September 2018 - In This Issue:

Supporting minority-serving institutions
A recently introduced bill,  S.3467, The Strengthening Minority-Serving Institutions Act , would permanently extend and increase mandatory funding levels for minority-serving institutions (MSIs), including a $1 million increase in funding for Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs). AANAPISIs are critical to increasing college attendance and retention among SEAA students, who by and large face barriers in accessing higher education. SEARAC is monitoring this bill's progress, especially as MSI funding is soon to expire. Additionally, we continue to call for  higher education provisions  like increases in discretionary funding for AANAPISIs, AAPI data disaggregation, investments in college preparation programs, need-based financial aid, and culturally relevant services that will help SEAA students thrive.

Attacks against educational equity
This week, the Justice and Education Departments opened an investigation into Yale University for alleged racial bias against Asian Americans. Earlier in the month, the DOJ intervened in an ongoing lawsuit against Harvard University by  backing conservative political strategist Ed Blum and his longtime mission of dismantling minority protections. SEARAC  reaffirmed its support for race-conscious admissions policies like affirmative action, which uplifts a broad range of student experiences as a valid and authentic way to gauge one's potential for academic success. SEARAC also joined 35 Asian American groups and higher education faculty in an amicus brief led by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.


APAICS Policy Summit
SEARAC National Policy Director Katrina Dizon Mariategue participated in an immigration panel at the  Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) Leadership Network Inaugural Policy Summit. Moderated by the  National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, the panel also featured speakers from Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJCNational Korean American Service & Education ConsortiumOCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, and  South Asian Americans Leading Together. Among the topics highlighted were the ongoing detentions and deportations of Southeast Asian Americans, lessons learned on what states could do to support immigrant communities in lieu of congressional action, and intersectional issues impacting immigration outcomes including  census and  public charge.
More anti-immigrant legislation
The House of Representatives passed  HR 6691 Community Safety and Security Act, a bill that would expand the definition of a "crime of violence" and make more immigrants vulnerable to mandatory detention and deportation for aggravated felonies. If passed, HR 6691 would drastically expand mass incarceration and increase deportation numbers. SEARAC continues to monitor this terrible policy as it makes its way to the Senate. Read our  statement and action alert shared with community members, and  vote recommendation sent to members of the House prior to the vote that led to its passage.
Trump refugee caps 
SEARAC joined refugee and immigrant activists to denounce the recent White House announcement cutting the refugee admissions cap to 30,000--a historical low. This move builds off of the president's anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies by pitting asylum seekers at the southern border against refugee communities fleeing similar violence and persecution. Read SEARAC's  statement condemning this move and standing in solidarity with refugee communities seeking similar resettlement opportunities provided to them decades ago.


Immigrant health benefits under attack
The Department of Homeland Security released proposed regulation  that would have immigrants choosing between access to critical health, nutrition, and housing programs, and protecting their immigration status. Among the programs included for this "public charge" test are non-emergency Medicaid, supplemental nutrition program (SNAP or foodstamps), Medicare part D low-income subsidy, and housing assistance. The proposal would particularly harm newer low-income immigrants. Read SEARAC's statement  and stay tuned for more information. When the rule becomes available for public feedback, SEARAC will be working with partners to collect 1,000 comments. Click here  for additional analysis and consider submitting questions for an FAQ being created by the Protecting Immigrant Families coalition by clicking here


Partner news
The annual Sons & Brothers camp brings young men of color from across California together for "a week of healing, empowerment and exploring the idea of manhood." In its coverage of the camp, KQED's California Report interviewed Khiyloe Singsay, a Cambodian American young man from Long Beach, CA, and member of the young men's program at SEARAC partner Khmer Girls in Action. Describing the challenges his family faced after arriving to the US as refugees from Cambodia and Thailand, Khiyloe shared how his grandfather didn't know English. "Nor did my dad or my mom, so they would struggle to find food or money," he continued, adding that these widespread struggles lead to gang violence and poverty within his Cambodian community. Read the article and listen to Khiyloe's interview here

Big wins
Yesterday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 2845, which will improve the transparency and accessibility of California's pardon and commutation process and offer more timely avenues of relief for the escalating number of Southeast Asian Americans who are under threat of deportation. Last week, the governnor also approved SB 895, which requires the state to develop a model curriculum that incorporates Cambodian, Hmong, and Vietnamese American refugee histories. These are both significant wins overall for the SEAA community. Stay tuned for our more in-depth official statement, which we'll release early next week. 



Hill briefings
During a pair of congressional briefings, SEARAC joined the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum in launching "Dreams Detained, in Her Words," a groundbreaking  report that includes powerful testimonies from women whose SEAA family members were detained or deported. Women featured in the report shared how their and their families' lives were affected-and continue to be impacted-due to bad immigration policies. Click here to watch the Senate briefing, with opening remarks from Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). 
Census 2020

Community input needed
During SEARAC's August community call, we posed the following question to attendees: "Do you, or anyone you know, have concerns about completing the 2020 census?"

An astounding 85% of participants responded YES! Since an accurate census count is critical to our communities, SEARAC wants to make sure we are providing you with the best, relevant, and factual information. Please take our quick 5-minute survey and share your feedback about the upcoming 2020 census.


Catching up
SEARAC is busy year round, but these last few weeks in particular have seen a flurry of activity. Below is a preview of the latest staff-contributed posts on our official blog

Anna Byon is SEARAC's new Education Policy Advocate.

"Life lessons," Anna writes about the tradeoff between the cultures and norms that students embody at school and those they embody at home.

Gabriel is SEARAC's Boys and Men of Color Coordinator. 

In "Building an AAPI youth movement," Gabriel reflects on helping to lift the voices of California youth through the AAPI CHARGE coalition.

Vina Alexander is SEARAC's fall field and outreach intern. 

In "Language and the Southeast Asian diaspora," Vina emphasizes the importance of creating spaces for immigrants to speak their first language.

Intern with SEARAC
SEARAC has open California, communications, and field and outreach internship opportunities in our Washington, DC, and Sacramento, CA, offices for the Spring 2019 semester (January-May). The application deadline is Nov. 1. Start and end dates are flexible. Read more about the internship descriptions and application requirements here

Fellowship opportunity
Applications are open for Soros Justice Fellowships, which fund outstanding individuals to undertake projects that advance reform, spur debate, and catalyze change on a range of issues facing the US criminal justice system. Prospective fellows can select from three tracks: advocacy fellowships, media fellowships, and and youth activist fellowships. For more information and to apply, click hereYou can also read about this year's cohort here

Census workshop
Do you or anyone you know live in the Seattle area? If so, t he US Census Bureau, in partnership with philanthropy, is hosting a Census Solutions Workshop focused on countering misinformation, learning about benefits to local communities, and brainstorming ideas to ensure a complete and accurate count.   For more information and to register for the workshop, click here.

In case you missed it
This month, SEARAC was featured in two widely shared Facebook video posts that discussed the recent ICE raids on the Cambodian community. AJ+'s coverage of the issue had 600,000 views and 5,800 shares, while the California Immigrant Policy Center's spotlight that we posted to our own home page had 28,000 views and more than 500 shares. Thank you to our community members who are spreading awareness around this under-reported and ongoing issue. 

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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