For Immediate Release: June 12, 2020
Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director
WASHINGTON – The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) denounces the introduction of the SECURE CAMPUS Act. The bill introduced by Senator Tom Cotton and Senator Marsha Blackburn, along with a companion bill introduced by Congressman David Kustoff, will prohibit Chinese STEM graduate students from receiving a visa to study in the United States under the presumption that all Chinese STEM students engage in espionage.
“Asian Pacific Americans have faced a long history of discrimination and exclusion in the United States. This includes the Chinese Exclusion Act, Japanese American Incarceration, the post-9/11 racial profiling of Arabs, Sikhs, Muslims and South Asians, and the targeting of Asian American scientists,” said Bonnie Lee Wolf, President of NAPABA. “The SECURE CAMPUS Act uses xenophobic vitriol to divide our country, and by extension, further incites fear and hatred toward Asian Pacific Americans. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Anti-Asian sentiment is at an all-time high. We must continue to strongly denounce racist rhetoric.”
The bill seeks to exclude Chinese graduate students from attending STEM programs in the U.S. and to block federal funding from any institution that has participation from these students. “Graduate students from China and other countries have come to the United States for educational opportunities for decades. They have made substantial contributions to our society and have become U.S. citizens,” said Wolf. “At least 10 Nobel Prize winners in STEM fields and over a dozen astronauts are Asian Pacific Americans who are immigrants or are the children of immigrants.”
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) represents the interests of approximately 50,000 legal professionals and nearly 90 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.