Congressman Lieu Starts ‘Illegitimacy Clock’ on Trump

Congressman Ted W. Lieu of Los Angeles, Calif., announced today that he has started a “Cloud of Illegitimacy Clock” on Donald Trump’s continual violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution of the United States of America.

“The second after Donald Trump took the oath of office, he violated the Constitution and continues to do so,” said Lieu.

“The Framers wrote Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution to prevent foreign influence over our elected officials.  It mandates that no person holding office ‘shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever from any King, Prince, or foreign State.’

“While holding office, Mr. Trump will receive—by virtue of his continued interest in the vast and global Trump Organization and his stake in hundreds of other entities—a steady stream of monetary and other benefits from foreign powers and their agents.  This is illegal.

“Trump can stop his illegal behavior by divesting his global business interests or putting them into blind trusts.  He refuses to do so.  Not only is he violating the law, he is explicitly putting his financial interests and those of his family above the interests of America.  Trump is not making America First, he is making America Second.

“As a Member of the House Judiciary Committee, I will do everything I can to hold Trump accountable.  My first action is the creation of a Cloud of Illegitimacy Clock that keeps track of the seconds, minutes, hours, and days that Trump is operating outside of the law.  (Click here to access the Illegitimacy Clock.)  At some point, the Clock is going to catch up to Trump.  For now, Trump appears to be taking the position of former President Richard Nixon that ‘when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.’  How did that work out?”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal: ‘Our movement is stronger than hate’

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington State posted a note on Facebook today about her background as an immigrant, the new President, the movement, and the march.

I am not in Washington, D.C. today for Trump’s inauguration ceremonies. Instead, I’m back home in my district, having conversations with people who are fearful about their futures in this country. President Trump poses an enormous threat to millions of Americans. It can get overwhelming to think of all the damage he and his administration could inflict.

On Saturday, I’ll be marching in the women’s march in Washington, D.C., breathing in the power and solidarity of diverse people drawn together by the core belief that we matter. Our voices matter.

Wherever you are, I hope you join a march. I hope you link arms with the men and women around you, and remind yourself of what we are fighting for: our vision for a just America that lifts everyone up together. This movement that we’ve built together became stronger through struggle. It’s stronger than hate or fear. We’re going to fight for what we know is right: a more just, welcoming America where anyone can live their version of the American dream, no matter who they are or where they’re from.

Read her full message here.

Rep. Mark Takano: ‘Why I’m not attending the inauguration’

Congressman Mark Takano of Inland Empire, California, today shared with his constituents his reasons for not attending the inauguration.

Tomorrow I will not be attending the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. Many of you expressed support for that decision, others less so. Either way, you deserve an explanation.

My absence is a statement — to the President-elect, to the country, but most of all to you — that Donald Trump’s victory does not vindicate his past. Throughout his professional life, during the campaign, and now in his transition, Donald Trump’s words and actions are inconsistent with fundamental American values and beneath the grand office he will assume. They threaten the democratic cultural norms that are essential to our republic.

His electoral legitimacy is not in question. Tomorrow Donald Trump will be sworn in as our 45th president in a peaceful transition of power. His moral and ethical legitimacy are another story.

Read his full post on Medium.

Advancing Justice Applauds Dismantling of Special Registration, Urges Continued Vigilance on ‘Muslim Registry’

Asian Americans Advancing Justice today relayed a U.S. Department of Homeland Security announcement that it will publish a regulation to rescind the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) program.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice applauds advocates and the Administration for taking this critical step to protect Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities who President-elect Trump has vowed to place on a “registry” based on the false and biased assumption that people of a particular religion or nationality pose a greater national security risk and should be subject to racial and religious profiling.

Enacted in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bush-era program called NSEERS has been roundly criticized, even by internal federal government watchdogs, as being ineffective as an anti-terrorism tool.

As a result of NSEERS, over 83,000 boys and men who held non-immigrant visas from 25 Muslim-majority countries were required to register and 13,000 were placed into removal proceedings.  Yet not a single known terrorist conviction resulted from this blanket policy, which detained immigrants, tore families apart, and cut short educational opportunities.

Among the advocacy efforts in support of the NSEERS rescission was a letter to President Obama signed on November 22, 2016 by nearly 200 human rights, civil liberties, education, social justice, and inter-faith organizations; a letter by Members of Congress on the same topic and a petition by DRUM and Moveon.org with over 135,000 signatures.

“The NSEERS program has been rightly compared by both supporters and opponents to the racially hostile Executive Order 9066, which led to Japanese American internment during World War II, where innocent people including mostly U.S citizens were incarcerated solely on the basis of their national origin,” said Laboni Hoq, Litigation Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.

“We are encouraged that the Obama administration exercised leadership in taking steps to prevent this dark period of our history from repeating, and we will take the baton and do the same in the coming days.”

“We stand ready to oppose any policies that target or profile AMEMSA communities, which the new Administration may put in place of NSEERS. Regardless of how such policies are packaged, their discriminatory anti-Muslim intent has been well-established by the President-elect’s campaign rhetoric, that was intended to undermine our bedrock Constitutional commitment to religious pluralism and divide us as a nation,” said Elica Vafaie, Staff Attorney for National Security and Civil Rights at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – ALC.

“The strong and effective advocacy efforts of AMEMSA communities, civil rights organizations and our allies in the past month illustrates how much stronger and more organized we are today than we were 14 years ago when NSEERS was initiated,” said Megan Essaheb, Assistant Director of Immigration and Immigrants’ Rights at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC.

Hillary Clinton: ‘Thank You’

From Hillary:

Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans.

This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I’m sorry we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.

But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together—this vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energized campaign. You represent the best of America, and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life.

I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it too. And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort. This is painful, and it will be for a long time. But I want you to remember this: Our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love—and about building an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted.

We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America—and I always will. And if you do, too, then we must accept this result—and then look to the future.

Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.

Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things—the rule of law, the principle that we’re all equal in rights and dignity, and the freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these things too—and we must defend them.

And let me add: Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear: making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top; protecting our country and protecting our planet; and breaking down all the barriers that hold anyone back from achieving their dreams.

We’ve spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American Dream is big enough for everyone—for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities.

Our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will.

I am so grateful to stand with all of you.

I want to thank Tim Kaine and Anne Holton for being our partners on this journey. It gives me great hope and comfort to know that Tim will remain on the front-lines of our democracy, representing Virginia in the Senate.

To Barack and Michelle Obama: Our country owes you an enormous debt of gratitude for your graceful, determined leadership, and so do I.

To Bill, Chelsea, Marc, Charlotte, Aidan, our brothers, and our entire family, my love for you means more than I can ever express.

You crisscrossed this country on my behalf and lifted me up when I needed it most—even 4-month-old Aidan traveling with his mom.

I will always be grateful to the creative, talented, dedicated men and women at our headquarters in Brooklyn and across our country who poured their hearts into this campaign. For you veterans, this was a campaign after a campaign — for some of you, this was your first campaign ever. I want each of you to know that you were the best campaign anyone has had.

To all the volunteers, community leaders, activists, and union organizers who knocked on doors, talked to neighbors, posted on Facebook—even in secret or in private: Thank you.

To everyone who sent in contributions as small as $5 and kept us going, thank you.

And to all the young people in particular, I want you to hear this. I’ve spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks—sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too.

This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It’s always worth it. And we need you keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives.

To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion.

I know that we still have not shattered that highest glass ceiling. But some day someone will—hopefully sooner than we might think right now.

And to all the little girls watching right now, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.
Finally, I am grateful to our country for all it has given me.

I count my blessings every day that I am an American. And I still believe, as deeply as I ever have, that if we stand together and work together, with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions, and love for this nation—our best days are still ahead of us.

You know I believe we are stronger together and will go forward together. And you should never be sorry that you fought for that.

Scripture tells us: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”
My friends, let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart. For there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.

I am incredibly honored and grateful to have had this chance to represent all of you in this consequential election. May God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

Hillary Clinton: ‘As President, I will stand with AAPIs’

ProgressAAPI

This is from an opinion piece originally published on NBC Asian America.

When I heard it, I couldn’t believe  it.

This past week, at a debate in Illinois between the two candidates for the U.S. Senate, Representative Tammy Duckworth — whose mother is Thai and late father was American — mentioned that her family had served in the American military since the Revolutionary War. Tammy carried on that tradition; she became a pilot for the U.S. Army, was deployed to Iraq, and lost both her legs when insurgents shot down her  helicopter.

The correct answer to Congresswoman Duckworth’s comment about her family’s military service is, “Wow. That’s amazing. Thank you, and thanks to your family.”

Instead, her opponent, Senator Mark Kirk, said, “I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”

In other words: you can’t have Thai heritage and trace your American…

View original post 838 more words

Hillary Clinton: ‘As President, I will stand with AAPIs’

This is from an opinion piece originally published on NBC Asian America.

When I heard it, I couldn’t believe  it.

This past week, at a debate in Illinois between the two candidates for the U.S. Senate, Representative Tammy Duckworth — whose mother is Thai and late father was American — mentioned that her family had served in the American military since the Revolutionary War. Tammy carried on that tradition; she became a pilot for the U.S. Army, was deployed to Iraq, and lost both her legs when insurgents shot down her  helicopter.

The correct answer to Congresswoman Duckworth’s comment about her family’s military service is, “Wow. That’s amazing. Thank you, and thanks to your family.”

Instead, her opponent, Senator Mark Kirk, said, “I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”

In other words: you can’t have Thai heritage and trace your American roots back to the start of our nation.

That’s just plain wrong. And sadly, it wasn’t the only racial insult we’ve seen in this election — far from it. Fox News ran a segment that trafficked in the worst racial stereotypes of Asian Americans.

Donald Trump has mocked the accents of Chinese and Indian people in his speeches. More broadly, he promises to round up and deport immigrant families, ban Muslims from entering the United States, and ban immigration from countries like the Philippines. He even said he might have supported interning Japanese Americans during World War II. Does he not understand how shameful that policy was for our country?

It’s 2016. We need to do better. And if I’m elected president, we will.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing racial group in America. I want to make sure they — and all Americans — have every opportunity to get an education, get a good job,    support their families, and contribute to their communities. And I want to bring us together to erase   the prejudice, ignorance, and racism that still touches too many people’s   lives.

Here are three ways my administration will do that.

First, we’ll build an economy that works for everybody, not just those at the top. That means closing the wage gap. Right now, AAPI women earn only 86 cents for every dollar earned by a white   man.

That’s wrong, and we should make it right. We’re also going to help AAPI-owned businesses, which employ nearly 3 million Americans. My plan will cut red tape to make it easier for people to start businesses and access capital. And whenever small businesses experience predatory behavior and discrimination at the hands of people like Donald Trump, we’ll give them the tools they need to fight back.

Second, we need to be strong in the world — not just militarily but also through diplomacy. That means maintaining strong ties with our allies and friends, especially those in the Asia-Pacific region, which is increasingly vital to the world’s economic and security. As Secretary of State, President Obama and I embarked on a “pivot to Asia,” because we knew our relationships there would help us address many important issues, like managing our relationship with China, working with our allies to address the threat from North Korea, and sharing intelligence with Muslim nations in Asia, which   helps keep us safe. As I saw repeatedly at the State Department, the cultural diversity we enjoy here at home is a huge asset to that  work.

Third, we need to build a community of respect here at home. Our country was built on the backs of generations of hard-working immigrants. We need to ensure immigrant families can stay together   today. In the Senate, I worked hard to address the family visa backlog, 40 percent of which is made   up of applicants from the Asia-Pacific region. Right now, it takes a U.S. citizen at least 12 years to get  a visa for a brother or sister in India. Some Filipino Americans have been waiting for family visas for more than two decades.

That’s far too long. I’ll introduce legislation for comprehensive immigration reform that will shorten these timelines. It will also provide undocumented individuals with deep ties to our communities a pathway to citizenship and chance to stay in America. I know this is an issue on the minds of many AAPI families, and I intend to get it  done.

Families with roots in Asia have been part of this nation’s history since our founding. We ought to embrace the cultural heritage and economic vitality that they bring to our nation. During my husband’s administration, we launched the first-ever White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, because we recognized that we could do a better job of serving the AAPI community. As president, I’ll reauthorize that initiative. And I’ll continue to stand with the AAPI community, because I believe that we’re stronger together.

When I launched AAPI for Hillary in January, I talked about a remarkable young woman named  Cheska Perez. Her father brought her to America from the Philippines. He came here on a work visa. Once he lost that job in the recession, their entire family become undocumented.

Cheska didn’t let her status stand in her way. She worked with the ROTC program at her school. She got herself and her siblings enrolled in DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has let young people like Cheska indefinitely stay in the United States. Now she’s working as a deputy data director for our  campaign.

Cheska just wants what so many AAPI immigrant families have discovered in America over the centuries: a chance to build a better life for themselves, and to apply their God-given talents to making America even greater. And she knows that her fate — and that of so many undocumented individuals like her — rests on the outcome of this  election.

On November 8th, we all have a chance to help her realize that dream.

Advancing Justice AAJC and APIAVote Provide In-Language Hotline for Asian American Voters

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The 2016 election season is coming down to the wire on both national and local elections.  Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice | AAJC) and Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote), two organizations that are committed to the cause of voter protection and education, are hosting an in-language hotline for Asian American voters.

From now until Election Day on November 8th, volunteers will be available in eight languages – English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, and Tagalog – to help those with questions about voting, how to find a polling place, or to learn about any ID requirements.

Voters can seek answers to their questions through the Advancing Justice | AAJC and APIAVote hotline, 1-888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683). Learn more at http://www.apiavote.org/hotline.

“Every eligible voter in the United States should be able to cast a ballot and participate in our democracy,” said Mee Moua, executive director and president of Advancing Justice | AAJC. “Ensuring that all voters know their rights at the polls is critical to their participation this November. As Asian Americans continue to grow in population, and turn out to vote, we must do everything we can to support their participation and make visible their political impact.”

Although officials in numerous states have proposed measures that would increase the efficiency and inclusiveness of voting procedures, introducing measures such as automatic voter registration, others have regressed in the voting process. New voting restrictions in 14 states have had a significant impact on minority voters. Courts have successfully struck down some of these regulations, but the threat to equal access to the ballot box remains.

Given that this year’s election will be the first without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1964, it’s essential that voters who have historically faced discrimination at the polls can fulfill their civic duty with in-language assistance or help at the polls and without fear of intimidation.

“As we head into to the first presidential election since 1965 without the full protection of the Voting Rights Act, the 888-API-VOTE hotline is even more critical to protect and serve our electorate,” said Christine Chen, Executive Director of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote). “This election hotline not only provides AAPI voters essential in-language assistance, but it also ensures that all voters, regardless of proficiency in English, will have equitable access to the ballot box.”

APIAVote has also launched in-language resources, including in-language voting information online in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese and other resources. Five voting rights videos have been also created in these languages, as well as English to highlight various scenarios voters may face at the polls—and their rights in these situations.

Based on polling information the groups cited that turnout of limited English proficient voters in 2012 was 9 percent lower than English proficient voters.  Asian Americans can face a number of barriers contributing to lower levels of civic engagement in our community.  These challenges include lack of access to voter resources, discriminatory voting laws and practices, language barriers, and unfamiliarity with the voting process and political candidates.

The groups’ voter education and protection efforts across the country are helping to amplify this hotline and to ensure equity for the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities at the ballot box.