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.
I grew up poor but never knew just how I poor was until I hit middle school.
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.
I didn’t realize, though, that my envelope was different from the other students. While other students had money in their envelopes with cash to pay for the weekly price of school lunch, mine was empty. Instead, my envelope had my name on it along with five checked boxes for every day of the week – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday –that I was able to receive free lunch.
The arrests come shortly after the Cambodian government announced over the summer that they would temporarily halt the issuing of travel visas for refugees facing deportation by the US government to Cambodia. Cambodian officials are seeking renegotiation of a 2002 U.S.-Cambodia agreement to address the separation of deported refugees from the American families.
Representing over 18 million people, AAPIs are a diverse, fast-growing population that includes Americans who identify with one or more of numerous East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander ethnic groups. Even the most populous of of AAPI sub-groups — Chinese Americans, Indian Americans, and Filipino Americans — individually comprise less than one-quarter of the total AAPI population.
And yet, the federal government still largely fails to collect data that reflect the diversity of the AAPI community; instead, most federal agencies follow an archaic standard — established in 1997 — wherein they lump together all AAPI into the two broad categories: “Asian” or “Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander”. Such a generalizing approach misses the nuance of the AAPI community, and washes away the specific socioeconomic challenges faced by AAPI sub-groups.