SEARAC Reacts to State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC – This evening, President Biden gave his annual State of the Union address, through which he recounted his Administration’s recent accomplishments and plans for supporting Americans. Quyên Đinh, Executive Director of SEARAC, responds with the following:

“The past year held significant national policy wins for Southeast Asian Americans. Legislatively, we saw the reintroductions of two historic bills – one, if passed into law, would make the educational experiences of diverse Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) children visible in student data; the other would stop the unjust deportations of Southeast Asian refugees and protect their right to be with their families, their right to work, and their right to peace. As SEARAC works in pursuit of our goals to achieve equity for Southeast Asian American (SEAA) communities, we call on the Biden administration for the same.

We are encouraged by President Biden’s commitment to making health care more affordable and accessible, as well as his multiple promises to support seniors and their caregivers. Medicare and Medicaid are critical to ensuring SEAAs – who resettled in the US through incredible strength, but continue to struggle with health challenges and economic security in the aftermath of war and displacement – can thrive. We also appreciate the President’s remarks on increasing access to higher education through Pell Grants and the Minority Serving Institutions program, which includes Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs). In light of these promises, we remind the Administration that equitable and representative data are necessary to ensure that the President’s plans include all Americans. We eagerly await the Administration’s update to the federal race and ethnicity standard, expected to be released this summer.

Yet, we are greatly disappointed by the President’s remarks on immigration and his use of dehumanizing rhetoric. We recently condemned efforts by Congress to pass an international aid funding bill tied to anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policy changes – a bill that President Biden helped broker and continues to stand by. As representatives of the largest refugee community resettled in US history, we urge him to act decisively to protect refugees and immigrants, instead of trading away their essential rights for a ‘compromise’ that would harm so many people, families, and communities. If the President is serious about fixing the immigration system and keeping families together, we urge him to instead take the administrative actions outlined in the Platform for Immigrant Justice.

SEARAC thanks the Biden-Harris administration for the historic progress it has facilitated for our communities. We look forward to continuing to work with the administration to ensure that all Americans, including SEAA and AANHPI communities, can thrive and live with dignity and compassion.”

Media contact: Elaine Sanchez Wilson /