FACT SHEET: President Biden Establishes the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

On May 28, 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and delivering on the President’s commitment to reinstate and reinvigorate this historic Initiative.

The new Initiative is charged with driving an ambitious, whole-of-government agenda to advance equity, justice, and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities by:

  • Helping to coordinate a comprehensive Federal response to the rise in acts of anti-Asian bias and violence
  • Addressing the systemic lack of disaggregated data on AA and NHPI communities in Federal statistical systems
  • Expanding language access and language assistance programs for AA and NHPI individuals across Federal programs
  • Strengthening economic security and opportunity for AA and NHPI communities by empowering AA and NHPI entrepreneurs, building new workforce training opportunities, and promoting workplaces that are free from harassment against AA and NHPI workers
  • Addressing the concentration of poverty experienced in many AA and NHPI communities
  • Addressing disparities in educational outcomes for AA and NHPI students of all ages, and addressing bullying, harassment, and discrimination in our Nation’s schools
  • Advancing climate and environmental justice for AA and NHPI communities who are particularly impacted by the climate crisis and are overburdened by environmental degradation
  • Promoting inclusion and belonging for all AA and NHPI communities by strengthening public awareness and education about AA and NHPI communities, cultures, and traditions
  • Empowering AA and NHPI communities to be civically engaged, including through electoral participation
  • Building a Federal workforce where AA and NHPI public servants are leaders at the most senior levels of our government
  • Ensuring that AA and NHPI communities are empowered and equitably served by Federal funding, grants, and contracts

To read The White House’s full fact sheet, click here.

NAPABA | Statement on Executive Orders

For Immediate Release: Date: January 21, 2021

Contact: Priya Purandare, Executive Director

Reversing the Muslim Ban, Restoring DACA, and Promoting Diversity

WASHINGTON—The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) supports the efforts by President Biden to repeal the Muslim Ban, to preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion—values important to NAPABA, as outlined in the Executive Orders he signed yesterday.

“We applaud President Biden’s initial executive orders that specifically address many of the key issues that NAPABA cares about and has been advocating on,” said A. B. Cruz III, president of NAPABA. “We are encouraged by the Administration’s steps today to promote religious tolerance by reversing the Muslim Ban, fortify the DACA program to better protect DREAMers, and commit to promoting racial equity for all Americans. We look forward to working with the new administration on policies that meaningfully support and advance our community.”

NAPABA and our affiliated bar associations opposed the Muslim Ban, including filing amicus briefs in the Supreme Court. NAPABA supports the DACA program and efforts to find a bipartisan solution for the status of the undocumented in the country.

NAPABA congratulates President Biden and Vice President Harris on their historic inauguration.


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 in government and the judiciary on the local, state, and federal levels, 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.

NAPABA Responds to Revisions to Muslim and Refugee Ban

On Sunday evening, the president announced revisions to the Muslim and Refugee ban, following a review required under the March 6, 2017, Executive Order. North Korea, Venezuela, and Muslim-majority Chad, were added to the list of restricted countries that continues to include Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. The restrictions on travel vary from country to country, ranging from limits on the entry of government officials to bars on immigrant and nonimmigrant admission.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has consistently opposed this series of discriminatory executive orders. The addition of new countries does not correct the problems inherent in the original action, including its anti-Muslim underpinnings and statutory deficiencies. NAPABA will continue to oppose discriminatory immigration policies.

Read more about NAPABA’s position on the executive orders and the brief it filed in the Supreme Court here.



For Immediate Release: 9/15/2017

Executive Order Available Here

Order Protects Immigrants in New York From Fear and Intimidation

Action Also Forbids Law Enforcement Officers from Inquiring About or Disclosing Immigration Status Unless Investigating Illegal Criminal Activity

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued Executive Order 170 that prohibits state agencies and officers from inquiring about or disclosing an individual’s immigration status unless required by law or necessary to determine eligibility for a benefit or service. Law enforcement officers will also be prohibited from inquiring about immigration status unless investigating illegal criminal activity. This prohibition against inquiring into status includes, but is not limited to, when an individual approaches a law enforcement officer seeking assistance, is the victim of a crime, or is witness to a crime.

“As Washington squabbles over rolling back sensible immigration policy, we are taking action to help protect all New Yorkers from unwarranted targeting by government,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York became the Empire State due to the contributions of immigrants from every corner of the globe and we will not let the politics of fear and intimidation divide us.”

The Executive Order builds on Governor Cuomo’s commitment to ensure full protections for all immigrants in New York. In March, Governor Cuomo launched the Liberty Defense Project, the nation’s first public-private immigrant legal defense initiative, to respond to the surge in demand for help that is overwhelming nonprofit organizations serving immigrants. The partnership is supported by more than $10 million in funding to offer legal assistance and representation to immigrants in New York, regardless of their status, through a statewide network of attorneys and advocacy organizations.

Protecting New York’s Immigrants

New York State has and continues to serve as a beacon for immigrants.  For the past five years, New York State, through the Office for New Americans, has helped immigrants fully participate in New York State civic and economic life through a network of 27 community-based centers around the state that provide English classes, civic education, guidance on how to start / grow a business, and naturalization assistance. ONA also has a hotline, a toll-free, multi-lingual information center, as well as a dedicated website that guides New Americans to available resources. The hotline number is 800-566-7636 (operating 9AM-8PM (ET), Monday through Friday) and the website is www.newamericans.ny.gov.

Since taking office, the Governor has taken aggressive steps to provide assistance to immigrant communities. In 2011, he signed a wide-reaching Executive Order to ensure language access across state agencies, suspended the State’s participation in a federal program that required local law enforcement to help identify deportable individuals, signed legislation holding entities that defraud immigrants accountable, and established the Office for New Americans. He launched NaturalizeNY, the first public-private partnership of its kind to encourage and assist eligible immigrants in New York State with becoming U.S. citizens. As Attorney General, Governor Cuomo also worked to combat immigration fraud, having utilized general civil rights laws to successfully investigate and prosecute companies for defrauding immigrants. He also secured court judgments and settlements in excess of $23 million dollars on behalf of the state’s immigrant population.

The signed executive order can be viewed here, and its text is available below:

No. 170



WHEREAS, New York State will remain true to the ideals that founded this country, and will continue to welcome immigrants as a source of energy, and celebrate them as a source of revitalization for our State; and

WHEREAS, New York State’s residents make up one of the nation’s most diverse communities, as over 4.3 million immigrants reside within the State and over twenty percent of the State’s population is foreign-born; and

WHEREAS, immigrants residing in New York State are an essential part of the economic fabric of this State, as over 29% of all business owners in New York are foreign-born, such businesses generate millions of dollars in total net income, and the combined purchasing power of immigrant communities exceeds $165 billion dollars; and

WHEREAS, the reporting of unlawful activity by immigrant witnesses and victims is critical to strengthening ties between immigrants and law enforcement, reducing crime, and enhancing the State’s ability to protect the safety of all of its residents; and

WHEREAS, the New York State Constitution and the New York State Human Rights Law protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of national origin in the areas of education, benefits, employment, housing, and public accommodation, and the State is committed to enforcing those protections to the fullest extent of the law; and

WHEREAS, State government has a responsibility to ensure that services are provided equally, and consistent with civil rights laws, to all individuals eligible to receive them; and

WHEREAS, access to State services is critical to the vitality and well-being of immigrant communities and their continued integration into the State’s economic, civil, and cultural life; and

WHEREAS, providing State services to immigrant communities is necessary to meet the needs of the State’s diverse population, to maintain public confidence in State government and its agencies, and to comply with State and Federal civil rights laws; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ANDREW M. CUOMO, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of New York, do hereby order as follows:

A.            Definitions

1.            "State entity" shall mean (i) all agencies and departments over which the Governor has executive authority, and (ii) all public benefit corporations, public authorities, boards, and commissions, for which the Governor appoints the Chair, the Chief Executive, or the majority of Board members, except for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

2.            "Alien" shall mean any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.

3.            "Illegal activity" shall mean any unlawful activity that constitutes a crime under state or federal law. However, an individual’s status as an undocumented alien does not constitute unlawful activity.

B.            Agency and Authority Responsibilities Respecting the Privacy of Personal Information

1.            No State officers or employees, other than law enforcement officers as provided in B.3 infra, shall inquire about an individual’s immigration status unless:

a.            The status of such individual is necessary to determine his or her eligibility for a program, benefit, or the provision of a service; or

b.            The State officer or employee is required by law to inquire about such individual’s status.

2.            No State officers or employees, including law enforcement officers, shall disclose information to federal immigration authorities for the purpose of federal civil immigration enforcement, unless required by law. Notwithstanding such prohibition, this Order does not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any state employee from sending to, or receiving from, federal immigration authorities, information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual, as required by law.

3.            No law enforcement officers shall inquire about an individual’s immigration status unless investigating such individual’s illegal activity, provided however that such inquiry is relevant to the illegal activity under investigation. Nothing in this section shall restrict law enforcement officers from seeking documents for the purpose of identification following arrest.

a.            This prohibition against inquiring into status includes, but is not limited to, when an individual approaches a law enforcement officer seeking assistance, is the victim of a crime, or is witness to a crime.

b.            Law enforcement officers may not use resources, equipment or personnel for the purpose of detecting and apprehending any individual suspected or wanted only for violating a civil immigration offense. Law enforcement officers have no authority to take any police action solely because the person is an undocumented alien. This includes identifying, questioning, detaining, or demanding to inspect federal immigration documents.

G I V E N under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State in the City of Albany this fifteenth day of September in the year two thousand seventeen.


Secretary to the Governor

Additional news available at www.governor.ny.gov
New York State | Executive Chamber |[email protected] | 518.474.8418

Hawai’i v. Trump: Order Granting Motion to Convert TRO to PI

Hawai’i v. Trump: Order Granting Motion to Convert TRO to PI

Press Release: NAPABA Applauds Restraining Order Against President’s Revised Muslim and Refugee Ban

For Immediate Release
March 15, 2017

For More Information, Contact: 
Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
[email protected], 202-775-9555

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) applauds the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii’s nationwide order to halt President Trump’s March 6, 2017, revised executive order barring individuals from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees from entering the United States, which would have gone into effect on March 16.

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson granted the State of Hawaii’s motion for a temporary restraining order hours after the hearing, which was held earlier today. He concluded that Hawaii had met its burden of establishing a strong likelihood of success on the merits of its Establishment Clause claim, that irreparable injury would likely occur if the executive order was not halted, and that the “balance of the equities and public interest” warranted the relief.

On March 12, NAPABA filed an amicus brief in support of Hawaii, describing the history of the statutory exclusion of Asians and Pacific Islanders under early U.S. immigration law — including the first federal law to ban a group of people from entering the country on the basis of race — prior to the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which outlawed nationality-based discrimination. NAPABA argued that President Trump’s revised order, with its anti-Muslim underpinnings, violates this unambiguous prohibition on discrimination established by Congress.

The court agreed with Hawaii’s assertion that religious animus motivated the revised order. Noting the Muslim-majority populations of the countries at issue, Judge Watson wrote, “It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam.”

NAPABA will continue to work to ensure the executive order is permanently struck down by the courts.

Read Judge Watson’s order here (PDF).

Read NAPABA’s amicus brief here.

Read the statement of NAPABA and the South Asian Bar Association – North America, joined by 14 affiliates, against the revised executive order.

Read the March 6, 2017, statement of NAPABA and the South Asian Bar Association – North America, joined by 14 affiliates, against the revised executive order.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at202-775-9555 or [email protected].

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of almost 50,000 attorneys and approximately 75 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.

NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, 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.

To learn more about NAPABA, visit www.napaba.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@NAPABA).


Flushing, New York – On March 6, 2017, the President signed an executive order that bans immigration from six Muslim-majority countries and suspends the United States’ refugee program. This order revises and replaces an order signed on January 27 that suffered numerous defeats at the courts, culminating in a total injunction against the order from the 9th Circuit.

The President is turning his inflammatory rhetoric and hate into federal policy, and this intensely divisive climate has already had devastating consequences. This weekend, a Sikh man was shot in Washington. The week before, Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot and killed in Kansas. Both shootings are believed to be racially motivated.

The new executive order runs counter to the MinKwon Center’s mission and values, and James Hong, Interim Executive Director, released the following statement:

“These executive orders can be revised a thousand more times, but the intent has always been clear. The travel ban has never been about public safety. Rather, the Trump administration is using xenophobia and Islamophobia to divide the nation, discriminate against immigrants based on religion, and ignore a growing humanitarian refugee crisis. Since its founding in 1984, the Minkwon Center for Community Action has worked to improve the lives of our immigrant communities, and as such, we continue to strongly oppose the Trump administration’s draconian policies designed to shut the doors on immigrants. We are proud to stand with our South Asian and Muslim allies against these hateful measures.”

For more information, contact:
James Hong

[email protected]

NAPABA and SABA Condemn the President’s Second Attempt to Exclude Refugees and Implement a Muslim Ban

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA) condemn President Trump’s new executive order that includes many of the discriminatory provisions of his earlier order, which also sought to stop refugees from entering the United States and halt immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. These orders, which are based on the misguided idea that certain religious and ethnic populations are more prone to violence, are incompatible with American values, and will not make our communities safer or our nation stronger. Notably, the order, continues to 1) suspend refugee admission for 120 days, 2) reduce and limit the number of refugee admissions, and 3) targets individuals from six Muslim-majority countries, suspending entry of individuals for 90 days, with some exceptions.

“The executive order is a continuation of the same policy that discriminates against and devalues refugees and members of the Muslim community,” said NAPABA President Cyndie Chang. “We must refuse to act out of fear and intolerance. We must not return to the dark chapters of our history where we judged people by the color of their skin, how they prayed, or where their family came from. We must stand up for our values of equity, justice, and opportunity.”

“The President’s Executive Action does nothing more than advance an anti-Muslim agenda espoused during the campaign under the guise of National Security,” said SABA President Vichal Kumar. “A refugee, by definition, is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. The supposed justification for this Executive Action punishes this person for the very same war and persecution that is causing them to leave in the first place.”

The new executive order clarifies it is not applicable to certain individuals, such as valid visa holders whose documents were issued on or before Jan. 27, 2017, lawful permanent residents, and dual-national passport holders. The order will take effect on March 16, 2017.

The executive order continues to require regular reports be published on suspected criminal activity committed by foreign nationals and refugees. When combined with reporting requirements under other immigration related executive orders, these reports will generate greater mistrust and fear of immigrant communities.

Both NAPABA and SABA joined litigation against the executive order enacted on Jan. 27, 2017. Our members have been at the airports assisting families, in the field educating communities about their rights, and in the courts supporting local and national pro bono efforts. Read our original statement here.

NAPABA and SABA join our fellow attorneys, the Asian Pacific American community, and Americans of all backgrounds in reiterating our commitment to diversity and justice. We remain committed to ensuring that all are free from discrimination and racial and religious profiling.

For more information, contact:

NAPABA is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and over 75 national, state, and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA engages in legislative and policy advocacy, promotes APA political leadership and political appointments, and builds coalitions within the legal profession and the community at large. NAPABA also serves as a resource for government agencies, members of Congress, and public service organizations about APAs in the legal profession, civil rights, and diversity in the courts.

SABA North America (formerly NASABA/North American South Asian Bar Association) is a voluntary bar organization and serves as an umbrella organization to 26 chapters in the United States and Canada. SABA North America is a recognized forum for professional growth and advancement for South Asian attorneys in North America and seeks to protect the rights and liberties of the South Asian community across the continent. Learn more at www.sabanorthamerica.com.

New York County Lawyers Association Statement on Recent Remarks by President Donald J. Trump about Federal Judiciary

New York County Lawyers Association Statement on Recent Remarks by President Donald J. Trump about Federal Judiciary

AABANY Statement Opposing President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration

January 30, 2017

Contact: Yang Chen, Executive Director
(212) 332-2478

AABANY publicly states its strong opposition to President Trump’s January 27, 2017 Executive Order suspending entry of all individuals, including students, visitors and even U.S. lawful permanent residents, from seven Muslim-majority countries and of refugees from all countries. The President’s actions lead the country down a path that is reminiscent of dark periods in American history that Asian Americans know well.

Asian Americans remember the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was enacted in 1882 and lasted over six decades until its repeal in 1943. When the Supreme Court ruled on the legality of the Chinese Exclusion Act, it decided that the law was justified on grounds of national security. The Act targeted a single race, barring all Chinese laborers from entering the U.S. and prohibiting all Chinese, even those who had lived in the U.S. for most of their lives, from becoming naturalized citizens. Upon traveling outside the U.S., even Chinese who had permanently settled into the U.S. were subject to strict interrogation and in many cases barred from re-entry.

Asian Americans remember President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 in 1942, which forcibly relocated and incarcerated people of Japanese descent, including U.S. citizens, in internment camps. Many Japanese Americans lost their homes and possessions, even though a U.S. intelligence report existing at that time determined that Japanese Americans as a whole did not pose a national security threat. January 30 marks the birthday of Fred T. Korematsu, one of the Japanese Americans who challenged the order in court. We can only speculate today whether that undisclosed intelligence report would have yielded a different result in his Supreme Court case. We should strive to learn the lessons of history and not allow fear and bigotry to lead to similar injustices in present day America.

President Trump’ s Executive Order appears to be grounded in racism and xenophobia, discriminating against a population in the name of national security. Targeting this population violates the most fundamental and core values of America, a country founded by immigrants and religious freedom.

What AABANY is doing includes:

  • ●          AABANY and Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (FALA-New York) are co-hosting a webinar on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. ET on “Understanding Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration” to provide greater understanding of these orders and their impact on the immigrant community.
  • ●          AABANY is collaborating with other bar organizations to hold a CLE workshop on habeas corpus that will allow volunteers to provide emergency legal services to detained persons from affected countries in U.S. airports.
  • ●          AABANY has joined Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Immigrant Defense Fund and will coordinate with the Office of New Americans on programs and initiatives to provide representation and assistance to immigrants.
  • ●          AABANY will continue to collaborate with organizations such as the New York Immigration Coalition on identifying ways to address the needs of affected populations in light of President Trump’s Executive Order. 
  • We invite and encourage attorneys to contact us if they wish to volunteer for any of the above. We invite members of the public to contact us if they need assistance. AABANY can be contacted by email at[email protected] or by phone at (212) 332-2478.

    For more information, please contact Yang Chen, AABANY Executive Director, at (212) 332-2478, or direct any inquiries to [email protected].

    The Asian American Bar Association of New York is a professional membership organization of attorneys concerned with issues affecting the Asian Pacific American community. Incorporated in 1989, AABANY seeks not only to encourage the professional growth of its members but also to advocate for the Asian Pacific American community as a whole. AABANY is the New York regional affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA).

    Additional information about AABANY is available at www.aabany.org

    Follow our blog at www.blog.aabany.org

    Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aabany

    Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aabany

    Find us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/aabany