Category Archives: Policies

Calling on Congress to Deliver a Permanent Pathway to Citizenship

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Urges Congress to Commit to a Pathway to Citizenship and Visa Recapture After Parliamentarian Recommendations (December 17, 2021)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice is extremely disheartened by the Parliamentarian guidance further blocking relief for millions of undocumented community members. We will not stop fighting until Congress delivers a permanent pathway to citizenship.

Adhikaar along with Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP) releases the following statement urging the Senate to disregard the Parliamentarian and provide green cards to millions: “This third rejection by the Parliamentarian clearly shows that she has no intention of approving any form of immigration relief to be included in the Build Back Better Act, despite very clear and significant budgetary impact. Senators must not allow a non-elected Senate staffer to subvert the will of the people via a purely advisory opinion. Senators must fulfill their duties to our communities and legislate what is right. The only way to do this is by including permanent residency in the Build Back Better Act.” Read their full statement here!

HANA Center and Undocumented Community Members Respond to the Parliamentarian’s Third Recommendation: “This Changes Nothing. Vice President Harris, Disregard the Parliamentarian!” Read their full statement here!

VietLead stands with Movement of Immigrant Leaders in Pennsylvania and New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia in their call to include a pathway to citizenship in the budget reconciliation. Read more here: Pennsylvania Families call on Vice President Harris and Senate to Include a Pathway to Citizenship in Budget Reconciliation.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

NCAPA Statement on Senate Passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill –  Washington, DC— The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), National Director, Gregg Orton issued the following statement after the Senate voted 69-30 to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. The bill makes key investments in public transit, broadband access, environmental remediation, and more.

“The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) applauds the passage of President Biden’s historic infrastructure bill. As this legislation advances, we are hopeful this bill will strengthen communities across the country, especially those who’ve been impacted the hardest by the pandemic. 

“From our coalition’s previous meetings with President Biden, the Administration has been incredibly receptive to the needs of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community. Whether it’s broadband access, electrifying transportation to reduce the negative impact on the climate, or securing our power grid, these important investments have the ability to drastically improve the lives of every American, especially in disadvantaged communities. We urge the Administration to commit these investments, and others laid out in the bill, to underserved AANHPI communities as well as the millions in disadvantaged communities across the country.”

APIAVote Applauds Senate’s Passage of Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill – Washington, DC –  Christine Chen, Executive Director of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, issued the following statement after the United States Senate overwhelmingly passed the Investment and Jobs Act, a bipartisan infrastructure spending bill to expand the nation’s broadband, rebuild roads and bridges, and more.

“The Senate’s passage of the Investment and Jobs Act today, otherwise known as the bipartisan infrastructure bill, is a great step for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities all across the country. Many communities of color, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, live in neighborhoods with crumbling roads and bridges, aging public transportation, environmental crises, and more. This bill makes historic investments into reversing course and re-building our nation’s infrastructure, all while creating thousands of jobs and improving the localities in which we live.

“Additionally, we are pleased with this bill’s historic investments into broadband. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many in our community had to start working from home, going to school online, and getting healthcare through telehealth services. It is even how many in our communities registered to vote, apply for absentee ballots, and learn about candidates and the issues –– especially for those with limited English proficiency. As a result, the importance of reliable high-speed internet is arguably more important now than ever, and so is the importance of closing the digital divide existing in AAPI communities. The Investment and Jobs Act will invest $65 billion to ensure this divide is closed, and our communities no longer face unacceptable barriers to success in the modern world. 

“The Senate’s passage of this bill is not only a historic investment into our country’s infrastructure, but it is also an example of how members of both parties can come together and work for the people. In a highly polarized political climate, AAPIs want a government that produces results for our communities. We urge the House of Representatives to promptly pass this legislation, and show that our government remains able to deliver for our communities.”

OCA Applauds Senate Passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – Washington, D.C. — OCA-Asian Pacific Advocates, a national member-driven organization dedicated to empowering Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, applauded the U.S. Senate on Tuesday following passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“Communities of color–including millions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders–have been burdened by pollution, aging public transportation, and lack of reliable access to broadband service for more than a generation,” said OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates National President Linda Ng. “This bipartisan legislation includes much-needed investments in our infrastructure that will support AAPI families and grow our economy in a way that benefits everyone.”

“We are pleased that the package contains historic levels of funding for broadband infrastructure, which will help to provide affordable high-speed internet to underserved communities,” said OCA Deputy Executive Director Thu Nguyen. “Many AAPIs–and particularly Pacific Islanders–still face unacceptable barriers to access, depriving them of key education, health and socioeconomic opportunities. Today’s vote is a critical step forward to closing the digital divide, and we urge the House to swiftly take up the Senate bill.”

 

 

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act

Advancing Justice – AAJC Applauds House Vote on John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act 

WASHINGTON, DC — August 24, 2021 ― Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC applauds the U.S. House of Representatives passage of H.R. 4 – the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Civil rights groups like Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC are calling for widespread support of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to now pass the Senate. 

John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC issues the following statement:   

“Our vote is our voice, and our voice is our power. The passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to counter discriminatory voting laws – a move that was made previously more difficult last month by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brnovich v. DNC.  

We need to restore and modernize essential provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were gutted in the Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act does exactly that by addressing the changing needs of America’s diverse population, of significant importance to the fast-growing Asian American community who need essential provisions such as increased language access and removal of other discriminatory barriers to voting.  

The Voting Rights Act has a long history of support across the political spectrum, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act should have the same when it moves to the Senate.” 

Read more about the Voting Rights Advancement act here – Support H.R. 4, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act – Government Accountability Project

Read APIAVote’s statement on the House Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act here: https://www.apiavote.org/press/HousePassesHR4 

“It is disappointing that 56 years after the Voting Rights of 1965 became the law of the land that this legislation is necessary. After being gutted by two recent Supreme Court decisions, including Shelby v. Holder and Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, state legislatures across the country have passed laws making it harder to vote – especially for historically marginalized communities, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”

“Nationally, AAPI voters had the largest increase in turnout among all racial groups between the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. Despite the risks of the pandemic and growing hate incidents, AAPI voters showed up – thanks in large part to measures that expanded access to the polls. We know 73 percent of AAPI voters cast their ballots early or by mail in the 2020 election. We also know the demand for in-language materials was extraordinarily high in our communities. And without federal action now, AAPI voters may not have these options in the future.”

U.S. Senate and House Budget Resolution

HANA CENTER – “On August 24, 2021, the US House of Representative passes the budget resolution, a $3.5 billion budget resolution that included a pathway to citizenship for dreamers, farmworkers, TPS holders and essential workers. Now that both the Senate and the House have passed the resolution, we’re closer than we’ve ever been to a path to citizenship!” 

“The fight isn’t over yet. Even if they passed the resolution with funds set aside for a pathway, they will now start writing the bill. In the coming weeks, they will decide who will be covered and who will not. Congress also could decide to use this fund for constructing “smart fences” and militarizing our border.”

ASIAN AMERICANS ADVANCING JUSTICE – “We are one step closer to a pathway to citizenship and clearing the family immigration backlog! Asian Americans Advancing Justice celebrates as the House Judiciary Committee passed out of committee last night the immigration legislation in the FY 22 Budget Reconciliation Package that included:”

  • A pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, essential workers, and farmworkers
  • Provisions to begin clearing the family and employee-based visa backlogs
  • Provisions to provide green cards to diversity visa program lottery winners who were not able to receive them due to the former administration’s immigration bans, including 3,800 Afghan recipients

“Over 100,000 Asian undocumented immigrants, approximately 15,000 Nepali TPS holders, and tens of thousands of Asian Americans on nonimmigrant visas could benefit under these provisions. We thank the tireless advocacy from undocumented youth, organizers, and communities across the country that has led to the inclusion of key measures in the most promising legislative vehicle to begin transforming our deeply flawed immigration system.” Read their full statement here.

Asian American Civil Rights Organizations Calls Passage of Senate Budget Resolution a Historic Step for Immigrant Rights – Washington, D.C.—August 12, 2020— “Yesterday, the Senate budget resolution passed along party lines and included increased funding for education, climate change, healthcare, childcare, economic aid for families, and a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants. It now moves to the House to take up the budget resolution.” Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five independent Asian American civil rights organizations, releases the following statement:

“Eleven million undocumented immigrants, including 1.7 million undocumented Asian American and Pacific Islander immigrants, deserve a pathway to citizenship now. Citizenship for DACA recipients, TPS holders, farm workers, and essential workers provides a foundation to improve the lives of millions of people, their families, and their communities. 

With the Senate passage of the budget resolution, we’re one step closer to offering citizenship to millions of people who came here as children, arrived fleeing war and disaster, or help us care for one another as first responders, caregivers, food system workers, and so much more. With a pathway to citizenship, our friends, neighbors, and co-workers can get the help they need to pull through the pandemic, live without fear of being separated from their loved ones, access better education and job opportunities, start new businesses, and exercise their right to vote – embracing what it means to live a full life in the place you call home. We call on the House to swiftly pass the resolution. Relief for millions of immigrants is long overdue.” 

The TEAACH Act in Illinois

Illinois has become the first state to mandate that Asian American history be part of its public school curriculum thanks to advocacy efforts from numerous individuals and organizations, largely led by Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago.

Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) Act (HB 376) will paint a more complete picture of our shared history by adding Asian American history to the Illinois School Code. The TEAACH Act will ensure that Asian American stories and experiences are highlighted in Illinois, not just the stories of Asians outside the United States. 

NBC Chicago: Pritzker Signs Law Making Illinois First State to Require Asian American History Be Taught in Schools

“Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday [July 9, 2021] signed into law a new measure making Illinois the first state in the U.S. to require Asian American history be taught in public schools. Pritzker signed House Bill 376, the Teaching Equitable Asian American History or TEAACH Act, at Niles West High School in suburban Skokie. The new law requires every public elementary and high school in the state to devote a unit of curriculum to the history of Asian Americans in the United States.”

“We are setting a new standard for what it means to truly reckon with our history,” Pritzker said in a statement. “It’s a new standard that helps us understand one another, and, ultimately, to move ourselves closer to the nation of our ideals.”

“The curriculum must include “the events of Asian American history, including the history of Asian Americans in Illinois and the Midwest, as well as the contributions of Asian Americans toward advancing civil rights from the 19th century onward,” the legislation reads.”

“These events shall include the contributions made by individual Asian Americans in government and the arts, humanities, and sciences, as well as the contributions of Asian American communities to the economic, cultural, social, and political development of the United States,” per the new law. The law takes effect on Jan. 1 and the requirement begins with the start of the 2022-2023 school year.”

Read more about the TEAACH Act from Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, who was the lead organization in this effort.

 

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Asian Pacific Islander Equity Budget in California

NBC Asian America: ‘Historic investment’: California allocates millions to fight anti-Asian hate

“The Asian Pacific Islander Equity budget, approved Monday [July 12, 2021] by Gov. Gavin Newsom, gives $156 million to community groups to tackle the root causes of racism.”

“California’s new $100 billion spending bill, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Monday, includes a $156 million investment in noncarceral alternatives to combatting violence against Asian Americans, who make up 16 percent of the state’s population.”

“Developed by the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, the Asian Pacific Islander Equity Budget allocates the money over a three-year period to a host of victim support, mental health and educational resources to tackle the root causes of anti-Asian racism. The victim-centered solutions covered by the proposal stand in contrast to the recent federal hate crimes legislation, which bolstered law enforcement response to anti-Asian violence.”

“Endorsed by more than 150 Asian American groups, this plan is one of the largest commitments in the state’s history to address the needs of Asian Americans. Two-thirds of the package, around $110 million, will be distributed to community-based organizations so they can provide resources to victims of hate incidents. Other grants will cover the cost of legal, health care and mental health services, as well as outreach and public safety programs, such as civilian foot patrols to protect seniors.”

 

 

Ruling on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

On Friday, July 16, 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen issued a court order invalidating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Although DACA will remain in place for current recipients, the order directed the government to stop processing new DACA applications while allowing the processing of renewals pending appeals. Here is a quick break down about Judge Hanen partially ending DACA from United We Dream.

Advancing Justice: “The Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliation condemns this decision from Judge Hanen, who has a history of anti-immigrant rulings and is playing politics with people’s lives by attacking this program that is widely supported by Americans. We remain confident that the DACA program is on firm legal ground and urge the federal government to swiftly appeal this case.” Read their full statement here.

Here are some informational graphics shared by various network partners on this recent ruling as well as ways to get involved and take action, access resources, and support our impacted community members:

 

 

Biden Signs COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Statement from Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland made the following statement after President Biden’s signing of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law:

“Today’s bill signing is an important step toward protecting everyone in our country from acts of hate and intolerance.

“We have seen a substantial rise in hate crimes and bias-related incidents against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community since the beginning of the pandemic.

“This new law will help speed our response to hate crimes and provide resources to law enforcement to improve hate crime reporting. The law will assist law enforcement in targeting its efforts, which will help to prevent these devastating crimes and to respond efficiently and effectively to crimes, when they occur.

“The Department of Justice is proud to play a central role in implementing this legislation. Investigating and prosecuting hate crimes is a top priority, deeply rooted in the department’s founding. We will use the new law to enhance the aggressive measures we are taking to combat crime motivated by bigotry and discrimination.”

Press Release Number:
Updated May 20, 2021

Action Alert: Sign Constituent Letter of Support for HF 1691/ SF 2003

 

Our government must pass bold reforms that address this issue so we can accurately count and combat hate in our state. Communities Combating Hate have momentum to make system-wide change to better combat hate in MN. On 3/26/2021, HF 1691 passed out of it’s second MN House committee!

HF 1691/SF 2003 would:

1. Close loopholes that misclassify hateful incidents.

2. Allow victims to report hate incidents to non-law enforcement entities, like community organizations and the MN Department of Human Rights.

3. Provide support for the victims of hate crimes.

Take Action Now by contacting your representatives to take immediate action to combat hate in Minnesota.

In case you missed the press conference with AAL to pass this legislation in MN:

 

 

New Way Forward Act for Southeast Asian Refugees

NBC: Asian American community advocates say a new immigration reform bill reintroduced in Congress on Tuesday can become a pathway for Southeast Asian Americans who have been deported to return to the U.S. or who are in deportation proceedings to stay in the country.

Reintroduced by Reps. Jesús  “Chuy” García, Pramila Jayapal, Karen Bass, and Ayanna Pressley, the New Way Forward Act seeks to decriminalize immigration and tackle systemic racism in the country’s immigration system. Key components of the bill include: eliminating mandatory detention, redefining convictions, ending deportations based on certain convictions, restoring judicial discretion for immigration judges, creating a five-year statute of limitations for deportability, and establishing an opportunity to come home for certain deported individuals or non-citizens in deportation proceedings.

Advancing Justice and SEARAC issued the following joint statement: “This landmark legislation re-envisions the United States’ severely flawed and racist immigration enforcement system. The New Way Forward Act would restore fundamental due process protections and compassion back to our immigration system. For the last several years, our country’s outdated and unjust immigration laws have been used to deport our communities at an unprecedented level. As we look to eliminate mass incarceration and create a racially just society, the New Way Forward Act is an essential step toward justice and equity for immigrant and refugee communities. We need to provide a way for those individuals who were unjustly removed to have the opportunity to come home and be reunited with their families.”

Read more about the news story here. Find out how you can take action today by following Advancing Justice and SEARAC’s action alerts to contact your members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the New Way Forward Act! Find the digital tool kit here.