Take these Precautions Before Trump Takes Office
There are a number of measures that LGBT Asian Americans, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders should do to protect themselves and their families under a Trump Administration. I'm a civil rights lawyer by practice and I've consulted with other immigration attorneys, public policy experts, and other practitioners to identify issues of particular importance for our community.
Many of these applications will not be granted until after Trump takes office. But even if Trump tries to eliminate everything that we have won, it is virtually impossible for changes to be retroactive. Applications filed today will be decided and granted on the basis of the laws and rules while Obama is in office. So take care of these soon.
Transgender LGBT APIs -- Apply or Update Passport
President Obama's administration allowed for people to change and update their federally issued identity documents, including gender-marker on passport and names on social security cards. Trump has vowed to eliminate all of Obama's executive directives on January 20. You must apply and make and changes now. Adult passports last 10 years so they will outlive a Trump presidency.
Apply for Passport from the U.S. State Department here.
Young Undocumented Immigrants -- Renew DACA
President Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by executive order so that undocumented young people could be free from deportation and gain work authorization. Trump has given mixed messages on DACA and at one point stated he has "no problem" with it.
If you are fearful about what Trump will do with current DACA enrollees, know that NQAPIA, countless advocacy organizations, and high powered lawyers will do everything that we can to protect you and your family.
If you have DACA now and it will expire in the next 6 months, file a mandatory renewal now. Not filing a renewal could subject you to noncompliance and makes you a higher priority for investigation. Those who follow the rules, as they are now, are less likely to be gone after.
If you have never applied for DACA, you should consult with am immigration apply before filing a few application. You can find an attorney here.
More information is here.
Health Insurance through Obamacare -- Apply Now
If you do not have health insurance, you should apply for Obamacare through the federal system or one of your state health exchanges. Open Enrollment is now. Although Trump and Congressional leaders have promised to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, that will not happen at least for another year. The more people who are in the system now, the more difficult it will be to get rid of the system. Efforts to repeal may also "grandfather" current enrollees and allow them to maintain their health insurance while declining to take any new people.
Enroll now here.
Immigrants Eligible for Green Cards or Naturalization -- Apply now
If you are eligible for a green card or to become a U.S. citizen, you should file those applications now. They take several months to process, but becoming a permanent resident or a citizen substantially increases your security to live in America. If you have any criminal history or entered the U.S. without permission, consult an attorney before filing any paperwork.
LGBT Immigrants Seeking Asylum -- Apply now
LGBT people are persecuted in many countries in Asia and the Pacific. Foreign nationals may seek political asylum in the United States based on the sexual orientation or gender-identity. But federal law has a strict one-year time limitation for people to file an application from the date of entry. This cannot be undone by Trump. If you are seeking political asylum you should consult with an attorney and apply now.
LGBT APIs with Children -- Protect your relationship with them
If you have a child, you should apply for a second-parent adoption or a joint adoption if you do not have a legally recognized relationship to the child, like birth. Even if your name is listed on the child's birth certificate, that may not be enough.
Same-Sex Marriage is Safe -- Don't get married if you don't want to
The right for same-sex couples to legally marry was decided by the US Supreme Court and is based on the US Constitution. Trump cannot undo marriages or take the right away. Even if he appoints an anti-marriage Supreme Court Justice, the majority of justices that ruled twice in favor of marriage equality will remain on the Court. There is no need to have to get married now.
Trump may eliminate the Obama Administration's hospital visitation policy. So it is prudent to have family planning protections in the event of a tragedy. This includes a Last Will and Testament, Health Care Proxies, Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney, designation of guardians, and Living Wills. It is not limited to couples but includes single people and people in more dynamic relationship and family structures.
Need a Lawyer? -- Ask NQAPIA
The above are prudent steps to takes but everyone's legal situation is different. To speak with an attorney for a legal consultation, complete NQAPIA Legal Intake Form.
You can find an attorney here.