Community Spotlight
Preserving the culture of Khmu communities in the US
Khmu National Federation, Inc (KNF) is an organization formed to bring Khmu communities throughout the United States together with the goals of cultural preservation. Khmu people are believed to be the natives of Laos. As a small group of people, they were pushed to relocate to the mountains after colonization. After the Khmu people immigrated to the United States due to the Vietnam War, KNF was formed in 1990 and incorporated as a nonprofit 501(c)3 in 1993.

Currently, there are about 20,000 Khmu people dispersed throughout the major California cities such as Santa Anna/Orange County, Fresno, Stockton, and Richmond, as well as in a few other states including Washington, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and Massachusetts. KNF’s mission is to preserve culture through language, food, music, and art. Through the process of strengthening ties between generations and providing resources, KNF will help address cultural and ethnic barriers.

You can learn more about KNF and their work here.
Rep. Lowenthal introduces resolution recognizing Fall of Saigon
On Apr. 27, Representative Alan Lowenthal introduced a bipartisan House resolution recognizing the 47th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon and the contributions of Vietnamese Americans. The resolution also honors the memory of fallen Vietnamese.
New DHS prosecutorial discretion guidance released
Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released guidance on civil immigration enforcement and the exercise of prosecutorial discretion for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) lawyers. The guidance follows the same national security, public safety, and border security framework seen with the September DHS guidance on prosecutorial discretion. Though the new guidance may provide some opportunities for relief for long-time residents, the OPLA memo explicitly includes language on gangs as an aggravating factor, which was not included in the September memo.

SEARAC is concerned that the language and framework of this guidance continues to criminalize immigrant and refugee communities without adequately addressing the lack of transparency at OPLA or detailing proper accountability and oversight regarding the guidance’s implementation.
US Department of Education extends pause on loan payments
Payments on student loans have been paused by the Biden Administration through Aug. 31. This includes a pause on loan interest rates as well. 
Department of Education releases equity action plan
The US Department of Education is one of the many agencies that have released their equity action plan, aligned to the Biden Administration’s executive order “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” 

The plan lays out priorities for the Department to advance racial equity and support for underserved students, including more equitable funding for Minority Serving Institutions like Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander- serving institutions (AANAPISIs), increasing college access and completion, funding for pre-kindergarten programs, and increasing teacher diversity. 
Equitable Data Working Group shares recommendations 
In 2021, the Biden Administration asked federal agencies to conduct an equity assessment as part of the “Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.” This equitable data working group released their recommendations this month on improving equity in the data collection and management of the federal government. SEARAC is reviewing the recommendations and the implications they may have on data collection for our communities.
Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) introduced
On Apr. 26, Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-02) introduced the Health Equity and Accountability Act (HEAA) of 2022. HEAA is a comprehensive healthcare bill that addresses inequities within the healthcare system. This legislation improves data collection, increases support for culturally and linguistically appropriate health care and mental health services, and expands health coverage. You can read SEARAC’s statement on the bill’s introduction here and learn how you can support HEAA.
CDC recommends 2nd COVID booster for elders and immunocompromised individuals
Following the FDA’s authorization of a second booster, the CDC has approved an additional COVID-19 booster shot for individuals over the age of 50 and people with weakened immune systems to increase their protection from the disease. The second booster can be given four months after the first booster.

The CDC’s recommendations were made using the current data on vaccine and booster effectiveness and the acknowledgement that the severity of COVID infection increases in certain populations, such as elders and immunocompromised individuals. If you or a family member is eligible for a second booster or additional dose, contact the location that set up your previous appointment to schedule your booster shot. If you need to get your booster in a location different from where you received your previous vaccination, there are several ways you can find a vaccine provider. Getting vaccinated against COVID is a safe, easy, and free way to protect ourselves and our communities. 
Biden Administration proposes rule to fix ACA "family glitch"
Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced a proposed rule to improve implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by fixing the “family glitch.” The “family glitch” occurs when employee health coverage for an individual is considered “affordable” under the ACA, resulting in their family members becoming ineligible for premium tax credits. This has resulted in millions of people being unable to use premium tax credits to purchase Marketplace plans. The IRS formally published the proposed rule here, and the public can submit a comment by June 6.
SEARAC in the News
Vox: "The Stop Asian Hate movement is at a crossroads"
Reporter Li Zhou of Vox Media reflects on the Stop Asian Hate movement that formed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the anti-Asian, xenophobic, racist violence that resulted. “Where community exists now but didn’t exist before, that’s an immense accomplishment,” said Tuấn ĐinhJanelle, SEARAC's Director of Field, when asked about what the movement has accomplished -- and where we go from here. Read the full article here.
Thank You
Southeast Asian Student Association at the University of California-Irvine fundraises for SEARAC
We are in deep appreciation to the Southeast Asian Student Association at the University of California-Irvine for selecting SEARAC as its April fundraiser. SASA aims to unite and empower the Southeast Asian Community through a commitment to culture, education, and active political participation. We are proud to be in community with these emerging leaders!
Support AANHPI-serving organizations during Give In May 2022
During the month of May, SEARAC is bringing our community together by being part of the Give In May campaign! We're raising funds and awareness for AANHPI-serving organizations in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

We have a goal of raising $1,000 to support SEARAC's vital work. Click here to make your donation today. You can also help by spreading the word to your friends and family or sharing on social using the hashtag #GiveInMay.
Tell SEARAC your health, education, and/or immigration story
Our stories are our strength. Southeast Asian American communities have shared histories and experiences that form the basis for SEARAC’s advocacy work. We center our community members’ stories of accessing healthcare and education, navigating the immigration system, caring for older adults and loved ones, and expressing our joy through food, music, art, and culture. It is through these stories that we make powerful, lasting change.

SEARAC wants to hear from you! If you have a story about your family’s refugee journey, your experiences with our policy priority areas (health, education, and/or immigration), or your engagement with SEARAC at our summits and training programs, fill out this form and we may use your story in our advocacy on Capitol Hill.
SEARAC is a national civil rights organization that empowers Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese American communities to create a socially just and equitable society. As representatives of the largest refugee community ever resettled in the United States, SEARAC stands together with other refugee communities, communities of color, and social justice movements in pursuit of social equity. 

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