09/25/2017

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.



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.

My Asian American Story

A friend asked me what my AAPI experience and history were. The simple query freed me to tell what I’ve wanted to for my own spirit but also my ideal of story telling as a superior method of empowering and inspiring others to speak out about their #NoAlternativeFacts experiences. The recently explosively popular and deservedly so story “My Family’s Slave” by Pulitzer Prize-winning Asian-American journalist Alex Tizon is inspiration for telling our tale. He is also the author of Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self which is directly relevant to the AAAFund’s work to empower our community and our blog’s years-long attention to the minority myth. I dedicate my story-telling here to him.

I grew up unwares of AAPI issues or identity. In suburban New Jersey with a 2% Asian town, race was neither identity nor problem as we were all friends. A safe existence in a safe area so nothing to say about childhood identity. Fast forward to college. While CMU has an infamously apolitical bend, its Asian population was 28% & thus the easiest identity to which I attached firmly. Through the big 3 “A” (Asian) orgs, ASA, TSA, and ACF, I spent not only my whole social but also existential time in the world of Asian identity. It however was largely social so I invested nothing political, charitable, cause-wise, or community-wise. It was just for fun. I finished college and started work. Six years of crummy underpaid (50% of industry average) jobs made me seek an outlet for being so uneducated in the practical workplace. After all that academia, harmed by being too meek to get what I wanted, it was time to compensate. After the inspiring 2008 elections, I volunteered with the organization which gave me all of my then political education, Asian American Action Fund (AAAFund), to write about religion and politics, chosen to be a combination of 2 already infamously controversial fields. Writing reflectively, speaking truth to power, hearing from the formerly religious, and seeking truth eventually led me to quit Christianity in early 2017. My values disallow crass, naked, unrepentant sinning while preaching holiness which perversely justifies and tolerates sin, a hypocrisy opposing so many ideals. Politics is merely 1 defiant albeit widely visible expression of that hypocrisy. I’ve come to feel how conservative church-brainwashed Asian-Americans Christians forfeit personal values and identity to gain short-term acceptance, compassion, and belonging. I’m now emotionally secure enough to rise above whitewashing as belonging.

I quickly awoke to how historical and my childhood media and cultural values formed my appearance and self. Wanting to know my identity’s twists and turns, past and present has become a daily consuming work. In 2010, I became AAAFund’s Executive Editor which let me professionally express my desire to empower alike awoke folk. I’ve spent hours weekly since then on this work. I thank my wife for supporting me in this time. It’s all-consuming because there is no other Asian American political news source. AAAFund’s name has the word “Action” in it beacuse we’re not innocent witnesses like bystander journalists idly scratching out a story, we unabashedly advocate the truth, name names (we’re legally a PAC thus our core purpose is to fund candidates and campaigns), taking sides, and taking action. While journalists currently experience a life-or-death struggle over their purpose and the truth, we’re able to take decisive action. We seek not to be neutral but to be truthful and the truth is partisan. It has always been, just now, it’s back for revenge. I feel this is a fuller expression of my citizenship, humanity, and skills.

I recently became a parent to a son and a daughter which accelerate the urgency of seeking joy, contentment, and self-awareness. This work knows no end, but I’m pleased to live in this era of rapidly accelerating attention to AAPI identity. I’m grateful for my position in life and this work to understand my identity is deeply gratifying. Hopefully my story inspires someone to do the same.

For more, read #myasianamericanstory or @myamericanstory & follow our @aaafund.

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