NAPABA Congratulates Judge Amul R. Thapar on Pending Nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

For Immediate Release
March 21, 2017

For More Information, Contact: 
Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
bschuster@napaba.org, 202-775-9555

WASHINGTON — On Monday, President Trump announced his intent to nominate Judge Amul R. Thapar to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. If confirmed, Judge Thapar would be the second South Asian American judge to ever serve on a federal appeals court and the fifth active Asian Pacific American federal appellate Article III judge.

“We congratulate Judge Thapar on the announcement of the President’s intent to nominate him to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit,” said Cyndie M. Chang, president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). “Judge Thapar has a long record of dedicated public service and, during his nine years on the bench, has demonstrated his excellence as a fair jurist who has the integrity and intellect to serve ably on the appellate court.”

After his confirmation by voice vote to his current seat in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Judge Thapar became the nation’s first South Asian American Article III judge in 2008. He was the first, and still is, the only Asian Pacific American Article III judge in the courts encompassed by the Sixth Circuit.

Judge Thapar is a 2015 recipient of the NAPABA Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award. He served as the keynote speaker at the 2007 NAPABA Convention and received the NAPABA Best Under 40 Award. Prior to his service on the bench, Judge Thapar was the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky and an Assistant U.S. Attorney. He began his legal career in private practice following clerkships with Judge S. Arthur Speigel of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and Judge Nathaniel R. Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He is a graduate of Boston University and the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

NAPABA commends President Trump for announcing his intent to nominate Judge Thapar to the Sixth Circuit. NAPABA thanks Senators McConnell and Paul for recommending Judge Thapar to the White House.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.

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).

NAPABA Opposes Proposed Elimination of Funding to the Legal Services Corporation

For Immediate Release
March 16, 2017

For More Information, Contact: 
Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
bschuster@napaba.org, 202-775-9555

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) strongly opposes the elimination of federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) as detailed in President Trump’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget. The LSC was formed with the critical mission of ensuring that all citizens have equal access to civil legal services and the justice system — regardless of their ability to pay for counsel.

“We call on Congress to reject this proposal and increase funding for the Legal Services Corporation,” said NAPABA President Cyndie M. Chang. “As Congress has recognized in a bipartisan manner, the LSC plays a critical role in ensuring access to justice for individuals of all backgrounds, regards of their ability to pay. Asian Pacific American attorneys work for legal aid programs funded by the LSC and engage in pro bono community assistance programs that have their roots in the LSC. Most significantly, the elimination of funding means that the most vulnerable in our country would not receive critical legal assistance.”

Each year, LSC assists 1.9 million families across the country in every state in our nation. Clients of legal services organizations represent all ethnicities and ages, including those who are limited English proficient, immigrants, the working poor, veterans, people facing foreclosure or evictions, families with children, farmers, people with disabilities, domestic violence victims, natural disaster victims, and the elderly. Without the strong support of civil legal aid, these individuals would be faced with the prospect of appearing in court alone and representing themselves, without the assistance of counsel.

NAPABA stands with other bar associations (including the American Bar Association), over 150 major law firms, and countless advocates who have spoken out on the importance of adequately funding the LSC. NAPABA strongly supports the LSC and efforts to provide legal assistance to vulnerable populations.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.

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).

NAPABA Files Amicus Brief Supporting the First Legal Challenge to President’s Revised Muslim and Refugee Ban

For Immediate Release

March 13, 2017

For More Information, Contact: 

Brett Schuster, Communications Manager

bschuster@napaba.org, 202-775-9555

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) filed an amicus brief in State of Hawaii v. Trump to support Hawaii’s challenge to President Trump’s March 6, 2017, revised executive order barring individuals from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees from entering the United States.

Filing just before midnight on March 7, Hawaii became the first state to challenge the revised order and the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii agreed to hear the case on an expedited schedule. Judge Derrick K. Watson will hear oral argument on the State’s motion for a temporary restraining order on March 15, the day before the revised order is to take effect.

“I look no further than NAPABA’s mission to underscore the imperative for NAPABA to file its own amicus brief on this very issue. The new executive order is no less invidious than its predecessor,” said NAPABA President Cyndie M. Chang. “Asian Pacific American communities historically have been excluded and restricted in immigration and naturalization policies and have experienced the tragedy of forced incarceration during WWII. We understand first-hand the harms that this kind of discrimination will inflict upon Muslim and refugee communities. We will not forget this particular anti-immigrant history, and we are compelled to share our historically-based legal perspectives with the Court.”

NAPABA’s amicus brief describes decades of statutory exclusion of citizens of Asian and Pacific Island countries under early U.S. immigration law, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 — the first federal law to ban a group of people on the basis of their race. The Civil Rights Era marked a dramatic turning point that saw Congress dismantle nationality-based discrimination with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The brief explains that presidential discretion in the area of immigration and refugee admission, while broad, is limited by statute. NAPABA argues that President Trump’s revised order, motivated by anti-Muslim purpose, violates the unambiguous prohibition on discrimination established by Congress.

“I thank the many members of the NAPABA legal community who supported NAPABA’s drafting and filing of this expedited brief,” continued Chang. “Particular thanks goes to our pro bono counsel at McDermott Will & Emery LLP and pro bono local counsel at Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing for their leadership on this important brief.“

NAPABA recognizes lead counsel, James W. Kim, a NAPABA member and partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, in Washington, D.C., Mr. Kim’s team (Mark Calaguas, David Gacioch, Andrew Genz, Matthew Girgenti, Emre Ilter, Neha Khandhadia, Philip Levine, Riley Orloff, Sara Raaii, Joshua Rogaczewski, Amandeep Sidhu, and Michael Stanek), and NAPABA Amicus Committee chair, Professor Radha Pathak of Whittier Law School, for their leadership drafting the brief, which also involved the efforts of NAPABA staffers. NAPABA is represented by local counsel Pamela W. Bunn and John Rhee, with the support of William Kaneko, of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Read the amicus brief here.

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 bschuster@napaba.org.

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).

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.

AABANY Statement Opposing President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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 atmain@aabany.org 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 main@aabany.org.

    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

    NAPABA Outraged by Trump PAC Spokesperson References to WWII Japanese Incarceration

    In times of sweeping changes facing our nation, Americans of all backgrounds must come together to move this nation forward — not backwards. NAPABA condemns the comments about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II made by Carl Higbie, a spokesman for the pro-Trump Great America PAC.                                    

    During an interview with Megyn Kelly on the Nov. 16, 2016, taping of Fox News’ “The Kelly File” regarding President-elect Donald Trump’s plan for a Muslim registry system, Higbie argued in favor of a plan modeled after the highly controversial National Security Entry-Exit Registration System implemented after 9/11. In so doing, Higbie stated, “We’ve done it based on race, we’ve done it based on religion, we’ve done it based on region. We’ve done it with Iran back — back a while ago. We did it during World War II with [the] Japanese.”

    These offensive and incendiary remarks invoked the distrust and xenophobia that led to the unjustifiable imprisonment of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II, a time that is considered to be one of the darkest moments in American history, in order to justify current policy proposals. This is unacceptable and such intolerance has no place in our country. After a divisive election, we must move forward as one and not instill fear into our nation’s citizens.

    The lesson of incarceration is that we cannot engage in discriminatory conduct and must oppose policies that profile and target the Muslim American community with hate and bigotry at its core.

    We must work together to unite our membership and our nation and to find common ground for a better path forward. We must refuse to act based on fear and intolerance. As history has shown, such actions do not make our country safer and reject the basic tenets of what it means to be Americans.

    For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, NAPABA communications manager, at 202-775-9555 or bschuster@napaba.org.