Trump judicial nominee Neomi Rao testifies before the Senate at her confirmation hearing last month. (Photo credit: Zach Gibson / Getty)
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.
A Japanese reporter questions President Trump. (Photo credit: Screen capture from NBC News video)
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.
I accomplished nothing I’d intended to that morning. I called my mother and sister to talk about the news. I read and reread the declaration and watched whatever clips I could find. I celebrated and speculated over group chat with Korean friends. And, I cried. A lot.
The consequences of this directive are alarming. The US Census — which is constitutionally-mandated to count all US residents regardless of citizenship status — will be forced to wade into the midst of the nativist hysteria that has gripped the country, and in so doing add a question that is sure to depress Census responses from communities boasting large foreign-born populations, such as Asian Americans.