APIAVote and AAPI Data Release New Data on AAPI Voters in 27 States Ahead of Super Tuesday

Today, APIAVote and AAPI Data are releasing 27 state fact sheets on Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters in advance of the Super Tuesday primary elections.

The fact sheets include the number of eligible AAPI voters in the state, total population numbers, ethnic population breakdown, population growth rates, county breakdown based on AAPI population, and more. They are available for download under “Research” at apiavote.org/2020-State-Fact-Sheets.

“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders undeniably have voting power,” said Christine Chen, Executive Director of APIAVote, “We have seen an increase in participation and enthusiasm from AAPI voters in 2018 and 2019 and are expecting a large turnout in 2020. The fact sheets highlight AAPI voter populations across the nation and we can see how their vote will impact states like California, Minnesota, Texas, Virginia, and Nevada.”

Chen also added, “With Super Tuesday less than a week away, we hope politicians will take note and continue to advocate for and engage with AAPI voters.”

“These data are vital in understanding Asian American and Pacific Islander voters,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, director of AAPI Data, “We know that AAPIs are the fastest-growing racial group in the country and these fact sheets show more precisely where their votes can impact regional and national elections. Politicians should take note, especially with Super Tuesday less than a week away.”

The states included in the fact sheets are Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Helen Zia’s ‘Last Boat Out of Shanghai’ a poignant look at experiences of refugees

Helen Zia’s new book reveals the forgotten mass exodus from one of the most tumultuous events of the 20th Century–China’s communist revolution–and its continued profound impact on global politics today.

Last Boat out of Shanghai chronicles the real stories of people who faced the chaos, frenzy and terror of revolution and catapulted themselves into the unknown of Hong Kong, Taiwan, anywhere in search of safety — including the United States, where they complicate the Chinese American sensibility.

And instead of finding safe haven, many of these migrants found unwelcome attitudes and political hostilities that barred them, much as present-day refugees face hostility, barriers, and violence around the globe.

Their stories of courage, endurance and resilience are finally told and offer important and heartfelt lessons for today.

“Last Boat out of Shanghai” will be released on Jan. 22, 2019, followed by a series of events in the San Francisco Bay Area (Facebook) and around the country, including: Seattle, Portland, NY, Philadelphia, Boston, DC, Chicago, Michigan.

Learn more at HelenZia.com.

New Report Draws Direct Line Between Trump’s Anti-Muslim Agenda and Hate Attacks

South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities are the target of increasing levels of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric in the United States, with record attacks since the election of President Trump in November, 2016, South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) said in a report released today.

The uptick in anti-Muslim attacks runs parallel to the surge in this administration’s anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric.

The report, “Communities on Fire,” documents hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at our communities from Election Day 2016 to Election Day 2017.

SAALT documented 302 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities in the United States, of which an astounding 82% were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. The 302 incidents are a more than 45% increase from the year leading up to the 2016 election cycle, levels not seen since the year after September 11.

SAALT’s report draws a direct line between this administration’s anti-Muslim agenda and increasing attacks, revealing that of the 213 incidents of hate violence documented, one in five perpetrators invoked President Trump’s name, his administration’s policies, or his campaign slogans during attacks.

“Our nation prides itself on the freedom for people of all religious traditions to practice their faith without fear or intimidation,” said Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT.

“However, through its policies and rhetoric, this administration’s incessant demonization of Islam has created an environment of hate and fear-mongering for Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. Deadly shootings, torched mosques, vandalized homes and businesses, and young people harassed at school have animated an acutely violent post-election year. This administration must break eye contact with white supremacy if our nation is to live up to its highest ideals of religious freedom.”

The report also underlines the way intersectionality informs hate – both the identities of victims targeted and the systems that criminalize our communities. Women who identify or are perceived as South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, or Arab were the targets of attack in 28% of the 213 documented hate incidents post-election.

Women who wear hijab or head scarves are particularly vulnerable, accounting for 63% of the documented hate incidents targeting women. The report discusses the intersection of immigration, racial profiling, surveillance, and criminal justice policies that compound against our communities.

“The growth of white supremacist hate groups and mounting attacks on our communities are proof positive that this administration’s anti-Muslim agenda is not making America great, it’s making Americans afraid,” Raghunathan said.

“The daily decay of our democracy can only be repaired by dignity and full inclusion for all Americans, regardless of faith, race, or national origin. SAALT and our allies are going to go the distance to see this demand realized.”

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that elevates the voices and perspectives of South Asian individuals and organizations to build a more just and inclusive society in the United States. SAALT is the coordinating entity of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO), a network of 59 organizations that serve, organize, and advocate on behalf of the South Asian community across the country. http://saalt.org

Jane Kim as Attorney General in ‘America’s Cabinet’


On the eve of President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address, a national network of elected officials 35 years old and younger released a collaborative vision for how America could live up to its promise here at home and around the world.

“America’s Cabinet,” a nonpartisan project of the Young Elected Officials Network(YEO), is made up of a diverse group of 19 officials representing a range off races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations. Representing 13 states, cabinet members include state legislators and city officials from the coasts to the Great Plains.

Svante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca, N.Y. and Director of Youth Leadership Program, People For the American Way Foundation said

“The president’s State of the Union is sure to be filled with policies that have little chance of passing, but these young leaders have bold ideas they’re implementing right now in their own constituencies. They’ve passed legislation in Colorado that feeds more schoolchildren and created programs in Wisconsin that give workers the skills they need to compete. From California to Maine, they’ve moved beyond the partisanship that has become so characteristic of Washington D.C. These are proven leaders.”
Launched at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., members of “America’s Cabinet” shared their vision of the country’s future and how they hope to transform policy debates to improve the lives of all Americans.

Minnesota State Representative Ilhan Omar (Secretary of Homeland Security), who was selected as the Secretary of Homeland Security for America’s Cabinet, said

“As a nation built by immigrants, we must adhere to immigration policies and tactics for immigration control that recognize the strengths that these individuals bring to our nation. Tearing families apart at our border, holding them in overcrowded detention centers without basic human necessities, and preventing people from entire countries from entering the United States makes our country less safe, not more. I want to use America’s Cabinet as a platform to raise the dialogue around these current dangerous and unconstitutional policies that do not reflect the values of our nation and are un-American.”

Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development), who was selected as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said

“Now more than ever, the American people need new, bold leadership. We need leaders with vision who are working to strengthen families and communities in our urban centers, lifting millions out of poverty by empowering and investing in them to rebuild every aspect of their community. As Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for America’s Cabinet, I look forward to meeting the American people to listen to their needs and to discuss new bold policy ideas that will improve the lives of all Americans.”

Jane Kim (Attorney General), who is a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors said

“We must articulate an alternative vision for America to implement policies that correct historic injustices, uphold our democratic rights and expand opportunity for all people.”

Colorado State Senator Dominick Moreno (Secretary of Health and Human Services), who was selected as the Secretary of Health and Human Services for America’s Cabinet, said

“In today’s political climate, it’s so important for young progressive leaders to step up and demand that our country live up to the promise of opportunity and fairness for all. For that reason, America’s Cabinet seeks to move beyond the politics of opposition and derision by offering bold policy proposals in order to create a government that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.”

Michigan State Representative Jon Hoadley (Secretary of Treasury), who was selected as the Secretary of the Treasury for America’s Cabinet, said

“America is ready for a new generation of leadership, and America’s Cabinet is showcasing how young leaders are making a difference across the country right now. Starting today — on day one — America’s Cabinet is offering real policy solutions to challenges faced by Americans every day, both those we’ve faced for generations and those newly created by the Trump administration.”

Wisconsin State Representative David Bowen (Secretary of Labor), who was selected as the Secretary of Labor for America’s Cabinet, said

“This challenging political era demands dedicated leadership focused on real solutions and real people. If no one else will, America’s Cabinet will meet that demand for the American people. I count it an honor being a part of this group of young elected leaders willing to push against the status quo for the sake of our communities, who deserve more.”

Learn more at http://www.pfaw.org/campaign/americas-cabinet/the-cabinet.

Victory for Cambodian Communities in Lawsuit Against ICE

Source: Advancing Justice LA

An Orange County judge has been temporarily stopped the deportation of 92 Cambodian immigrants.

Yesterday Judge Cormac J. Carney granted an injunction that will extend the stay of deportation until at least February 5, 2018, and will remain in place for people who have moved to reopen their old removal orders until their cases are resolved.

The plaintiffs are represented by civil rights organizations Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (Advancing Justice – ALC), Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA), the American Civil Liberty Union, and Sidley Austin LLP.

Last October, Cambodian communities were left devastated as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) carried out the nation’s largest raids on Southeast Asian communities in history. Most of those detained came to the United States as child refugees, escaping the horrors of the Khmer Rouge.

Their deportation orders were a result of mistakes made often as youths navigating life in poor neighborhoods riddled with gang violence. Because Cambodia refused to accept them for deportation, they were released by ICE years or decades ago. Since then, they’ve turned their lives around, becoming spouses, parents, and integral members of their communities.

Many of the plaintiffs have strong avenues to attack their old removal orders based on new legal developments. But ICE has prevented them from doing so by detaining them without notice and transferring them thousands of miles away from loved ones and attorneys. Calling ICE’s actions “deeply troubling,” the court agreed that the plaintiffs deserve an opportunity to challenge their removal orders before being cast out of the country.

“ICE’s campaign of detention and deportation ignores the reality that Cambodian refugees with deportation orders continue making vital contributions to our communities,” said Jenny Zhao, Immigrant Rights Staff Attorney at Advancing Justice – ALC. “As this decision affirms, the government’s actions here offend our basic desire for justice and the Constitution.”

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who co-argued this case, and argued cases in Detroit for Iraqis, Boston for Indonesians, and Miami for Somalis, says: “The court had the same understandable reaction as federal judges in Detroit, Boston and Miami have recently had, pointedly asking why the administration was intent on abruptly removing long term residents without even giving them a chance to show they were entitled to remain here.”

“While the fight is not yet over, we applaud the court’s decision today to keep Cambodian families together,” said Laboni Hoq, Litigation Director at Advancing Justice – LA. “The United States is the only home that most of these refugees have ever known. It is wrong and inhumane for ICE to keep pursuing them for deportation.”

A Call to Action by Jay Hirabayashi, Holly Yasui, and Karen Korematsu

Karen Korematsu (left), Holly Yasui (middle), and Jay Hirabayashi on a panel at the 2013 JANM National Conference. Photo via DiscoverNikkei.org.

A Call to Action: Reject the Shameful Legacy of Japanese American Incarceration and Call Upon the U.S. Supreme Court to Fulfill Its Role as Defender of the Constitution

By Jay Hirabayashi, Holly Yasui, and Karen Korematsu

More than 70 years ago, three cases were heard before the Supreme Court of the United States, challenging the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans. World War II was still ravaging the globe, and the United States was plagued by racism and xenophobia.


Our fathers, Gordon K. Hirabayashi, Minoru Yasui, and Fred T. Korematsu were among the 120,000 persons forcibly removed from the West Coast, deprived of their homes, property, liberty, and livelihoods by a government that claimed that national security superseded the Constitution. They trusted that the courts would fulfill their constitutional duty of asking probing questions about the government’s assertion that incarcerating persons based on ancestry or national origin was justified as a military necessity.

Instead, a Supreme Court majority ruled against our fathers in all three cases, essentially “rubber-stamping” the military’s bald assertion that the mass round-up was reasonable and necessary. In doing so, the Court abdicated its critical role in safeguarding fundamental freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. In contrast, a minority of dissenting Justices stood on the right side of history and rejected the government’s position, including Justice Robert H. Jackson who referred to the majority’s decision in Korematsu v. United States as a “loaded weapon ready for the hand of any authority who could bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need.” Plainly speaking, Justice Jackson meant that without evidence, charges, or trial, an entire racial population could lose their freedom and their rights merely because the government declares them to be a threat to national security.

Hirabayashi, Yasui, and Korematsu were vindicated four decades later when it was found through coram nobis (findings of judicial error) proceedings that the government deceived the Court by withholding evidence that would have exonerated not only the three men, but all persons of Japanese ancestry who were imprisoned behind barbed wire. The evidence included intelligence reports from the Navy, FBI, and the FCC that categorically denied that Japanese Americans had committed any wrong or posed any threat. Other Justice Department memoranda characterized the Army’s claims that Japanese Americans were spying as “intentional falsehoods.” These and other official reports were never presented to the U.S. Supreme Court, having been intentionally suppressed and, in one case, destroyed by burning it.

Today, our country is still infected by racism, xenophobia, and intolerance. And once again, the government is using the invocation of national security to justify imposing a sweeping ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries, resulting in Americans being separated from their families, refugees fleeing war-torn regions being barred from entry despite having been stringently vetted, and American institutions being denied the services of visiting experts and scholars. As President Donald Trump is asserting that Executive Order 13780 is not reviewable by the courts, his claim to unbridled Executive authority is the “loaded weapon” that Justice Jackson predicted.

Fortunately today, we have courageous public officials willing to challenge a President’s unconstitutional overreach, jurists who understand that no President is above the law, and activists protesting the cruel and irrational position of the administration.

The final decision on the travel ban now rests with the U.S. Supreme Court. The government has already asked the Court for a blank check in the matter, arguing that the judiciary should not question the executive branch in matters of immigration and national security.

We will make our voices heard through an amicus brief that we filed on Sept. 18, 2017. But we will not limit our challenge to a legal filing. We’re asking everyone to add their voices to a chorus of opposition against a government that seeks to unravel our true American values of fairness and opportunity for all, due process, and equal justice under the law.

Join us in a campaign to reach across the country to say #StopRepeatingHistory.

Jurists, attorneys, and legal scholars: repudiate the racist underpinnings of the Hirabayashi, Yasui, and Korematsu decisions and to affirm the critical need for searching judicial review of discriminatory government actions. Help us turn up the heat through journal articles, legal community education, research, and other methods.

Educators and activists: teach and inform students and members of your community with more accessible and in-depth learning activities about the incarceration. We have come a long way from a period in our history when most Americans were unaware that the mass incarceration of Americans of Japanese ancestry occurred at all. Today, it is still only a few who know that the government manipulated the outcome of our fathers’ landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases by knowingly presenting  falsehoods and fabrications. We still have much more work ahead of us, especially in connecting the dots between the 1940s incarceration and today’s threats to our civil rights.

Storytellers and artists: create opportunities for stories to be told and retold, images and artifacts to resonate and illuminate the danger of history repeating itself when good people do nothing. There are amazing voices and creators who can command stages, venues, galleries, public and private spaces, and channels for audiences of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life.

Finally, please send this Call to Action to your network of friends and contacts and join hands with other people and causes in the country that are fighting for equality. We must stand together and embrace the different paths toward justice given the numerous and persistent threats and dangers before us.

To paraphrase a passage from President Gerald Ford’s February 19, 1976, Proclamation 4417, which terminated Executive Order No. 9066:

We call upon the American people to affirm with us this American Promise: that we have learned from the tragedy of that long-ago experience forever to treasure liberty and justice for each individual American, and resolve that this kind of action shall never again be repeated.

Sign on to this Call to Action:

See our signatures!


100 Days Later: APA Perspectives on the Trump Administration

The Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (apaba.org) is hosting an evening of dining and discussion on May 18 to reflect on the Trump Administration’s first 100 days.

How have the Trump Administration’s policies affected the AAPI community, and the communities at large? What lessons have we learned from the travel ban, and what are community advocates doing to fight it? How will President Trump’s plans for the Affordable Care Act change health care in America?

Thursday, May 18, 2017
6:00 – 8:00pm
LAPD Headquarters, Deaton Auditorium
100 W. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Dinner will be provided by Park’s Finest.
RSVP online at: http://apaba.org/event-2541209

Panelists at the event include:
· Laboni Hoq, Litigation Director of Advancing Justice-LA;
· Gowri Ramachandran, Professor of Constitutional Law at Southwestern Law School;
· Dr. Sue Kim, Professor at USC Keck School of Medicine;
· Adrienna Wong, Staff Attorney at ACLU Foundation of Southern California; and
· Shirley Sanematsu, Managing Attorney at Western Center on Law & Poverty

This event will also support Dress for Success. The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. You are invited to donate any clean female professional wear or make a monetary donation. Women’s clothing size 16 and up is of particular need.

1.0 CLE credit will be provided. APABA is a State-Bar approved MCLE provider.

Parking is available at Judge Aiso Parking Lot for $3 after 5pm and other nearby lots.

Contact Diana Taing at diana.taing@gmail.com with any questions.

Kal Penn: The administration’s latest actions on immigration

From an email today by Kal Penn and Organizing for Action:

The White House just issued a new version of their earlier travel ban targeting Muslims and refugees. Remember the one that was halted by the courts because it’s almost certainly unconstitutional? Well today, they released an executive order that’s essentially the same dangerous, discriminatory ban as the first one.

The senior policy adviser who helped write the original executive order even said so himself — he promised last week the new ban would have “the same basic policy outcome” as the first one, with only “minor technical differences.”

First, let’s be clear: These bans make our country less safe, not more so. No refugee since 9/11 — when we implemented a new vetting system — has been convicted of domestic terrorism. Neither has any immigrant from the countries that the ban targets. The problems with the first travel ban were neither minor nor technical — the problem was that it fundamentally violated everything we stand for.

That’s exactly what I was thinking when I received a text message from my buddy whose friend’s father had just been turned away from boarding a flight to L.A. because of his Iraqi background. He was traveling to visit his son, a refugee. Unfortunately, my friend’s story was not an isolated incident; it was precisely what our president promised. The thing is, this doesn’t represent who we are.

We all love our incredible country. The opportunities we’ve had as the sons and daughters of immigrants speak to just how great America is. In the days and weeks following the new administration’s un-American executive order, millions of people rallied around the country to turn something awful into something positive. We got together, created fundraisers, offered legal and translation services to refugees, immigrants, and visitors who were stuck in detention limbo, and really showed the world some of the best of who we are. These too, were not isolated incidents. Faith groups got together with each other, student groups rallied, people donated small amounts here and there to crowd-fund massive donations. All of this reaffirmed everything we believe about who we really are as a people. Something special was happening.

We don’t slam the door shut on people because of where they were born or how they worship. We stand up for each other. We want to help.

These bans, walls, and discriminatory, predatory policies are going to require a bigger, more organized response if we hope for a better path forward. We’re going to have to commit ourselves to the effort. But if these first experiences are anything to go by, I know we’re up for it.

OFA is building the fight to protect our core values and our vulnerable communities. If you’re like me and you think the administration’s new version of this ban is yet another kind of unacceptable, then let’s not accept it — join me in this fight.



Kal Penn