August 2018 - In This Issue:

Cambodian deportations
Thirty more Cambodian immigrants were  deported this month, following the removal of more than 40 community members earlier in the spring. These ongoing deportations follow Trump Administration sanctions pressuring the Cambodian government to accept more deportees. Removals will likely continue in this aggressive fashion as Cambodia continues to fe el the pressure of sanctions. If you have a deportation order, and are asked to report to ICE in the next few weeks, call (415) 952-0413 to talk to a lawyer and e-mail The next round of raids has already begun, and  ICE is reported to carry out more arrests over the next few weeks. Additional resources available at
Class action lawsuit on the unlawful arrests of Cambodians
Following the biggest roundup of Cambodian immigrants for deportation last year, our partners at  Advancing Justice-Los Angeles filed a lawsuit to challenge the indiscriminate detention of Cambodian community members with old criminal convictions. This month, a federal judge ruled that the lawsuit could move forward as a class action, meaning that hundreds of Cambodians across the US could stand to benefit from protections, including an end to unjustified detention. Click  here for more information.
CA pardons
California Gov. Jerry Brown recently  issued 36 pardons for individuals in California, including three Southeast Asian American community members facing deportation to Cambodia. Among those benefiting from these pardons are Phal Sok and Vanna In--advocates within SEARAC's network who have been fighting for their cases the past year. While pardons do not guarantee that an immigrant's deportation order will be dropped, it helps build a strong case.  SEARAC's California office remains engaged with partners at  Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus in support of  AB 2845, the "Pardon and Commutations Reform Act," a bill that would increase transparency and accessibility for the pardon and commutations process in California. Specifically, this legislation would create an expedited process for pardon applications when there is an urgent issue, such as a pending deportation. This week, AB 2845 passed out of CA's state Senate with 24 votes in favor. If you live in California, now is the time to call Gov. Brown to support this measure!

Census 2020

Fighting for our right to be seen
SEARAC launched our Census 2020: SEAAs Count campaign in late July to address proposed changes to the 2020 census. Our goal was to submit 1,000 individual and 50 organizational comments from the Southeast Asian American community. We let the US Department of Commerce know that our communities did not want the addition of an untested, unnecessary citizenship question but that we wanted expanded race and ethnic categories. In less than two weeks, our community showed up BIG and bold with more an 800 individual and 50 organizational comments! Thank you for fighting with us as we continue to protect our right to be seen and counted. 


Harvard lawsuit updates
SEARAC joined an amicus brief filed by the  Asian American Legal Defense Fund (AALDEF)  in opposition to a recent lawsuit claiming bias against Asian American applicants in Harvard's admission process. This lawsuit, led by Students for Fair Admissions, seeks to dismantle affirmative action policies based on unfounded claims on the use of "racial quotas." Read SEARAC Executive Director Quyen Dinh's recent  essay against admissions policies that reduce students to mere numbers .


Youth Power Summit
This month, SEARAC's Boys and Men of Color Coordinator Gabriel Garcia attended the Youth Power Summit, a four-day event in Davis, CA. Designed to empower hundreds of youth from across California, the summit brought together young activists and facilitated their understanding of the connections between state policies and the experiences of their communities. The summit included a day of advocacy at the California State Capitol on Aug. 13.
SEARAC worked with Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) and Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries (FIRM), and members of SEARAC's Asian American and Pacific Islander Coalition Helping Achieve Racial and Gender Equity (AAPI CHARGE) coalition, to bring their youth to this event. Participants included seven youth from EPIC's Pacific Islander Leaders of Tomorrow (PILOT) Institute, a culture-based and community-focused leadership empowerment and development program.
In preparation for the advocacy day, Gabriel worked with EPIC's youth to help them address the lack of representation that Pacific Islanders experience in the media, the classroom, and in politics. After their first meeting at the California State Capitol, Angel Halafihi, one of the PILOT youth currently attending UCLA, said, "We need more of our Pacific Islander youth here to tell their narrative."
Their stories mirrored the findings from our California Asian American and Pacific Islander Youth Assessment in which 84% of Samoan youth respondents reported not having classes that taught them about their racial and ethnic history, culture, and identity. During their legislative visits, EPIC's youth proposed expanding ethnic studies curricula as a solution to the cultural invisibility that far too many of California's diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander students experience in the classroom.


August 2018 community call
SEARAC hosted a community call yesterday, when we shared updates on the recent California pardons, myths and facts about the White House 'public charge' rule, and our ongoing work toward a full and fair census. For those who were unable to attend in real time, click the video link below to get up to speed.

SEARAC August 2018 Community Call
SEARAC August 2018 Community Call


Work with SEARAC
SEARAC continues its search for a full-time Immigration Policy Advocate to lead our national advocacy initiatives.  The ideal candidate will have experience in issues affecting SEAA communities and other communities of color. He or she will also be able to execute legislative and community awareness campaigns effectively, as well as  work  productively in coalitions and partnerships. Click here for details.

Apply for our board
We are also accepting applications to serve on our national executive board, beginning in November 2018. We are seeking people with a wide range of  backgrounds and skills that could support SEARAC's strategic thinking, programmatic development, and fiscal responsibility . This is a particularly wonderful opportunity for someone who has a strong understanding of the Southeast Asian American community, and is passionate in uplifting issues that impact our community members.  Click  here  for more information, including the  board   application  form.  The deadline for submissions is Sept. 21, 2018.

AAPI health conference

On Sept. 24, 2018 , the Center for the Study of Asian American Health (CSAAH) at NYU School of Medicine's Department of Population Health and the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) will be cohosting the Ninth Biennial Asian American (AA), Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (NHPI) Health Conference. This year's event is entitled " Dismantling Stereotypes: Changing the Narrative ." Interested individuals can register here.

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. 
Find out more at