Biden Announces Release of Campaign Staff Diversity Report at AAPI Presidential Townhall

Posted By Jenn

Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden pledged at today’s AAPI Presidential Townhall that he would release a report on the diversity of his campaign staff. Immediately following the event, his campaign issued a report showing that more than one-third of staff (including one-third of senior staff) are people of colour, and more than half are women.

Biden has faced criticism in recent days for failing to disclose the diversity of his campaign staff despite boasting during the primary that had “the most diverse campaign staff of anybody running.” Critics have pointed out that Biden’s top advisors appear to be mostly white. As recently as a few days ago, Biden’s campaign has inexplicably refused to release its diversity numbers. With today’s announcement, Biden’s campaign reported 36% of people working in leadership roles are people of colour, and 58% are women. Biden’s campaign further noted that several senior staffers are Asian American and/or Pacific Islander, including his Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, National Voter Protection Director, Digital Chief of Staff, Director of Digital Partnership, and Surrogates Director.

Less than a day after Biden’s campaign released their diversity report, Trump’s campaign also released a report on staffer diversity. Trump reports that 52% of his campaign’s senior staffers are women, and 25% are people of colour.

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Trump Signs Sweeping Executive Order To Suspend Non-Permanent Work Visas

President Donald Trump

Posted By Jenn

The White House announced today that President Trump has signed an Executive Order that would suspend the issuing of several classes of work visas for non-permanent visitors to the United States.

The visa classes targeted for suspension will include: H1-B (highly-skilled workers), H2-B visa (low-skilled workers), J-1 (highly-skilled students, trainees, and teachers), L (intracompany transfers) and H4 (spouses of H1-B holders). The issuance of new visas in these classes will be suspended until December 31, 2020. Trump had previously ordered a temporary halt to new green cards for 60 days beginning in April, but had not previously targeted temporary work visas.

The White House claimed that the move is intended to preserve American jobs in the wake of high unemployment rates related to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Trump administration attacks on legal immigration pre-date the COVID-19 outbreak, and he campaigned on a platform of xenophobia and nativism. Thus, the White House appears to be seizing the Coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to advance hardline anti-immigrant policies.

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It’s Not Just For Fun: My Reaction to Kurt Suzuki’s MAGA Hat Photo Op

The author's family, the Shojis, who were forcibly held at Minidoka during World War II. (Photo Credit: Joseph Lachman)

Posted By Jenn

By Guest Contributor: Joseph Shoji Lachman

Kurt Suzuki, who is a yonsei (or, 4th generation Japanese American), wore a “Make America Great Again” hat — a disgusting white supremacist symbol — when visiting the White House last week. It was horrifying, and symbolic of larger issues of Asian American adjacency to white privilege.

The question I always want to pose to these Trump-supporting Japanese Americans is: How can you support a guy whose campaign and supporters have voiced support for the incarceration of Japanese Americans, and who have used that history as a justification for oppressing other minority groups? 

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Trump’s Asian American Judges Are No Friends to AAPI Community

Trump judicial nominee Neomi Rao testifies before the Senate at her confirmation hearing last month. (Photo credit: Zach Gibson / Getty)

Posted By Jenn

By Guest Contributors: Sung Yeon Choimorrow (NAPAWF), Quyen Dinh (SEARAC), and Alvina Yeh (APALA)

Last month, the Senate voted to confirm D.C. Circuit Court nominee Neomi Rao, who will now be the first Indian American woman to sit on a federal appeals court.

Critics have repeatedly shed light on the dearth of people of color among Trump’s judicial nominees, especially when compared to those of President Obama. Trump has nominated not a single African American or Latino to federal appeals courts amongst a sea of white men. Despite this, two other conservative Asian American federal appeals court nominees in addition to Rao face imminent confirmations–and lifetime appointments–to the U.S. judiciary: Michael Park and Kenneth Lee, to the Second and Ninth Circuits, respectively, have also received hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Don’t be fooled: these appeals court nominees are a danger to civil rights and justice for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community; they are pawns in Trump’s larger scheme to uphold white supremacy under the guise of promoting racial diversity in the top ranks of government.

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Trump Makes Racially-Charged Remarks Towards Japanese Reporter in Controversial Press Conference

A Japanese reporter questions President Trump. (Photo credit: Screen capture from NBC News video)

Posted By Jenn

In a press conference marked by erratic and un-presidential behaviour, President Trump made racially charged remarks against a Japanese reporter, telling him to “say hello to Shinzo” — the prime minister of Japan — before complaining that he couldn’t understand the reporter’s accent.

The unnamed reporter, who was clearly fluent in English, asked the president about reports that Trump was considering placing punitive tariffs on Japanese auto imports. That’s when Trump made the quip about Prime Minister Abe and the complaint about the reporter’s accent. Trump then defended the idea of US-imposed tariffs on Japan — one of America’s closest allies in the Pacific rim — by complaining of a trade deficit between the two countries.

“Japan does not treat the United States fairly on trade,” said Trump. “They send in millions of cars at a very low tax… They don’t take our cars.”
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