April 23, 2014

Daily Until June 3: Phone Bank for Mike Honda

Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17) is a longtime supporter and friend of the AAA-Fund. His work has directly matched and aided our own mission and goal. We encourage all to support him as he has supported us all in all his work.

Phone bank for Mike!

Mike Honda at San Jose High School

Join Mike Honda’s campaign and help re-elect him to Congress. Phone banks are held at the DCCC building, 430 S. Capitol Street S.E., Washington, DC. Every Wednesday from 6:30pm-9:30pm until the June 3rd primary, with additional times announced for the general election. Sign up here.

Congressman Honda is running to represent CA-17, the Silicon Valley district. He has been delivering for his district for over a decade in Congress. As Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Vice-Chair of the DNC for 6 years, Mike has been a leading voice in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community & a progressive champion for underserved and under-represented communities & a fierce advocate for the middle class, fighting for legislation that nurtures the tech industry in his Silicon Valley district and grows our innovation economy. His service has been recognized by his many endorsers, including President Barack Obama, Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, CA Attorney General Kamala Harris, and the California Democratic Party, among others.

His opponent Ro Khanna has amassed a questionably funded war chest and high-paid consultancy team which threatens to end Mike’s career of delivering for CA-17 and fighting for the progressive values we hold dear. We’ll even pardon Khanna’s unsavory ethical questions. Working on behalf of people like you inspires Congressman Honda’s work every day. Thus we hope you will help Mike in his time of need.

To volunteer, fill out this form or contact 503-974-6026 or hondavolunteer@gmail.com. Forward this to anyone you think would be interested in helping Mike.

Thank you!

April 21, DC: AAPI Mentoring with Nina Davuluri & Julie Chu

White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

The White House Office of Public Engagement, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), and White House Council on Women and Girls invite you to an armchair conversation with

  1. Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014
  2. Julie Chu, four-time Olympic Medalist of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team
  3. Moderated by Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on AAPIs.
  4. Other panelists to be announced.

You are welcome – and encouraged – to forward this invitation to young women who are students, interns, young professionals, or emerging leaders in your networks. Mentorship is an important part of our efforts and we hope this event will provide these young leaders a chance to hear and learn from our special guests.

Monday, April 21, 2014
1:00 – 2:00 PM
The White House
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

Space is limited and RSVPs will only be accepted until we reach capacity. To RSVP, complete and submit the attached security spreadsheet (.xlsx with header fields: LastName, First Name, Middle Name, Date of Birth, SSN, Citizen, Country, Gender, City, State, Email Address) to AAPI@who.eop.gov by 12 pm (Noon) EDT this Friday, April 18th. You are not confirmed for the event unless you have correctly completed the attached form AND receive a confirmation e-mail.

DOL Labor Hall of Honor Inducts Chinese Railroad Workers

Editor’s Note: We re-Tweeted the DOL’s Tweet about this news.

Chinese Railroad Workers

The United States Department of Labor invites you to join Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez for the induction of The Chinese Railroad Workers into the Labor Hall of Honor

Friday, May 9, 2014
11:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m.

U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Ave NW
César Chávez Memorial Auditorium
Washington, DC 20210
Vistor’s Entrance: 3rd & C Streets NW

Registration and identification are required to attend. This invitation is non-transferrable.

Register at webapps.dol.gov/DOLEvents/Event/View/288 before Wednesday, May 7, 2014.

Contact Jeremy Bishop, Special Assistant to the Secretary
in the Office of Public Engagement, at bishop.jeremy@dol.gov with any questions or concerns.

Sen. Hirono: To Chair Judiciary Subcommittee

Editor’s Note: The below is a re-posting of ” from our friends at Mazie Hirono‘s office.

Mazie Hirono, a voice for Hawaii in the US Senate

March 27, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Thursday announced that Senator Mazie K. Hirono will become chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action.

The subcommittee was created at the beginning of the 113th Congress to provide oversight and review of agency rulemaking and agency action. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who currently chairs the subcommittee, is stepping down to take over a gavel on another committee. Hirono, who joined the Judiciary Committee at the beginning of the 113th Congress and has been a leader on a range of issues including immigration and sentencing reform, will assume the gavel April 1.

“I look forward to chairing the Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Actions and thank Chairman Leahy for this opportunity to help make sure that the voices of everyday citizens are heard,” Hirono said. “I plan to work so that the unique needs of Hawaii are represented as we review agency actions and Executive Branch initiatives. I will also look for ways to improve oversight of government waste and abuse and strengthen consumer protections for all Americans.”

“The Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action plays an important role in the Judiciary Committee’s larger mission to provide rigorous oversight and ensure a timely and fair approach to administrative rulemaking that impacts millions of Americans,” Leahy said. “I am confident Senator Hirono will provide meaningful leadership on these important issues. I congratulate her on her new role, and I thank Senator Blumenthal for his continued service to this committee.”

“Senator Hirono has a record of ensuring that federal agencies follow and enforce the law, and I know this subcommittee will continue to flourish under her leadership,” said Blumenthal, who presided over his final subcommittee hearing as chairman this week. “It was an honor to serve as the first chairman of the subcommittee. I appreciate Chairman Leahy’s confidence and the opportunity he gave me to lead this subcommittee.”

A complete description of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action’s jurisdiction can be read online. Additional information about all the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittees is also available online.

June 18: AAA-Fund Annual Reception

Editor’s Note: Facebook Like & Tweet with us as the event nears. Also see our 2013, 2012, 2011 & 2010 (alternate) and 2009 reception posts.

AAAF logo

Bel Leong-Hong * Irene Bueno * Melissa Hampe * Gautam Dutta * Tom Goldstein
“Host Committee in Formation”

PAC Donor

Invites you to
Our 14th annual celebration honoring
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
“When We Vote, We Win”
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Democratic National Committee
Wasserman Room
430 S Capitol St SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
(Metro to Capitol South; see Google Maps)

Suggested Donations

Host: $2,000
Sponsor: $1,000
Friend: $500
Guest: $125 ($100 online by 4/30)
Non-Profit/Public Sector: $100 ($75 online by 4/30)
Student/Young Professional: $55 ($40 online by 4/30)

PAC Donations:
Diamond: $5,000 – GOLD: $3,500 – SILVER: $2,500

Donations will go to AAA-Fund to support its continuing efforts to unite and activate our community.

To RSVP, buy online or contact Lida Peterson (lida@cimpa.org; 703.622.1381)

Paid for by the Asian American Action Fund, 3036 O St NW #Basement, Washington, DC 20007-3114.
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee


AAA-Fund Endorses Swati Dandekar to Make History in Iowa

Editor’s Note: Stay atop Election 2014 here at our blog, at our Facebook & at our Twitter.

AAAF logo

For Immediate Release March 14, 2014

Contact: Gautam Dutta

AAA-Fund Endorses Swati Dandekar to Make History in Iowa

Dandekar would be First Iowa Woman to Win Federal Office and First South Asian Woman Ever in Congress

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, the Asian American Action (AAA) Fund announced their endorsement of Democrat Swati Dandekar for U.S. House of Representatives in Iowa’s First Congressional District. Dandekar is running in an open race to fill the seat of congressman and current Senate candidate Bruce Braley.

“It’s high time Iowa finally elected a woman to Congress. We are honored to support such a dedicated public servant,” said Gautam Dutta, Executive Director of the AAA-Fund. “Swati Dandekar has a proven record of success advocating for Iowans. Her experience fighting for greater educational access and science research to spur economic competitiveness make her an ideal candidate for Iowa. Her unique life story as a first-generation immigrant from the heartland would break new barriers if she were to become the first South Asian female elected to Congress.”

Dandekar holds a bachelor’s in biology and chemistry from Nagpur University and a graduate degree in dietetics from Bombay University in India. She lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband and two sons.


The AAA-Fund is a Democratic political action committee whose goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders on every level of local, state and federal government in America. To achieve this goal, we address the chronic under-representation of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) as campaign volunteers, campaign contributors, and candidates for political office. The AAA-Fund has endorsed candidates across the country.

In Support of Rep. Mike Honda (CA-7)

Rep. Mike Honda at California Democratic Party 2014

This past weekend, the Daily Kos endorsed Mike Honda in his 2014 re-election and received 92% of the California Democratic Party’s votes. We’ve long supported Mike Honda and are proud to help his campaign continue his service to CA-17 & nation.

Actions you can take include

Indian-Americans in Congress.

Here we post the answer to tomorrow’s newsletter’s trivia question.

Dr Amerish “Ami” Bera, only the third Indian American to be elected to the United States Congress.

The 1st Indian-American in the US Congress was Dr. Dalip Singh Saund in 1955.

Answer’ from India Abroad celebrates Indian-American triumph at glittering event.

Obama Nominates Christopher P. Lu for Department of Labor Deputy Secretary

Editor’s Note: The below is a highlight of “President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts“. Chris is a former White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders co-chair, an organization we often publicize and support.

WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Christopher P. Lu, Nominee for Deputy Secretary, Department of Labor

Christopher P. Lu is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, and in 2013, he was also a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy. From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Lu served in the White House as Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary. Previously, in 2008, he served as Executive Director of the Obama-Biden Transition Project. From 2005 to 2008, Mr. Lu served as Legislative Director and then as Acting Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Barack Obama. From 1997 to 2005, Mr. Lu was Deputy Chief Counsel of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Minority Staff). He began his career as a law clerk to Judge Robert E. Cowen on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and as an attorney at Sidley Austin. Mr. Lu was Co-Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from 2011 to 2013. He received an A.B. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

How Should Our Immigration Policy Be Reformed

We proudly announce our 2013 Blogathon winner: Subrata Saha! We congratulate his very thoughtfully writing and impassioned spirit on this topic all-important to our community & readers. His submission is below.

The Whole Truth about US Immigration Detention

My parents immigrated to the U.S. from India. I could go on and tell you about how they are productive, good people, but I’m not going to. Sharing my story won’t help you think about the immigration debate in any real constructive, analytical way. It might make you feel good for a few seconds, but there’s chicken soup for the soul for that. This post is not about feelings. This post is about how should our immigration policy be reformed.

So when the pen touches the paper and proposals are to be produced for lawmakers, how should we do this?

I don’t know. I’m not an expert on immigration. I’m not a social scientist, or an immigration attorney, or someone who knows econometrics very well and can analyze all of the data.

But what I do know is that there are beginning steps in how immigration policy should be reformed. More specifically, these steps are about how we should think about immigration policy. Let’s face it, at this hour, this post, nor others like it, will have any effect on the Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 that is up for debate. What this post instead hopes to do is to get you to think about immigration policy reform in a slightly different way. This will hopefully allow you to think about immigration not just now, but down the line.

(1) Open Your Mind About Immigration

Let’s get rid of all immigration. I mean, hell, why or why not? Let’s just close all of the doors to legal, and to the best of our ability, illegal immigration. Do we even need it? Let’s just subsist on what we got and see how it goes. Is that a bad idea? I don’t know. I can’t predict the future.

Or how about just making it a free for all? Let in whoever wants to come. Give us your tired, your sick, your poor, etc.

The point is: we need to be more broad minded about immigration. By thinking of all sorts of possibility reforms, we think more about the reasons why we do things. This will help us better think about what it is that we really want for our country.

(2) Move Past Thinking about What’s Fair and What’s Not Fair

The government isn’t about fairness. A rich person pays more in pure dollars in income tax than a poor person. As if that’s not enough, a rich person also pays a higher percentage for income tax than a poor person. That’s not fair. But neither taxes nor the government are about fairness. It’s about interests and the betterment of society. On the same token, immigration should not be about fairness either. An illegal immigrant comes to the U.S., works her butt off for years, and is productive in the economy. Would it be fair to grant her amnesty just because of her efforts? Maybe, maybe not. But again, we are not about fairness. The government should think more broadly than simply thinking about fairness. This should be considered when thinking about issues like amnesty or giving people opportunity.

(3) Think Less Like Positional Bargainers

“There’s too much immigration!” “We need more immigration!” This type of attitude gets us nowhere.

Positional bargaining, as discussed in Fisher’s and Ury’s modern classic “Getting to Yes,” is where each side opens with their fixed position on an issue and argues for it without considering underlying interests. The typical example is haggling over price. Sometimes a compromise is reached. And often both parties end up feeling crappy. The authors of “Getting to Yes” instead suggest bargaining on interests.

We haggle too much on immigration, particularly immigration numbers. Get past that and consider what are the real interests of the U.S. What do we really want? What are we really interested in? Having a greater diversity in population? Making sure low-level jobs are fulfilled? Highly-skilled jobs? Trying to market the U.S. as the central place for everyone to try to come?

Positional bargaining also causes us to have blinders. If we are pro-immigration, we are happy that more H-1B visas are available. If we are anti-immigration, we are happy that less H-1B visas are available. But what about the idea that many domestic individuals are qualified for the same jobs that H-1B visa holders are taking up? Or that H-1B visa holders are often underpaid and can often have a seemingly indentured servant relationship with their employer? By focusing less about the numbers and more on interests we can better analyze whether goals of visa holders and the U.S. are being met.

In short, when it comes to immigration policy, think outside the box and think about interests. At best, you can help shape the future immigration policy of our country. At worst, you can have more interesting conversations about immigration reform. And of course, if all else fails, fall back on a chicken soup for the soul story.

– Subrata Saha