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Asian American Civil Rights Orgs Continue to Strongly Condemn Discriminatory Legislative Language

July 27, 2022 News

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Asian American Civil Rights Orgs Continue to Strongly Condemn Discriminatory Legislative Language

WASHINGTON, DC – After serious concerns raised by the Asian Law Caucus and Asian American and civil rights organizations, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) blocked Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) amendment to the CHIPS-plus bill from advancing on unanimous consent. Groups across the country continue to call on the House and Senate to reject any legislative language that expands federal policies targeting communities on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious background.

In a letter led by the Asian Law Caucus dozens of community and civil rights groups expressed their objection to the advancement of the Portman language saying that the provision would:

…deny admission or revoke visas of Chinese nationals and others based on innuendo, bad information, and racial targeting…We strongly oppose the inclusion of this language in the CHIPS-Plus bill and we strongly encourage lawmakers to stand with the AAPI and the broader civil rights communities in voting against the Portman amendment.

Groups remain concerned about the inclusion of similar language in future legislation, particularly the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and continue to encourage lawmakers to reject any compromise legislative language that would subject Asian American communities to heightened levels of government enforcement based on their racial and ethnic origin.

Hammad Alam, who leads the Asian Law Caucus’ national security and civil rights program
, said: "Following a surge of community advocacy and concern, the Justice Department announced an end to the controversial China Initiative in February, an important step to ending the targeting of Asians, Asian Americans, and immigrants on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, and religion. Senator Portman’s proposed language would not only thwart the progress community members have made in ending the China Initiative, but also reestablish its harmful and biased tactics, including the use of domestic surveillance and monitoring by federal law enforcement. We’re encouraged to see members of Congress stand with Asian American communities and reject these discriminatory policies this week. We’re calling on our elected representatives to continue to renounce any legislative language that subjects our communities to unjust discrimination and profiling."