National and state policy advocacy

SEARAC lifts the voices of Southeast Asian American communities in Washington, DC, and Sacramento, CA, and strengthens their capacity to push for policy change.


Southeast Asian American (SEAA) students face multiple barriers to education. However schools and policymakers often lump them together with all other Asian American students, rendering them invisible. SEARAC’s education policy work pushes for better data on SEAA student needs and outcomes. We also advocate for the rights of English learner students and their families, school engagement of our immigrant and refugee parents, college access for low-income students, community-tailored programs like Asian American & Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, and civil rights protections for students.

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Southeast Asian refugees are three to four times more likely to be deported on the basis of an old criminal conviction compared to other immigrants. SEARAC’s immigration work uplifts the rights of our Southeast Asian American families to stay together and champions the value of second chances. We fight to change outdated immigration laws that make it almost impossible for many families to fight deportation.

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Southeast Asian American elders have some of the highest rates of limited English proficiency of any ethnic group, and are more likely to live in poverty. SEARAC supports community-based organizations across the country who serve and support our elders. We also collaborate with the Diverse Elders Coalition to uplift the needs of diverse elders of color, native elders, and LGBTQ+ elders.

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Many of our Southeast Asian refugee communities continue to bear the visible and invisible wounds of war. Prior to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, many families struggled to afford health insurance. SEARAC’s health work fights to protect access to affordable health care coverage, and promotes culturally and linguistically appropriate health and mental health care to address health disparities for our immigrant and refugee communities.

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Numbering close to one million, about one third of Southeast Asian Americans in the United States live in California. SEARAC’s office in Sacramento leads powerful advocacy at the California Capitol to represent and amplify California’s diverse Southeast Asian American communities. SEARAC partners with 25 community-based organizations across the state to deepen local and statewide advocacy efforts in order to fight for racial and health equity including access to affordable health care, disaggregated data, education equity, gender justice, and immigrant rights.

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