WASHINGTON — The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates (OCA) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice were joined by 77 Asian Pacific American, civil rights and civil liberties organizations in sending a letter today to the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz seeking an independent investigation into what appears to be a trend of Asian American scientists being arrested and indicted for espionage-related crimes, only to later have all charges dropped, without explanation.
60 Minutes recently highlighted the cases of Temple University Physics Department Chair Dr. Xiaoxing Xi and National Weather Service Hydrologist Sherry Chen, bringing these cases renewed national attention.
Last November, NCAPA and NAPABA led a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch urging her to lead a Department of Justice investigation. Forty-two members of Congress also requested a full investigation, followed by aCongressional Asian Pacific American Caucus letter to Inspector General Horowitz last month.
In April 2016, the Department of Justice issued new rules to provide greater oversight, consultation, and coordination for all national security related cases. While these are welcome improvements, they leave unanswered critical questions about what happened in the cases of Dr. Xi and Ms. Chen and whether profiling played any role.
“Members of Congress as well as the civil rights and legal communities continue to be concerned that individuals appear to have been targeted for investigations based on their perceived race, ethnicity, or national origin,” said NAPABA President Jin Y. Hwang. “As we have seen in the cases of Dr. Xiaoxing Xi and Ms. Sherry Chen, these investigations upend lives and have lasting impacts even after charges are dropped. We continue to urge the Department of Justice to conduct thorough and independent investigations to assure the American public that the protections afforded by the Constitution and enshrined in Department policy prohibiting profiling are being followed in the interest of preserving a fair and unbiased legal system.”
“OCA is concerned with the apparent practice of racial profiling in national espionage cases. Both Sherry Chen and Professor Xi’s cases highlight the very human costs of charges brought to court with insufficient evidence,” said OCA Chief Executive Officer Ken Lee. “The treatment that both of them endured must never happen again. That is why we, along with our partners at NCAPA, NAPABA, and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice network, sent a letter to the Inspector General’s office. We remain committed to ensuring that there is an independent investigation of the Department of Justice by the Inspector General’s office to determine whether or not race, ethnicity, and national origin is a determining factor in all national espionage cases, particularly in the cases against Asian Americans. To allow our nation’s headquarters for legal justice to use such underhanded tactics to persecute individuals would be a mockery of the advances our country has made in civil rights and equal and equitable treatment for all Americans.”
“Dr. Xi and Ms. Chen have already suffered enough professionally and psychologically. They deserve answers–and so do the American people,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “We are deeply concerned by even the appearance of anyone being targeted because of their race, ethnicity or national origin, and we must prevent any practice of profiling from happening again. The Department of Justice must preserve our fundamental values of fairness and due process and protect our civil rights and civil liberties.”
On June 23rd, the Filipino American National Historical Society hosted their 16th Biennial Conference, A Pinoy State of Mind: Building Our Roots at John Jay College. We were proud to join the National Filipino American Lawyers Association, the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York and the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Oregon in presenting Justice Denied: Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio. In the 1970s, led by Filipino activists, workers in Alaskan canneries organized and filed class actions against unfair and discriminatory working conditions that had prevailed for decades against Asian American cannery workers. Although the Filipino workers lost their case before the United States Supreme Court, their efforts led Congress to pass an amendment to the Civil Rights Act in 1991 to achieve equal treatment and justice for workers of color. The reenactment cast wonderfully brought this tragic history back to life.
At the end of the re-enactment, several former Alaskan cannery workers attending this event stood up and shared their personal experiences with audience. The audience gave them a round applause. The story telling compelled many audience members to reflect on how much that generation had suffered and how much history has progressed.
Thank you to Connie Montoya and FALA New York for organizing this important session during the FANHS Conference. Thank you once again to Hon. Chin and Kathy Hirata Chin for once again leading a successful reenactment. For those wanting to learn more about this historical reenactment, please visit: http://reenactments.aabany.org/justice-denied-wards-cove-packing-v-atonio/
Write-up by AABANY Intern Claudia Shi.
WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is disappointed by the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court’s split decision announced today in United States v. Texas. The court did not reach a decision in a challenge to the President’s executive action on immigration, including the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The split outcome leaves in place the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision to block implementation of the programs.
“We are disappointed in the decision of the Supreme Court to not make a clear statement on the Fifth Circuit’s decision to enjoin the implementation of these important immigration policies. The outcome leaves over four million undocumented immigrants living in the shadow of deportation,” said NAPABA President Jin Y. Hwang. “Today’s result underscores the importance of Congress taking swift action to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
The lower court in this case temporarily blocked the implementation of the expanded DACA and DAPA programs, which affected an estimated 4.9 million undocumented and vulnerable immigrants, including approximately 1.3 million Asian Pacific Americans. Under these programs, eligible applicants would not be a priority for deportation and could apply for a temporary work authorization. The original DACA program remains unaffected and more than 100,000 Asian Pacific Americans remain eligible for that program.
NAPABA, along with a diverse coalition of 325 immigration, civil rights, labor, and social service groups, including the National Immigration Law Center, filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in this case to urge the Court to lift the injunction that has blocked the President’s executive action on immigration from moving forward. View the brief here.