National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Chicago Chapter Statement on the Pending Deportation of Mr. Anibal Eligio Fuentes-Aguilar

Published: Monday, January 27th, 2014

As an organization that aims to advance human rights for Asian American women and girls, NAPAWF Chicago stands with the many immigrant families fighting to remain together under the current immigration system. We believe women and girls should have the economic, social, and political power to preside over their own decisions regarding their well-being. A broken immigration system in which nearly 400,000 mothers, fathers, partners, co-parents, caregivers, and economic providers are abruptly deported per year stands directly at odds with the ability of immigrant women and girls to shape their own lives.

Immigration is largely understood as a Latino issue in the U.S., with deportations seen even furthermore in that light. Yet as Ju Hong, activist and immigration research assistant at Harvard University, recently wrote:

Two million of the estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in our country come from Asia….250,000 undocumented Asian/Pacific Islander immigrants have been deported. While we only make up five percent of the country, we are disproportionately impacted by…immigration policies…. more Asians and Pacific Islanders are in detention today than were in detention under the Chinese Exclusion Act

We stand with all immigrant communities fighting deportations as this issue is our issue and as our communities our deeply intertwined. We stand with Mr. Fuentes-Aguilar, a caregiver and economic provider to his child, an American citizen; a worker and soccer coach; a member of the Latino Union where he organizers for low wage immigrant worker rights alongside Filipina caregivers; an American without a criminal record or ties to his home country.

We find his deportation unacceptable in our city, which has technically been a sanctuary city since 2006. And, we furthermore find the circumstances of his detention—in which his Albany Park apartment building was raided and swept by ICE officers posing as police—unacceptable in our neighborhood, which is an immigrant stronghold home to many Asian American businesses and community service organizations.

We believe neither Mr. Fuentes-Aguilar nor any other immigrants in similar positions should be the victims of a broken system “driven by politics not public safety” in the words of the New York Times editorial board—or more specifically, driven by a quota to fill a daily average of 34,000 beds in detention facilities. This quota translates to nearly $2 billion in taxpayer dollars paid out to for-profit detention center corporations per year.

We believe that for any of us to become survivors of this system, all of us must together stand against the tide of deportations unraveling our communities. Not one more family should be separated against the will of its members for the sake of corporate profit, or pay the price for Congressional stalling over Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We are proud to join the fight to halt each and every unjust deportation in our city and ask allied organizations and individuals to consider doing the same.

Karin Lee, Nebula Li, Sarah Macaraeg, Joy Messinger, Leakhena Yoeun
Co-chairs, Chicago chapter
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

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NAPAWF is the only national, multi-issue Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) women’s organization in the country. NAPAWF’s mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for API women and girls.


Sarah Macaraeg, 312-315-8476,

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