Department of Justice Again Attempts to Drive Educational Inequity for SEAA, Underrepresented Communities

Washington, DC – SEARAC condemns the Trump Administration’s ongoing attacks on affirmative action, a vital policy that reduces deep, systemic gaps in educational attainment and employment opportunity for Southeast Asian American (SEAA), Black, Latinx, and other historically marginalized communities. We challenge the administration’s latest accusation of discrimination toward Asian American and white Yale University undergraduate applicants.

“These findings are yet another politically motivated attempt by the Trump Administration to dismantle civil rights protections and, in the process, divide communities of color,” said Katrina Dizon Mariategue, acting executive director of SEARAC. “In the wake of a great uprising for racial justice that has mobilized marginalized people across the country, the Trump Administration is wielding the harmful model minority myth to undermine Black and brown communities, as well as Asian American communities including Southeast Asian Americans. We reject these divisions and refuse to allow Asian Americans to be manipulated to deny others educational access and opportunity.”

SEAAs’ refugee legacy has challenged and unfairly limited our students’ opportunities in higher education. Census data show that 68.5% of Cambodian, 66.5% of Lao, 63.2% of Hmong, and 51.1% of Vietnamese individuals have not attended college. Affirmative action acknowledges that race limits opportunities for underserved students of color, like SEAAs, because of long-standing discrmination and structural inequities in the US educational system. Race-conscious admissions policies enable institutions to consider students’ unique backgrounds and the inequities they have faced as a factor among many others that shape the whole story of who they are. These policies expand educational opportunities and infuse into classrooms the diversity of perspective and life experience that enriches the education of all students, who will shape a more inclusive, equitable America that has long been denied to communities of color.