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SEARAC Press Release: New Federal Guidance on Promoting Diversity & Reducing Racial Isolation in K-12 Schools and Higher Education Benefits SE Asian American Students

The below is a press release from the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 8, 2011

Contact: Pang Houa Moua, panghoua@searac.org; (202) 744-0436

New Federal Guidance on Promoting Diversity and Reducing Racial Isolation in K-12 Schools and Higher Education Benefits Southeast Asian American Students

Washington, DC –  On Friday December 2, 2011, the United States Department of Education and the United States Department of Justice jointly issued new federal guidance to provide a roadmap for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities to leverage the benefits of educational diversity to achieve high quality, inclusive educational opportunities for all students. The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) applauds this new guidance that provides tremendous opportunities for institutions to serve the educational needs of Southeast Asian American and other underserved students.

The guidance makes clear that the nation’s K-12 schools and colleges can use race in a variety of ways to assemble diverse student bodies and improve the quality of education for every student. The new guidance also provides concrete suggestions that K-12 schools and colleges can pursue in order to enhance social cohesion, reduce racial and economic isolation, and improve the quality of education for every student. The guidance for colleges and universities provides examples for a range of approaches to achieving diversity, including admissions procedures, development of pipeline programs, recruitment and outreach initiatives, and support programs (including mentoring, tutoring, and retention).

“At the K-12 level, too many of our students attend racially and economically isolated schools, and contrary to the ‘model minority myth’ – a misconception that all Asian Americans excel academically and face few obstacles – Southeast Asian American and Pacific Islander students remain underrepresented within higher education,” said Quyen Dinh, education policy advocate at SEARAC. Educational disparities within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community are highlighted when educational outcomes are disaggregated by subgroup. For example, according to the American Community Survey, in comparison to over 86% of the overall Asian American population who holds a high school degree or higher, disaggregated data reveals that this is true for only 67% of Cambodian, 65% of Hmong, 68% of Laotian, and 70% of Vietnamese Americans aged 25 and over. In California, a 2010 report found that over a four-year period, one-fifth of Pacific Islander students in grades 9-12 are estimated to drop out. This guidance is a powerful advocacy tool for Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander communities to voice the needs for their students to be included in diversity policies at educational institutions.

SEARAC supports the Department of Education and Department of Justice in the issuance of this guidance and is ready to work with both agencies to ensure that this guidance acts to alleviate educational barriers that still exist for many Southeast Asian Americans and other underrepresented communities.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Legislative, National news, Press Release

 

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Asian American Center for Advancing Justice acts on federal and state immigration policies

http://advancingjustice.org/

Asian American Groups Express Deep Concern and Opposition to Secure Communities

Secure Communities (S-Comm) is an Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) program that automatically forwards all fingerprints taken by local police to ICE for civil immigration background checks at the point of arrest.

Asian American Center for Advancing Justice has criticized S-Comm for being an indiscriminate mass deportation program, rather than one that is focused on identifying and deporting individuals with serious criminal convictions. 74 percent of those deported as a result of S-Comm either did not have any criminal convictions or have convictions for the lowest level offenses, including misdemeanors and minor traffic offenses.

Stewart Kwoh of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center states, “S-Comm has caused much harm to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Many AAPI immigrants come from countries with a history of government corruption, which makes it difficult for these community members to come forward and trust law enforcement. S-Comm compounds this problem by adding potential immigration consequences to contact with local law enforcement.”

Titi Liu of the Asian Law Caucus noted, “S-Comm is fundamentally flawed because it burdens and entangles local police with immigrant enforcement, thereby driving a wedge between immigrant community members and local police. This in turn compromises public safety for all community members.”

read more on Asian American Press…

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AAJC Applauds the Obama Administration for Taking Positive Steps Towards Fairer Immigration Policies

Last week the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Utah’s immigration law HB 496, which is similar to Arizona’s SB 1070 law. DOJ previously sued Arizona challenging SB 1070 and recently brought similar suits against copycat laws in Alabama and South Carolina.

SB 1070-type laws aim to criminalize undocumented immigrants and impermissibly authorizes local police to enforce federal immigration laws, which frequently leads to racial and ethnic profiling of all immigrants or persons who appear foreign.

read more on Asian American Press…

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Asian American Groups Urge Supreme Court to Hold That Legal Permanent Residents Should Not Be Retroactively Subjected to Harsh New Legal Consequences

Members of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice have joined an amicus curiae brief in Vartelas v. Holder. The brief urges the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), which seeks to remove a legal permanent resident’s (LPR) right to make “innocent, casual and brief” trips abroad without fear that he will be denied reentry, does not apply retroactively.

“Retroactive application renders long-time LPR’s unable to take short trips abroad to fulfill important family and religious obligations, including caring for dying parents and attending funerals. They also risk being subject to detention and deportation,” said Stewart Kwoh of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

read more on Asian American Press…

 

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Legislative, National news

 

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Made in Minnesota 2011: Fertile Ground for Minority Opportunity

Minnesota 2020 recently released Made in Minnesota 2011: Fertile Ground for Minority Opportunity, which highlight findings on how immigrants, refugees and new arrivals to Minnesota are revitalizing neighborhoods
and entire communities through their involvement in MN’s agriculture economy and retail and other
business firms.

Some key findings:

  • Minnesota’s ethnic and immigrant communities contribute more than $12 billion to the state’s overall business activity.
  • Retail and service sales from minority-owned enterprises are estimated at $5.8 billion. These enterprises employed about 40,000 people.
  • Revenue at minority-owned firms increased by 83 percent between the 2002 and 2007 Census of business owners, compared to 30 percent for all Minnesota firms.
  • Minnesota farmers’ markets contribute up to $64 million in annual net economic benefits.
  • Minnesota is home to more than 11,300 Asian-owned businesses, generate $2.4 billion in revenue, and employ nearly 17,500 workers.
  • “Other Asian owned firms” (mostly Hmong) totaled 3,271 with $507 million in 2007 revenue.

Highlights on challenges and problems:

  • Mainstream and organic sectors of agriculture are capital-intensive and asset heavy, presenting a major barrier for entrance to agriculture.
  • New residents and prospective entrepreneurs have difficulty learning about and accessing federal and state programs that could help with everything from startup and business loans to complying with regulations.
    • Language problems and a general distrust of government are some of the main barriers.

Key recommendations:

The Minnesota Legislature should invest in expanding the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and its Small Business Development Centers. Greater cultural awareness and expertise would help with outreach and training for aspiring ethnic entrepreneurs.

Minnesota’s Office of Tourism should develop a brochure guiding travelers who want to explore the state’s international cultural venues and markets, similar to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown directory.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Community news, General Comments

 

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Health Care Exchange Committee formed

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has appointed eleven people to the Health Care Exchange Committee, which also includes four legislators and the commissioners of commerce, health, and human services.

The committee will be meeting nearly every week for several months as several key issues need to be decided in order for the exchange to be completed and operational by January 2014.

The members of the committee are:

  • Sue Abderholden, Executive Director of the Minnesota Alliance on Mental Illness (St. Paul)
  • Dannette Coleman, Vice President/General Manager, Individual and Family Business, Medica (Minnetonka)
  • Phillip Cryan, Health Policy Specialist and Organizing Director, SEIU (St. Paul)
  • Mary Foarde, Attorney, Fmr. General Counsel, Allina (Minneapolis)
  • Dorii Gbolo – CEO/Executive Director, Board Member, Open Cities Health Center (St. Paul)
  • Robert Hanlon, Founder and President of Corporate Health Systems (Chaska)
  • Alfred Babington Johnson, CEO, Stair Step Foundation (Minneapolis)
  • Roger Kathol, Owner, Cartesian Solutions, Inc. (Burnsville)
  • Phil Norrgard, Director of Human Services, Fond du Lac Indian Tribe (Cloquet)
  • Stephanie Radtke Deputy Director, Community Services Division, Dakota County (West St. Paul)
  • Daniel Schmidt, Vice President, Great River Office Products (St. Paul)
  • (2) Majority Caucus Legislators (House & Senate)
  • (2) Minority Caucus Legislators (Sen. Lourey & Rep. Huntley)
 
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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Community news, Legislative, Press Release

 

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