April 12, 2023 IN: Press Room
SEARAC Submits Comments to USCCR Addressing Anti-Asian Racism
Washington, DC — Yesterday SEARAC submitted two comments to the US Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) addressing the federal government’s response to anti-Asian racism. Specifically, SEARAC reiterated our opposition to increases in policing as a response to crimes against Asian Americans, as well as our longstanding support for affirmative action.
As refugees and descendents of refugees, and as survivors of war and genocide, Southeast Asian American (SEAA) communities know the devastating impacts of policing. With few available avenues for economic or social mobility due to misguided resettlement policies and racially inequitable laws, many SEAA refugees became entangled with the criminal legal system and were harshly punished through laws created during the “tough on crime” era. Though many have already served their time, became valued members of their families and communities, and turned their lives around, roughly 80% of the 15,000 SEAAs facing deportation today still have removal orders due to a past conviction. We have seen that discriminatory policing actually perpetuates anti-Asian violence and establishes a culture of distrust for communities of color. We must reimagine what healing and safety looks like. SEARAC supports comprehensive changes and long-term investment into our SEAA and Asian American communities and community-centered interventions that will actually keep our people safe.
Additionally, SEARAC rejects the false notion that affirmative action perpetuates anti-Asian racism. Conflating affirmative action – a civil rights tactic that has helped increase educational opportunity for decades, including for Asian Americans – with anti-Asian racism is incorrect and irresponsible. Affirmative action supports education equity by uplifting a student’s entire story, including the very real impact that race, ethnicity, and gender have on the life experiences of students of color. Affirmative action helps level the playing field for students of color, including SEAA students, who continue to face barriers to accessing educational opportunities. SEARAC reaffirms our support for affirmative action and condemns efforts to roll back these civil rights policies.