Category Archives: National news

Conference Call and Web Chat on Human Trafficking

whiaapiConference Call and Web Chat on Human Trafficking

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) will host a conference call about the Obama Administration’s efforts to combat human trafficking, including forced labor:

  • What is the federal government doing to combat human trafficking, both sex trafficking and forced labor?
  • How can my community access in-language materials related to human trafficking?
  • What can my community do to promote initiatives to combat human trafficking, including at the local, state, and federal levels of government?


Moderator: Tuyet Duong, Advisor on Civil Rights and Immigration,
White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Abraham Lee, Public Affairs Officer – U.S. Department of State

Rena Cutlip-Mason, Senior Advisor – U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Maggie Wynne, Director, Division of Anti-Trafficking in Persons
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Ernesto Archila and Charita Castro – U.S. Department of Labor


Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 3:00 PM EST / 12:00 PM PST


To join by phone:

  1. Call 800-857-9683;                Passcode: 56547

To join online:

  1. Click here
  2. If a password is required, enter the meeting password: whitehouseaapi
  3. Click “Join”.

For assistance:

1. Go to
2. On the left navigation bar, click “Support”.

Questions can be submitted via Twitter at

*Note: All web chats are off the record and not for press purposes.

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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Community news, National news


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Redistricting news

You might have a new state legislator or two to vote for!

For the political junkies out there, here are articles on Minnesota’s new districts from redistricting:

New court plan pairs 46 incumbents in the Minnesota Legislature

Interactive Map: Redistricting Minnesota

  • Includes Congressional and state legislature maps

District-by-district look at Minnesota’s new congressional map

Minnesota’s ‘fair’ redistricting map ensures big legislative turnover

Legislative map: All shook up


And some news on city wards:

Last year’s redistricting of St. Paul’s wards didn’t change much

Minneapolis redistricting group signs off on tentative new wards


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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Community news, National news


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Conference Call/Web Chat: Small Business Administration 101 (2/22/12)

U.S. Department of Education sent this bulletin at 02/21/2012 11:57 AM EST

Join Us for Our Next Conference Call/Web Chat:

Small Business Administration (SBA) 101

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will host a conference call/webinar in collaboration with the SBA. Representatives from SBA will speak about their efforts to support small business owners and entrepreneurs, including:

  • Providing business owners access to capital
  • Opportunities in government contracting
  • Access to entrepreneurial education and counseling
  • Disaster assistance for business owners, homeowners, and renters.

Small businesses account for nearly two of three new jobs created today. AAPI-owned businesses, like other minority-owned businesses, continue to grow and provide employment opportunities, contributing to the recovery and growth of the current economy.  Hear from officials from the Small Business Administration about their work to protect the interests of AAPI-owned small businesses, and ask questions about accessing these federal resources.


WHO:                   Meina Banh, Special Assistant, Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs,
U.S. Small Business Administration

                               Chris Chan, Special Advisor for Public Engagement,
U.S. Small Business Administration

WHEN:                Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 3:00 PM EST / 12:00 PM PST

HOW:                   To join on-line:

1. Click here
2. Enter your name and email address.
3. Enter the session password: welcome1
4. Click “Join Now”.
5. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen.

**WebEx technical support – 800-857-8777

                                 To join by phone:

Dial:      888-982-4491
Passcode:         6271


Questions can be submitted via Twitter at

*Note: all web chats are off the record and are not for press purposes.

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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in National news


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USCIS Warning Regarding Scam Targeting Bhutanese Refugees

Cite as “AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12010564 (posted Jan. 5, 2012)”

From: Office of Refugee Resettlement (ACF)
Dear friends,

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has been alerted to a new telephone scam apparently targeting Bhutanese refugees. A man identifying himself as a representative of the “Federal Grants Department” calls from a Washington, DC-based telephone number, (202) 436-9601, informing recently resettled refugees that they are eligible to receive $10,000 because they are refugees from Bhutan. To claim the money, they are instructed to produce a money order for $650, and call the telephone number for further instructions on where to send the money.

Be advised that this is NOT a legitimate solicitation.

At least one refugee has been coerced into making multiple payments as “processing fees”, totaling more than $5,000.

So far, reports are localized in Texas, but ORR advises everyone to be aware of this scam and avoid giving any personal information or payments to unknown callers.

Please note that the federal government does not demand processing fees or security deposits from grant recipients. If you are the target of a suspicious request, please contact your local police or resettlement agency for further assistance.

Please share widely within your own networks.

Thank you,


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Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Community news, National news


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Gordon Hirabayashi, 1918-2012

Received word through social media that civil rights hero Gordon Hirabayashi, best known for being one of the few people to openly defy the government’s unconstitutional internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, has died. He was 93.

Hirabayashi was arrested, convicted and imprisoned, and eventually appealed his case to the Supreme Court (Hirabayashi vs. United States) — the first challenge to Executive Order 9066. The Court ruled against him, 9-0. However, his wartime convictions were successfully overturned forty years later.

Rest in peace. Here’s the Facebook post from Mr. Hirabayashi’s son, Jay Hirabayashi, announcing his passing:

My Dad, Gordon K. Hirabayashi, who was ninety-three, passed away early this morning. He was an American hero besides being a great father who taught me about the values of honesty, integrity, and justice. My Mother, Esther Hirabayashi, who was eighty-seven, also passed away this morning about ten hours later. She was a beautiful, intelligent, generous soul. Although my parents were divorced, they somehow chose to leave us on the same day. I am missing them a lot right now.

Here’s a good summary of Hirabayashi’s landmark case:

During World War II, Gordon Hirabayashi was a 24-year-old senior at the University of Washington – an American citizen by birth – when, as acts of civil disobedience, he defied a curfew imposed on persons of Japanese ancestry and refused to comply with military orders forcing Japanese Americans to leave the West Coast into concentration camps. He appealed his convictions to the U.S. Supreme Court, which, in one of the most infamous cases in American history, held that the curfew order was justified by military necessity and was, therefore, constitutional. A year and a half later, in Korematsu v. United States, the Court relied wholly on its decision in Hirabayashi to uphold the constitutionality of the mass removal of Japanese Americans.

Forty years later, in 1983, represented by a remarkable and dedicated team of lawyers, Mr. Hirabayashi reopened his case, filing a petition for writ of error coram nobis in Seattle, Washington, seeking vacation of his wartime convictions on the ground that the government, during World War II, had suppressed, altered, and destroyed material evidence relevant to the issue of military necessity. In 1986, the Ninth Circuit, in an opinion authored by Judge Mary Schroeder, vacated both Mr. Hirabayashi’s curfew and exclusion convictions on proof of the allegations of governmental misconduct.
Hirabayashi v. United States, 828 F.2d 591 (9th Cir. 1987).

Next month, the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality will host a major conference to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Ninth Circuit opinion in the Hirabayashi v. United States coram nobis case. It’s happening February 11 at Seattle University. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, and to register, go here.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement on Gordon Hirabayashi’s passing from the Korematsu Institute and the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice: Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education and the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice Remember Civil Rights Leader Gordon Hirabayashi.


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Posted by on January 9, 2012 in National news


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Congress passes 2012 budget, impacting mental health funding

The following was taken from NAMI-MN’s newsletter:


Congress Enacts 2012 Budget

Overcoming a political impasse, Congress approved the remaining nine bills that make up the 2012 budget. The “megabus,” as the 9-bill package was dubbed, includes several notable funding increases for behavioral health programs, a major victory given the massive reductions to behavioral health that were included in the budget proposal by the House of Representatives. Overall, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration saw a $27 million cut, for a total of $3.5 billion in funding for the agency. This total amount is still subject to a 0.189% decrease that was included in the megabus bill. Details on how this cut will be applied are forthcoming.

Within the SAMHSA budget, several key programs received funding increases:

  • Mental Health Block Grant: $460.6 million (+$41 million vs. FY 2011, the first increase to this program in over 10 years)
  • Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant: $1.8 billion (+21 million vs. FY 2011)
  • Primary Care and Behavioral Health Integration (PBHCI): $30.8 million for SAMHSA portion (+$3 million vs. FY 2011; this figure does not include the additional Prevention and Public Health Fund money that may be allocated to the program)
  • Project LAUNCH: $34.7 million (+10 million vs. FY 2011)
  • National Child Traumatic Stress Network: $45.8 million (+$5 million vs. FY 2011)

Within the Center for Mental Health Services, the following programs were level funded from 2011: Children’s mental health services ($117 million); Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness ($64.9 million); Jail Diversion ($6.2 million); and Homelessness Prevention ($30.8 million). Youth violence prevention received a $54.3 million cut, from $77.5 in 2011 to $23.2 million in 2012.The Co-occurring State Incentive Grant, which received $2.2 million in 2011, was eliminated, as was the Community Resilience and Recovery Initiative.

Within the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, the agreement includes: $28.2 million for Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral, and Treatment (level vs. FY 2011); $98.5 million for Access to Recovery (level vs. FY 2011), and $67.6 million for criminal justice activities (+$2.5 million vs. FY 2011).

Taken from the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare.

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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in Legislative, National news


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