U.S. Filipinas Celebrate Landmark Political Victories and Continue Demanding Justice for LGBTQ and Im/migrant Communities

June 29, 2013

Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, GABRIELA USA, gabrielawomen@gmail.com

GABRIELA USA organizations celebrate PRIDE month throughout the United States, as major political victories unfolded this past week. The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which also effectively overturned Proposition 8 in California. Legislation signed in 1996 by Bill Clinton, DOMA has barred the federal government’s recognition of same-sex marriages in certain states. “As Filipinas in the United States, GABRIELA USA understands that the fight for LGBTQ people and im/migrants are one in the same, which are deeply embedded in struggles worldwide for economic, political, and social justice,” says Valerie Francisco, Chairperson of GABRIELA USA.

“Migrants work hard and go to great lengths to support their families, even to put their own lives on the line being exploited, detained and deported. Their families mean that much to them, and we need to fight to defend their human rights instead of criminalizing them,” says Tina Shauf Vice Chair of Mass Campaigns of GABRIELA USA. Due to existing U.S. imperialist trade policies, people leave the Philippines and other countries everyday to find livelihood for their families, the U.S. being a top destination for migrants. Concurrently the Comprehensive Immigration Reform, S.744, a Senate-passed comprehensive immigration reform bill proposes a 13-year pathway to citizenship for the over 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country which includes over 1 million Filipinos. GABRIELA USA believes that legalization for all immigrants in the U.S. is essential in protecting people from exploitation and abuse. However, we are critical of the limitations S.744 would enforce. A portion of S.744 includes E-verify, which puts undocumented people under stricter surveillance and more vulnerable to exploitative and abusive conditions than ever before.  “We must fight against the S.744 bill that also supports the collaboration with ICE and the police through the S-Comm program, which puts our LGBTQ community at risk of detention and deportation. We know that ICE and the police does not create safety for LGBTQ people, especially when Trans and Gender Non Conforming, Youth, and People of Color are among the communities often targeted by police harassment and violence,” says Irma Bajar Vice-Chair of International Relations.

As Filipinas in the U.S., we along with others in migrant and LGBTQ communities have been left out of political debates and decision-making in this country when it comes to LGBTQ and im/migrant issues. After the rainbow flags come down this weekend, we must continue to fight and ensure that these political victories are also serving marginalized sectors of the queer community, like working class im/migrants and people of color.

Keep ALL, including LGBTQ Families Together!
Stop Criminalization of Im/migrants!
No to Deportation! Legalization for All!