January 2020 - In This Issue:

Movement builders
Last week as part of our biennial Leadership, Empowerment, and Advocacy Fellowship (LEAF) program, we convened leaders of Southeast Asian American-serving organizations across the country to discuss strategies to coordinate on civic engagement, education, immigration, and the 2020 Census. We look forward to spending this year and beyond building with these inspiring advocates.  

Denouncing Cambodian American deportations
Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Prisoner Support Committee, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, Southeast Asian Freedom Network, and Vietnamese Anti-Deportation Network denounced the deportations of over 25 Cambodian Americans. The groups also called for the passage of the New Way Forward Act in order to restore due process protections back to the immigration system and allow previously deported individuals an opportunity to come home.

Congress Introduces the New Way Forward Act
In December, US House Reps. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, Pramila Jayapal, Karen Bass, and Ayanna Pressley introduced the New Way Forward Act . The bill restores due process rights back to the immigration system, including provisions giving immigration judges more discretion in deportation proceedings. Key components of the bill include the below provisions:
  • Eliminating mandatory detention
  • Ending deportations based for certain convictions
  • Restoring judicial discretion for immigration judges
  • Creating a five-year statute of limitations for deportability
  • Establishing an opportunity to come home for certain deported individuals or non-citizens in deportation proceedings

Affordable Care Act repeal fight continues in federal court
SEARAC joined others around the country in an effort to #ProtectOurCare by sharing why the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is important. Its passage under the Obama Administration led to uninsured rates among SEAAs to be cut in half. However, in December, a federal court ruled in favor of a lawsuit striking down the ACA's individual mandate as unconstitutional, and in January, the Supreme Court rejected a petition to fast-track consideration of this lawsuit. This delay until after the 2020 elections, safeguards the Trump Administration and its allies from the public scrutiny of possibly leaving millions uninsured, including many SEAA families and low income communities.

Supreme Court allows public charge rule to move forward
Last month, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision  along ideological lines to uphold the Trump Administration's "public charge" regulation. Public charge forces millions of immigrant families to choose between protecting their immigration status or accessing critical, and oftentimes lifesaving health, nutrition, and housing benefits for their families. Click here to read SEARAC's full statement and click here to learn more about what this rule means.

Census factsheets now available in Southeast Asian languages
Last month, SEARAC launched our official 2020 census website tailored to helping get out the Southeast Asian American (SEAA) count. SEARAC partner organizations, census ambassadors, and community members looking to get involved can find data and resources including top SEAA state spotlights, hard-to-count data and maps, and social media shareables to share the importance and impact of the census on the community. Go to to pledge to be counted, sign up to be a SEARAC census ambassador, and to learn how you can help ensure a full and accurate count of the SEAA community in 2020.

Share your story
Do you have a story you want to share about being a Southeast Asian American young person? The child of Cambodian refugees and survivors, Elizabeth Kuo at Claremont Graduate University wants to hear from you for her project on SEAAs' high school experiences. Participants must be between ages 18-30 and have not completed high school. Contact for more information.

Meet our newest staffer
We are happy to introduce the newest official member of the SEARAC family, Gina Le. As part of our growing field team, Gina will be supporting our partnership engagement, training programs, and convenings. Gina has also penned the latest addition to our staff blog. In " What it means to be Vietnamese," Gina explores the influence and impact of conservative political ideology on Vietnamese Americans and offers  chúc Tết for the community.

Job opportunity
Freedom Inc. has an immediate full-time  Khmer domestic violence/sexual assault project coordinator for youth. The coordinator will be responsible for providing support services and advocacy to Khmer victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Dane County, WI. Click here for more information.

Alzheimer's study recruitment
Researchers at Michigan State University in Grand Rapids, MI, are recruiting elders for a "Preventing Alzheimer's with Cognitive Training" (PACT) study. The study's aim is to see whether playing computerized cognitive training games can prevent the onset of mild cognitive impairment and dementia in people age 65 and older. To learn more information, contact Arthur at

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