure continued safety for refugees and immigrants once they’re in the United States by providing them with opportunities and keeping families together, not beefing up detention and deportation. Fixing and restoring humanity to our immigration system requires not just one, but both.”

SEARAC Executive Director Quyên Đinh attends today’s White House event where President Biden made the announcement of the executive orders.

SEARAC knows firsthand how important a functional and humane immigration and asylum system is for ensuring the human right to safety for vulnerable people and families. After leaving Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam fleeing violence and persecution, many Southeast Asians spent time in refugee camps in Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and more, before finally arriving in the United States. Had they been turned away by any of these countries, our communities would have been subjected to violence in their home countries once more, rather than getting the lifesaving chance to start over in the United States. 

Our communities also know the constant fear of being separated from family and community, as 15,000 SEAAs currently live with final removal orders. SEARAC commends today’s actions to help mixed-status families stay together without the fear of deportation. We urge the Biden administration to extend this humanity through the entire immigration system, and ensure that all immigrants and refugees have the right to safety and community.