12/12/2017

Asian American Action Fund Outraged over Trump Cancellation of DACA

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Program Granting Work Permits to Immigrant Youth to End in Six Months

The board of the Asian American Action Fund is united in its outrage over President Trump’s proposal to end the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which permits undocumented minors and young adults up to the age of 26 to come out of the shadows, apply for college and graduate studies, and hold work permits.
DACA recipients are our friends, neighbors, relatives, and coworkers. According to the Center for American Progress, there are 18,000 AAPIs who applied for DACA status. DACA recipients are serving in the military, as frontline healthcare workers, and as educators. They were brought to America by their parents and this is the only home they have ever known. Because of President Obama’s vision and leadership, many of these children are on their way to fulfilling their potential and becoming productive members of society.
President Trump’s decision to end DACA puts an end to the dreams of the hundreds of thousands of children who received DACA status. More disturbingly, it puts these young Americans, who were brave enough to come out of the shadows, in legal jeopardy, as the government knows their immigration status and where they live.
AAA Fund vehemently disagrees with President Trump’s cruel decision to end DACA and looks to Congress for answers and relief. We promise to hold our elected officials accountable for their actions and treatment of the most vulnerable Americans.

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The Asian American Action Fund (www.aaafund.org) is a Democratic Asian American and Pacific Islander PAC founded in 1999. AAAFund’s goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in every level of local, state and federal government in the United States.



After the flood, rebuilding

There is the moment and moments, or the days and weeks of fire or water or manmade disaster. In that time, in my experience, many people behave admirably and humanity shines. Everyday people become outstanding heroes. They bear the loss of electricity and water remarkably well. It’s the aftermath, the time long after the flood lights and news cameras leave. (In Ferguson, on Canfield Lane, one of Mike Brown’s neighbors told me that she had a hard time sleeping because the press was always there.) It is the future time that reasonable people look forward to and are full of hope that they can expect to be normal and whole again, except that the situation is still different, and there are still holes. The walls of your home are still moldy, and you can’t just patch them up but you still have to live there.

Many people are fortunate to not know how long it takes to rebuild after a storm.

In the moment of Sandy, first responders and medical providers carried babies and patients down 20 flights of stairs. They didn’t and couldn’t carry all the laboratory mice who were being used in potentially life-saving cancer research. They couldn’t take the specimens that scientists had been working on for years. We talk about the lives that were lost, the homes and property that was damaged, but no one thinks about the lives that could have been saved from the decades and hundreds of millions of dollars of research. Many of those primary investigators left.

It was the months and year afterwards, where they couldn’t even see patients, and had to rotate at other hospitals. So the patients flowed, conceivably, or maybe just didn’t show up and prolonged what might have been treatable diseases had they caught them earlier. Stacking the health care safety net system is like stacking the initial rows of cannonballs or molecules. How you place them, what shape, what geometry determines the final shape of the pyramid. That’s how it goes with patient flow.

The photo above is where my husband graduated from residency at NYU Bellevue. The high water mark is 11 feet, taller than any of the graduates or speakers. 5 months later, Hurricane Sandy hit and I was on a campaign in another state. Someone asked me if I was worried for my husband and I said, “He’ll be okay, Bellevue is a fortress and it has backup generators.” And it is and it was. But the backup generators were underground, and they flooded. For a while afterwards, I was slightly obsessed with FEMA.

For all the Congressmembers and Senators who voted no or equivocated and dithered on Hurricane Sandy funding and claimed that the money in the relief package was “pork,” the money was for rebuilding. So that the tri-state area has coastlines with natural defenses against the rising waters due to climate change. As opposed to building houses for low income families or rich people right along the ooast.

Rebuilding and recovering resilience takes a very long time. We should let people go on with their lives, but instead, people who have been lucky to escape with their lives, but who have lost their homes and memories are forced to tabulate everything that they have lost for insurance adjusters. My friend who lost her home in a fire told me, “It felt like reliving the trauma.”

All this is to say, people will be hurting for months if not years after. Their lives will be altered. Limited English proficient folks sometimes get overlooked because they don’t understand how to apply for grants or loans. OCA Houston and AAPI nonprofits have set up an AAPI Harvey Relief Fund. Please give.

Why Asians Need Affirmative Action

Editor’s Note: Samantha Wu-Georges is a sophomore studying at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is our Media Intern for the summer of 2017.

When I applied for college two years ago, my family warned me: admissions officers have higher standards for Asian applicants.  If you want a spot at a top school, they cautioned, you’re going to have to study harder, get better grades, and have higher test scores.  Turns out, they were right.  A widely publicized Princeton Study suggests that  “applicants of Asian heritage experience an apparent admissions disadvantage.”  Conversely, the data indicate that being African-American or Hispanic helps admissions chances.  However, despite being a recent member of the group that affirmative action supposedly hurts the most, I staunchly support affirmative action policies.

I don’t blame my fellow Asian students for filing complaints against university affirmative action and holistic admissions approaches.  In fact, I agree that it’s not fair to discriminate against us based on our race.  Nonetheless, consider that such policies, while highly imperfect, may be our only hope at achieving college campuses that represent the actual racial makeup of our country.  While I find the existence of race-based implicit quotas unsettling, what makes me more uncomfortable is our nation’s history of systemic racism and disadvantaging certain minorities.

People of color have historically been discriminated against in America, including Asian Americans.  Before affirmative action, Asians were excluded and can be again.  Former laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and Asian Exclusion Act curtailed Asian immigration and, consequently, education in this nation.  Affirmative action combats this discrimination by conferring opportunity to underprivileged students.  The policies continue to help low-income Asian Americans and Southeast Asians today.

Affirmative action protects Asians by ensuring that we are admitted to colleges at all.  We should not turn our backs on the policies that gave our community education and employment opportunities.  Instead, we should support them so that underprivileged students can continue to benefit.  As a student, I know my education is enriched by belonging to a diverse student body. College admissions offices recognize the value of including applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds–we should, too.

Affirmative Action Helps Not Harms Asian Americans

Given few are reading any of the tons of great articles, I summarize why affirmative action helps Asian Americans:

It’s why we’re even in American universities at all. We weren’t a presence before it (controlling for immigration differences). Those in power seek to keep it, namely rich whites.

It’s how we help our own community. Not all Asian Americans are privileged Chinese in suburbs, even if many of the highest profile ones are. Data disaggregation will prove it.

It’s a minimum not a maximum. Those playing the zero sum game (i.e. that Asians are limited when unmerited non-AAPI get quotas) are wrong because admissions isn’t straight-race-based. Admission’s complexity allows all to frame the argument for their own purposes.

It’s how we resist and empower our own. We gain better admissions with affirmative action. It’s how we integrate with this nation instead of being the perpetual foreigner. It’s how we gain the power which those who already hold it want.

Once again, affirmative action empowers Asian America and no rich whites funding surreptitious social media campaigns and non-profit shells will victor in their disinfo/influence campaigns. Asian America rising speaks out in every way against others hijacking us for others’ purposes.

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