Community Spotlight
Ge Vang, middle, with his wife and three children.
Ge Vang receives relief from deportation
We send our deep gratitude to community advocates and partners who have been working with Ge Vang, the subject of one of SEARAC’s new deportation PSA videos, to secure relief from deportation. The Hmong American refugee lived with an order of deportation for more than three decades and described in our video how it felt like a nightmare hanging over him and his family. A new article from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press in Minnesota spotlights how these orders of deportation for crimes committed during youth – and for which time has already been served – devastate refugee and immigrant communities.
CA Governor grants Executive clemencies
On Jan. 13, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the latest round of pardons, commutations, and reprieves, including clemencies for Southeast Asian American (SEAA) community members. Pardons may remove barriers to reentry in society and address injustices in our legal system that have led to the disproportionate incarceration of SEAAs. In some cases, pardons may also allow refugees and immigrants, who are at higher risk of deportation due to old convictions, to reopen their deportation cases. Executive clemencies by the governor are meaningful actions that can prevent family separation and further trauma that already exists for SEAAs due to experiences with war, violence, migration, and incarceration.
Free at-home COVID-19 test kits
As of Jan. 19, every household in the United States can receive four free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests. Click here to order your tests, which will ship in late January as supplies become available. Using this government benefit will not affect your social benefits or immigration status. 
Private insurance required to cover at-home COVID-19 tests
Starting on Jan. 15, private health insurance companies will have to cover at-home COVID-19 tests for individuals covered under an individual or group plan. Most consumers can either get these tests paid for up front by their health plan or get reimbursed for the cost by submitting a claim to their plan. Each individual under a plan is entitled to eight tests a month, meaning that a covered family of four can obtain 32 over-the-counter tests a month. State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program programs are currently required to cover at-home COVID-19 tests without for individuals insured under those programs. Visit the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services website for more information.
CDC recommends COVID booster for children 12-17 years old
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly recommends that children 12-17 years old receive the third dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine five months after the primary series. The booster shot is encouraged to help adolescents develop protection against Omicron and other variants. To find a vaccination site, you can call your pediatrician or local health clinic, text your ZIP code to 438829, or use this vaccine finder link to find a clinic that has the child vaccine available. 
Supreme Court blocks vaccine-or-test mandate for businesses 
​​On Jan. 13, the Supreme Court upheld the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, but the justices rejected the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) mandate for employees of businesses with 100 employees or more to fully vaccinate or test weekly. We know vaccines are safe and effective at reducing the severity of COVID-19. They save lives, and they are the most powerful tool we have to fight this pandemic. It is critical we support policies that protect workers, our communities, and ourselves.
CA Governor’s budget expands healthcare access
California Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2022-23 proposed state budget includes significant investments toward universal healthcare coverage, including the expansion of Medi-Cal (California's Medicaid program) to all income-eligible Californians regardless of immigration status. It is estimated that over 700,000 new adults will be eligible for healthcare coverage beginning in 2024. The Governor’s budget also includes critical investments to reform public health data systems, train and certify new community health workers, and support education, prevention, and treatment of youth substance use disorders and school retention.
Request for comments and partnerships for community schools
The Department of Education is seeking comments through Feb. 11 on what to prioritize in full-service community schools. A competitive grant will be available in 2022 to organizations that help to foster elements of full-service community schools or provide services to their communities.
DOE distributes remaining American Rescue Plan funds
Every state agency has received approval of their American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan, and the Department of Education distributed all $122 billion of the funds to all 52 US states and territories. You can view your state’s education plans here
10 million COVID tests sent to schools each month
To better monitor and track COVID-19 cases in schools, the Biden-Harris Administration will increase testing programs and send 10 million tests monthly to schools across the country. This is part of the Administration’s efforts to keep schools safe enough to be open through Spring 2022.
Staff Blog
SEARAC Deputy Director, Katrina Dizon Mariategue, with her daughter and husband
Reflections on sabbatical and workplace sustainability
SEARAC's Deputy Director, Katrina Dizon Mariategue, recently took a ten-week sabbatical from work (a benefit of having been at SEARAC for so many years!) and returned with some thoughtful, deep reflections on her time away and how we can make advocacy and organizing work sustainable for the long-term. "For the first time in years, I allowed myself to take a pause, reflect, and heal."
Scholarship opportunity for AANHPI students
Non-profit organization Foundation649 is offering 4-year, $1,000/year scholarships to Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander students that can be applied to college tuition and expenses! Learn more at and apply by March 1.
SEARAC Board Chair Kabo Yang pictured with SEARAC supporter Jackie Yang, of St. Paul, MN
A special thank you!
SEARAC wishes to express its deepest gratitude to Jaquelyn Yang, a 17-year-old student athlete and a senior at Johnson High School in St. Paul, MN. As part of her senior project, Jackie harnessed the collective power of her community to raise $495 in support of SEARAC’s work to end deportation. “While researching about the risks of Hmong refugees being deported for old convictions back when Trump was president, I came across SEARAC and learned that all Southeast Asian refugees are at risk and have been deported for mainly old convictions,” she said. “I decided to host a co-ed volleyball tournament to raise funds to donate to SEARAC in hopes that it will contribute to help the fight against deportations.” 
Let us know about your upcoming events
If you have an event or campaign that you would like SEARAC to promote to our communities, please fill out this form to let us know! We recommend alerting us to your event at least two weeks in advance of the date to allow time for processing. If you have any questions about your submission, please email
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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