March 30, 2022 IN: National, Press Room
SEARAC Responds to President’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Proposal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2022
Elaine Sanchez Wilson
Director of Communications and Development
WASHINGTON, DC – On March 28, President Biden released his Presidential Budget for fiscal year 2023, which includes increased funding in the areas of education and mental health. The budget also significantly funds caregiving programs for older Americans and includes reductions to immigrant detention beds, a major testament to the organizing of immigrant rights groups. Quyen Dinh, SEARAC Executive Director, released the following statement:
“The President’s budget is a strong first step towards creating parity between mental and physical health coverage for our communities. For too long, Southeast Asian American communities have lacked access to meaningful mental and behavioral health care, despite significant rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma resulting from our experiences during the Vietnam War and subsequent resettlement in the United States.
For our communities to truly heal, Congress must work quickly to build on the budget and ensure that the funded programs will be accessible to our communities by increasing support for culturally and linguistically appropriate services. Similarly, funds must also be made available to increase outreach to our communities and address the mental health stigma that remains a consistent barrier to care. By addressing these gaps, in addition to the substantial funding for caregiving and programs aimed at supporting older Americans, would give our elders the greatest opportunity to continue to thrive.
SEARAC is also pleased to see a strong education proposal that includes increased funding for recruiting diverse teachers, school counselors and psychologists; strengthening Asian American Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions and other Minority Serving Institutions; and supporting English language learners. These proposals, in addition to the increased funding to Pell grants and the intention to double Pell grants by 2029, should significantly improve the educational opportunities of Southeast Asian American students. In particular, the increased support for school counselors and psychologists is more pivotal than ever as our students continue to deal with increased anti-Asian violence in their day-to-day lives.
In order for our students to thrive, Congress must ensure that funds are allocated to increase the number of culturally and linguistically competent mental health professionals in our schools. Additionally, Congress must go further than the budget and drastically increase funding support for AANAPISIs while also encouraging the Office of English Language Acquisition to continue to fund the Asian American and Pacific Islander Data Disaggregation Initiative at one million dollars.
We are also encouraged by the proposed cuts to immigrant detention beds, funding for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and support for refugee resettlement. However, we echo the calls from our partners at Defund Hate and urge Congress to divest from our cruel immigration enforcement and incarceral system and divert those funds to support the programs and services aimed at improving the lives of our most vulnerable communities.”