March 2018 - In This Issue:

LAT alumna Sina Sam

Congratulations to LAT alumna, SEARAC advocate, and Formerly Incarcerated Group Healing Together (FIGHT) leader Sina Sam for being selected to serve as the first female Cambodian commissioner on the Commission on Asian and Pacific American Affairs (CAPAA) in Washington State. Sina follows a long legacy of respected Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders representing their communities on the state level. Serving on the civil rights and immigration committee, Sina plans to focus her priorities on elevating refugee, immigrant, and intergenerational community work, while bringing more resources to families and community members impacted by deportation. 


Omnibus spending bill expands ICE budget
Democrats fought and won important provisions to protect immigrant communities, including no increase in interior deportation agents, no defunding of sanctuary cities, no increase in the number of detention beds, and more overall detention oversight. But advocates remain concerned that the additional money will strengthen ICE's ability to target immigrant and refugee communities in many other ways.  Read SEARAC's letter to appropriators explaining why a cut to the overall Department of Homeland Security budget is necessary to protect the Southeast Asian American community from more detentions and deportations.

Oppose a nti-family deportation legislation
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) recently introduced the anti-immigrant bill,  H.R. 4760, Securing America's Future Act. This legislation would take away the ability of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to sponsor their adult children, parents, and siblings, hurting many in the Southeast Asian American community. It would also massively ramp up deportations by further militarizing the border, increasing the criminalization of immigrants, attacking sanctuary cities, and stripping due process protections. Read SEARAC's action alert and remember to share your stories of family immigration by clicking this link.

The Senate discussed several immigration proposals this month in an effort to find a compromise on the DREAM Act. SEARAC issued an  action alert denouncing the Secure and Succeed Act, a proposal that would have drastically cut family-based immigration and undermined protections against prolonged immigration detention.
To protect family reunification, we are collecting stories in the Southeast Asian American community to demonstrate how our families have benefitted from family-based immigration. Please take 5 minutes to share your story by filling out this form. These narratives will help us to defend against attacks on our families.


Saving the ACA
March 23rd marked the eighth anniversary of the day former President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. Since its implementation, the ACA reduced Southeast Asian Americans uninsured rates by half, m eaning that Cambodian, Hmong, Lao, and Vietnamese Americans families are finally getting the preventative and life-saving care they need. Despite the progress, many members of Congress voted more than 70 times to repeal the ACA. Because advocates like you organized to protect the ACA, today we can celebrate the eighth anniversary of the ACA - proof that community voices are powerful!


Fighting false narratives about data disaggregation
The Connecticut state legislature recently held a public hearing on an anti-data disaggregation bill, S.B. 359. If passed, the act would prohibit the Connecticut Department of Education from collecting disaggregated data about the academic performance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students. This legislation would set a dangerous precedent  by institutionalizing new systemic barriers that prevent the most neglected within the AAPI community from being seen, heard, and served. It would also prevent further potential progress to be made that has broad-based, national support from diverse civil rights communities.
Some recent media statements have framed data disaggregation as "racist," "discriminatory," or akin to an "Asian registry" like those that led to the Japanese internment camps during WWII. Passage of this anti-data disaggregation policy would reinforce these inflammatory and false narratives about data disaggregation. It would also prevent respectful dialogue on the true costs and benefits of collecting data, in a way that does not perpetuate unfounded fear.
SEARAC vows to continue fighting back against this dangerous and misleading rhetoric, and demand visibility and recognition of our diverse AAPI students' experiences. Read  NBC's coverage of the bill quoting our executive director, Quyen Dinh. You can also watch a video from a popular MTV show discussing data disaggregation.


Early admissions application deadline for Teach for America
Where will your career take you after graduation? By joining Teach For America, you'll become part of a network of leaders shaping the political, economic, and social future of our country. Start your senior year with a job offer in hand, connect with a vast network of social impact leaders, and access leadership development and paid opportunities available exclusively for early applicants.  It's not too early to launch your career of impact.  Apply  to the corps today.

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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