The daughter of Cambodian refugees, Jennifer Tang grew up with her family of five in a small apartment in Chinatown, where gang violence was not uncommon, and poverty was evident.
“And yet, I always had a sense of hope because I could see what world was possible through my amazing public schools and libraries,” said Tang, a teacher and SEARAC Leadership and Advocacy Training alumnus who resides in Monterey Park, CA. “I knew that if I studied hard, I could become whatever I wanted to be. And if many of my peers studied hard, the circumstances of our community could improve.”
SEARAC, together with our friends at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, had the.... Read More
Strengthening Southeast Asian American Communities Through the 2020 Census
According to the 2010 Census, I probably don’t count.
I say *probably* because I never received a census questionnaire, and it never occurred to me at the time that the decennial census was even taking place. I lived in a community where more than 80 percent of residents filled out a self-response form — I just wasn’t one of them.
A decade ago, I was a 20-something living in a small but charming guesthouse on a quiet street that was very much tucked away from the surrounding busy Los Angeles scene. My then-boyfriend/now-husband and I rented directly from the main house’s.... Read More
New Bill Restores Due Process Protections for Immigrants with Criminal Records
Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) applaud the introduction of the New Way Forward Act by U.S. House Reps. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Pramila Jayapal, Karen Bass, and Ayanna Pressley.
The New Way Forward Act advances the national conversation on immigrants with a criminal record by restoring due process protections for all immigrants, including immigrants in deportation proceedings. Key components of the bill include the below provisions:
Eliminating mandatory detention Ending deportations based for certain convictions Restoring judicial discretion for immigration judges Creating a five-year statute of limitations for deportability Establishing an opportunity to come home for certain deported individuals or non-citizens in deportation proceedings
In particular, the restoration of judicial discretion for.... Read More
Register now for SEARAC’s Moving Mountains equity summit in Sacramento, CA!
In just under a month, members the Southeast Asian American community from across the country will be coming together in Sacramento for a powerful convening set to inspire, connect, innovate, and activate.
The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) recently launched its first set of census factsheets to bolster education and civic participation among Southeast Asian Americans (SEAAs) in 2020. These resources, which will be translated in-language, target the general SEAA community, in addition to communities that are historically harder to reach and harder to count, including:
Health is a human right, and that is why we believe that a patient’s health should come first. The Trump Administration has introduced a new proposed rule that would radically reinterpret civil rights protections under the Health Care Rights Law (Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act) for people who are limited English proficient (LEP). This includes changing how US Department of Health and Human Services and federal and state health insurance marketplaces must comply with the law, limiting enforcement of civil rights, and rolling.... Read More
Hatefas’ Story: Public Assistance Allowed My Refugee Family to Dream for a Better Future
Born in Santa Ana, CA, to two Muslim refugee survivors of the Cambodian genocide, Hatefas Yop wasn’t aware of her family’s use of public services when she was a young girl. After all, her peers in her elementary school all hailed from the local neighborhood, where many immigrant and refugee families had to live in one-bedroom apartments subsidized by Section 8 housing. She didn’t understand the melancholy in an elder whom Hatefas referred to as “Grandma,” when she said her food stamps (paper at the time) weren’t ‘real money.’ “But you could use it to.... Read More
My memories from childhood are extremely hazy. Most of what I can recall are fleeting feelings: the bliss in skipping around my Kindergarten classroom as I sang about the days of the week, the joy in jumping up and down on my parents’ bed as I watched “David the Gnome,” the curiosity in having accidentally swallowed a piece of gum, the preceding anxiety and subsequent relief in remembering my steps for a dance recital. Practically all my childhood firsts are long forgotten; I cannot recollect the first book I ever read by myself, or the first tooth I lost, or the.... Read More
In a recent essay published in AAPI blog Reappropriate, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) executive director Quyen Dinh recounted what is what like for her to grow up poor and not know it.
In elementary school, my day started with getting breakfast from the cafeteria window, where I got to choose a cereal box along with a small carton of milk from our cafeteria lady, Angie. She had short curly silver hair and always happily provided us our breakfast, along with a great smile.
For lunch, I lined up with the rest of my classmates to get lunch from Angie, too. Each of us carried a small envelope with our names on it.
The Trump Administration has proposed broadening the set of government services considered when determining whether an individual is a ‘public charge,’ a term applied to someone who is likely to rely on government assistance for support. If a person is considered a public charge, they may be denied a green card.
Seniors and parents of U.S. citizens are a significant, and growing, segment of immigrants to the U.S. and are critical to the well-being of intergenerational families. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of immigrants age 65 and older grew from 2.7 million to nearly 5 million. The number of parents of U.S. citizens who have been admitted as legal permanent residents more than tripled between 1994 and 2016. In making it.... Read More
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center Host Immigration Report Briefings on Capitol Hill
Every 10 years, the United States conducts a census to record the number of people living in the nation, regardless of immigration status. More than a mere tally, the U.S. Census provides valuable insight into the country’s ever-shifting demographic and geographical makeup. It also informs how federal and state dollars are allocated, establishes the boundaries of legislative districts, and governs the number of House seats for which each state is eligible, based on population.
With so much at stake, it’s crucial to collect accurate numbers and get full participation. However, for the upcoming 2020 census, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross hopes to skew these counts and silence immigrants and people of color, including Southeast Asian Americans (SEAAs), with the addition of.... Read More