Category Archives: National news

Conference Call on Fellowship and Internship Opportunities for Asian Pacific Youth

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the White House Office of Public Engagement invite you to a nationwide conference call on federal internship and fellowship opportunities for young Americans on Tuesday, December 6th from 4:00-5:00pm EST.   Program representatives will explain how to apply for these unique opportunities, when application materials are due, and useful tips on putting together a competitive application package.

WHAT:           Conference Call on Fellowship and Internship Opportunities for Youth

The White House Internship Program
The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Internship Program
The Presidential Management Fellowship Program
Other Federal Agency Opportunities

WHEN:           Tuesday, December 6th from 4:00-5:00pm EST/1:00-2:00pm PST

HOW:              Please click HERE to receive call-in information for this call by Monday, December 5, 2011, at 12:00 PM.

These calls are not intended for press purposes and are off the record.

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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in National news


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The following article was originally printed in Asian American Press on Oct. 24, 2011

(Comments from CAPM: the typical fee for a citizenship test is $675, a cost that is very difficult to afford for low-income refugees and immigrants, especially those with a disability and limited English proficiency.)



By Pham Thi Hoa and John Keller

Mr. Vang is a refugee who was resettled in Minneapolis in 2004 after spending over a decade living in a makeshift refugee camp in Wat Thamkrabok in Thailand.

Like thousands of Hmong men, Mr. Vang proudly fought alongside U.S. forces during the Secret War in Laos. Because of his allegiance to the United States, Mr. Vang became a refugee after U.S. forces pulled out of Southeast Asia.

The United States agreed to resettle him and his family as legal refugees to the U.S., and ultimately Minnesota, under our international humanitarian treaty obligations. Today, he faces yet another crisis that leaves him fearful for his well-being.

At 63 years old, he faces the looming cut off of his Supplemental Security Income in the coming months if he does not successfully naturalize. He has already attempted to naturalize once, but did not pass the test because of his limited English language ability and his disability which both qualifies him for SSI and simultaneously makes attaining citizenship more difficult.

On September 30th, Supplemental Security Income benefits will run out for thousands of low income, elderly and disabled refugees across the nation like Mr. Vang, unless Congress acts quickly to address a short term extension of the benefits. In fact, 720 refugees in Minnesota are projected to lose their SSI in 2011 alone — the third highest number in the country.

SSI provides the bare minimum, no more than $674 for an individual, and $1,011 for a couple per month, to afford the very basic necessities. During these tough economic times, it is especially unconscionable for us to cut off basic resources to this vulnerable community to whom we promised humanitarian treatment, when it could mean they are left hungry and without their basic needs met.

Today’s problem began fifteen years ago. In 1996, Congress restricted SSI to no more than seven years for elderly and disabled refugees, with the misconception that they should be able to naturalize within this time and thus, remain eligible for benefits. Importantly, in 2008, President Bush recognized the hardship this mandatory cut-off was having on vulnerable refugees and signed legislation to protect them — until September 30, 2011.

As direct service providers who work with refugee populations know all too well, seven years is not nearly enough time to learn English and gain citizenship, especially for a population that is elderly and who have disabilities that limit their learning ability. For those who have severe mental or physical disabilities, usually caused by the very situation they were forced to flee, and those who are often among the most elderly, the ability to learn a new language and memorize information for the naturalization test may take the rest of their lives.

Furthermore, some of these same vulnerable, disabled individuals may also face the loss of SSI due to errors or delays by either themselves, the government, or both while requesting asylum, permanent residency, and naturalization — a reality that any Congressional staffer who works with immigration applications will acknowledge. Refugee elders are often critical contributors to the livelihood of entire family units and communities.

For many elderly and disabled refugees, the cut off of SSI is severe and has a wide ranging impact on the well-being of their families. Our members of Congress must act to ensure that an extension on SSI is passed as soon as possible to prevent needless hardship for those most vulnerable among us.

In addition, the Minnesota delegation must also work in Congress to sever the link between naturalization and SSI for those who are elderly or disabled and to help us honor the commitment made to these internationally vulnerable neighbors.

Pham Thi Hoa is the executive director of CAPI, a community-based social justice organization and a direct implementer of anti-poverty programs to provide jobs, housing, food, health education, youth and senior social services in the Minneapolis area.

John Keller is executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, whose mission is to provide quality immigration legal services, law-related education, and advocacy to meet the steadily increasing needs of Minnesota’s immigrant and refugee communities.

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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Community news, Legislative, National news


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A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans in the United States 2011

asian american national data census

A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans in the United States 2011 compiles the latest data on Asian Americans at the national level. Produced by the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, the report is a valuable resource to community organizations, elected and appointed officials, government agencies, foundations, corporations, and others looking to better understand and serve one of this country’s fastest growing and most diverse racial groups. Below is a summary of key findings in the report.

Note:  the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice will release a separate national report in 2012 dedicated to Pacific Islanders.

Asian Americans are the country’s fastest growing racial group.
The Asian American population in the United States grew 46% between 2000 and 2010, faster than any other racial group nationwide.

Asian Americans make significant contributions to the economy through entrepreneurial activity, job creation, and consumer spending.
Asian American entrepreneurs own over 1.5 million businesses, employing about 3 million people with an annual payroll of nearly $80 billion. Asian American firms were more likely than other firms to create jobs, and between 2000 and 2009, the buying power of Asian American communities increased 89%, from $269 billion to $509 billion.

Asian Americans are becoming citizens, registering to vote, and casting ballots
Approximately 68% of Asian Americans old enough to vote are U.S. citizens, but of those eligible to register to vote, 55% have done so, and the rate of Asian American voter turnout still lags behind that of non-Hispanic Whites. Greater naturalization, voter registration, and Get Out the Vote (GOTV) efforts are needed if Asian Americans are to realize their untapped political potential.

Immigration policies disproportionately impact Asian Americans.
Proportionately, Asian Americans are more likely than any other racial group to be foreign-born. Approximately 60% of Asian Americans were born outside the United States.

Language barriers continue to limit opportunities for millions of Asian Americans.
Roughly one out of every three Asian Americans are limited-English proficient (LEP). Providing assistance in Asian languages and greater opportunities to learn English promotes better access to good jobs, citizenship, voting, healthcare, social services, and the judicial system for millions of Asian Americans.

Asian American educational attainment varies widely among ethnic groups.

Disaggregated data show that the low educational attainment of Cambodians, Laotian, Hmong, and Vietnamese Americans limit employment opportunities for many in Southeast Asian communities. Job training programs and vocational English language instruction should be targeted to Asian Americans with lower levels of educational attainment in an effort to increase access to good jobs.

Some Asian Americans struggle economically.
Hmong Americans have the lowest per capita income of any racial or ethnic group nationwide, while Hmong, Bangladeshi, and Cambodian Americans have poverty rates that approach those of African Americans and Latinos. Federal, state, and local governments should establish or expand culturally and linguistically accessible public assistance programs to meet these needs.

Unemployment has impacted Southeast Asian American communities.
Hmong, Laotian, and Cambodian Americans have unemployment rates higher than the national average. Job training, adult English language learning, unemployment benefits, and other safety net programs should be made accessible to these workers as they struggle to get back on their feet.

Asian Americans continue to face housing concerns.
59% of Asian Americans own homes nationwide, yet homeownership rates lags significantly behind that of non-Hispanic Whites, with a majority of Bangladeshi, Hmong, and Korean Americans renting rather than owning their own homes.  The problem is compounded by large numbers of Asian Americans living in overcrowded housing.

Access to affordable healthcare coverage is critical for Asian Americans.
Asian Americans are twice as likely than both non-Hispanic Whites and African Americans to have seen a doctor in the past five years, despite being more likely to develop hepatitis, stomach and liver cancer, and other diseases. Asian Americans are also more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be uninsured. The federal government should work with insurance companies and employers to expand access to affordable healthcare coverage for all U.S. residents, including immigrants.


To view the full report, visit:

To visit the Center for Advancing Justice website, visit:

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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in National news


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Asian Americans most bullied in US schools: study

Includes excerpts from article reported by By Shaun Tandon (AFP) – Oct 28, 2011

bully free zone

photo by Eddie~S

Asian Americans endure far more bullying at US schools than members of other ethnic groups, with teenagers of the community three times as likely to face taunts on the Internet, new data shows. 54 percent of Asian American teenagers said they were bullied in the classroom

The figure was 38.4 percent for African Americans and 34.3 percent for Hispanics, a government researcher involved in the data analysis told AFP.

The disparity was even more striking for cyber-bullying. Some 62 percent of Asian Americans reported online harassment once or twice a month, compared with 18.1 percent of whites. The researcher said more study was needed on why the problem is so severe among Asian Americans.

The data comes from a 2009 survey supported by the US Justice Department and Education Department which interviewed some 6,500 students from ages 12 to 18. Asian Americans are generally defined as tracing ancestry to East Asia, the Indian subcontinent or the South Pacific.

For more information, read the White House Initiative on AAPI blog post and NCES data findings.

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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in Community news, National news


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National Event: WHIAAPI Bullying Prevention Summit, 10-29-11

White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

What: WHIAAPI Bullying Prevention Summit
When: Saturday, October 29, 2011 8:45 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Where: New York City, New York

Bullying affects too many of our Asian American and Pacific Islander students. The White House Initiative on AAPI’s Bullying Prevention Summit seeks to highlight the unique impact, prevalence and severity of bullying and harassment experienced by young AAPIs.

Join us at the WHIAAPI Bullying Prevention Summit to share your stories, experiences and strategies to combat bullying and harassment. Learn what the Administration is doing to address bullying and harassment and promote safe school environments.  Find out how to access national and local programs to assist in bullying prevention, and obtain resources if you are a parent, student, teacher, administrator, or advocate. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 11, 2011 in National news


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The President Meets with Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

Note from CAPM: The following post is from the White House Initiative on AAPIs. It should also be noted that President Obama is the first president to meet with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Strong Partners: The President Meets with Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

President Obama meets with CAPAC

Released from Kiran Ahuja, White House Initiative on AAPIs, on September 27, 2011 at 12:04 PM EDT

As Director of the White House Initiative on AAPIs, I joined President Obama and several senior White House officials at a meeting with members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus last week. The meeting, held in the Cabinet Room at the White House, was a chance for the President and the Caucus members to discuss important issues facing AAPI communities.

In my role as the Director of the Initiative, I had met with CAPAC members many times over the last couple years to talk about the progress we are making to improve access and participation for AAPIs to federal programs in which they remain underserved. Through our work, I’ve gotten to know several members personally, like CAPAC Chair Congresswoman Judy Chu and Chair Emeritus Congressman Mike Honda, and appreciate their dedication to addressing the needs of the AAPI community. It’s a promise shared by the Obama Administration and why we discussed several important issues in our discussions from growing our economy to improving access to health care.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on October 4, 2011 in National news



Webinar on Fair Housing with HUD and White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Webinar on Fair Housing with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 3:00pm EDT

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) will hold a webinar on the Fair Housing Act, which ensures all persons have equal access to the housing of their choice.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, familial status, sex, and disability. The Fair Housing Act ensures that all persons have the right to receive equal housing opportunities.  It protects all residents against prohibited discrimination, regardless of their legal status in the United States.

The Asian American and Pacific Islander population grew faster than any other group in this country over the last ten years.  This growth creates an urgent need to understand everyday problems, e.g., housing discrimination, that challenge AAPIs across the country.  HUD estimates that one in five AAPIs face housing discrimination, yet only 1% of HUD’s Fair Housing complaints are from AAPI community. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Legislative, National news


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