The cornerstone of our democracy is the right to vote, which must be preserved and expanded. Full participation in civic and political life also relies on the Census, as Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) must be accurately counted to ensure that our needs are fully understood and that government resources and services are properly allocated. All people should live lives free of discrimination. Yet, AANHPIs often face bias and discrimination based on their actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or immigration status. Our communities often endure such treatment because of the stereotype of being “perpetual foreigners”—but it can happen because of the “model minority” myth, too. Bias and discrimination can happen by federal, state, and local law enforcement; through hate crimes; or in the workplace and schools. Policy solutions must be crafted to address our intersectional identities and the multiple levels and facets of discrimination.
Preserve and expand voting rights
• Restore the Voting Rights Act, which was gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder in 2013.
• Promote access to ballot language assistance for persons with Limited English Proficiency, including full enforcement of Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act that requires language assistance in certain jurisdictions and Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act that protects the right to assistance of your choice at the polls.
• Oppose voter suppression efforts, such as requirements for photo identification and proof of citizenship, and restore voting rights to individuals with a felony conviction.
• Expand online and same-day voter registration and “no excuse” absentee and early voting.
Ensure an accurate Census count
• Fully fund Census 2020, including a multifaceted outreach campaign that is culturally and linguistically appropriate for AANHPI communities.
• Maintain a mandatory American Community Survey and ensure that socioeconomic data points are disaggregated as much as possible.
• Maintain—or exceed—the quality of detailed data collected on AANHPI subgroups in Census 2010, including through the use of as many check boxes and examples as possible (at least the same number of each as in 2010) and a clearly identified separate response option of "Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander."
• Support legislation such as the End Racial Profiling Act, which would prohibit profiling by federal, state, and local law enforcement on the basis of actual or perceived race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
• Strengthen the December 2014 U.S. Department of Justice Guidance for federal law enforcement agencies regarding profiling and urge the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue guidance to close current loopholes.
• Stand in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives.
• Stem the rise of hate crimes and condemn divisive political rhetoric
• As aggression against Muslim, Sikh, Arab, and South Asian Americans has climbed at an alarming rate, increase funding for civil rights agencies and community-based organizations to investigate hate crimes.
• Require the U.S. Department of Justice to disaggregate data collected on hate crimes based on national origin and religious affiliation and encourage and provide law enforcement agencies with the resources to appropriately collect this data.
• Expand training for local and federal law enforcement in how to recognize, investigate, and prove hate crimes.
• Condemn anti-Muslim, xenophobic, and bigoted political rhetoric and harmful policy proposals, which can lead to acts of discrimination and hate crimes.
• End employment discrimination and bias-based bullying and harassment
• Support the Equality Act to expand anti-discrimination protections in employment, housing, and access to public places; the Student Non-Discrimination Act and Safe Schools Improvement Act to address discrimination, bullying, and harassment in schools; and the Harry Lew Military Hazing Accountability and Prevention Act to ensure oversight and accountability in eliminating hazing in the military.
• Support enforcement of existing anti-discrimination policies and increase awareness of bias-based bullying in schools, including through the Act To Change campaign.
• Support equal opportunity and affirmative action in higher education
• Support diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity in higher education, which benefits all students, including AANHPIs, in a diverse society, as well as those students who face barriers to higher education, which includes AANHPI subgroups.
• Recognize that affirmative action does not constitute quotas, limit students of any ethnic or racial backgrounds, or discriminate against AANHPIs.
• Reform the criminal justice system and end the school-to-prison-to-deportation pipeline
• Support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act and move our country toward a system that is more rooted in restorative justice, rehabilitation, and fairness—especially in reforming mandatory minimum sentences.
• Build pathways for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals to have increased access to higher education (including Pell grants), jobs with livable wages, and healthcare.
• Do not allow criminal violations to lead to automatic deportation without due process. Instead, provide individual consideration, including judicial discretion for the following:
o Those who committed offenses as minors;
o Refugee families;
o Those with U.S. citizen and lawful permanent resident spouses, children, parents, and other relatives; and
o Those who have lived in the United States for a longer period of time or have demonstrated rehabilitation.
In particular, Southeast Asian Americans are three to four times more likely to be deported on the basis of an old criminal conviction compared with other immigrant communities.