Category Archives: Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) blog

White House pool report and President Obama’s remarks at the the East Room celebration marking the end of AAPI Heritage Month

From pool report today:

A lipstick-smeared president marked the end of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in the East Room. He paid tribute to the contributions the AAPI community has made to the country, hailed the importance of immigration to America and called for lawmakers to find a way to fix today’s broken system. But before he could get to the tributes or the praise, he had to explain away the red smear on his right collar. After greeting the almost 300 in the audience with “Aloha,” he praised the warmth of their welcome. “A sign of the warmth,” he said, is “the lipstick on my collar.” He blamed the aunt of Jessica Sanchez. Sanchez, of Chula Vista, Calif., was the runner-up in the 11th season of American Idol. Making sure everybody could see the offending mark, the president pivoted, pointed to it and said, “Look at this.” He added, “I do not want to be in trouble with Michelle, so I am calling you out.”

Continue reading White House pool report and President Obama’s remarks at the the East Room celebration marking the end of AAPI Heritage Month

San Francisco Giants beat Nationals, 4-2; Immigrants win and lose, 13-5

DC’s favorite baseball team, the Nationals, lost to the San Francisco Giants in extra innings 4-2 when the Giants scored a run in the ninth to tie, and World Series hero Pablo Sandoval hit a walk-off homer in the 10th.

Back in DC, also in extra innings, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted that immigration reform package out of mark up and on to the Senate floor, 13-5.

Hard to say who won there.

The Gang of Eight’s compromise is still together, and a pathway to citizenship is still in play for 11 million undocumented immigrants.

But Asian Americans failed to get deleted provisions in the current law restored.

And in the biggest blow, same-sex advocates couldn’t even get a vote on an amendment that would allow for bi-national partners to re-unite.

Same-sex marriage is hard enough. Same sex immigration not even in the discussion.

Discrimination continues. That’s why 13-5 isn’t quite the victory it could have been.

See my 5/22 post on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.

 

 

 

Funny Hader send off on SNL had plenty of diversity—for a change; And advocates still optimistic when it comes to immigration reform

To my surprise, immigration advocates are optimistic despite all the DC scandals. There’s a feeling that reform is moving along with a real purpose, now that the House has announced it has reached a compromise to go up against the Gang of 8’s in the Senate.

See my piece on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.

 

SNL:

I suppose we should be happy that DJ Baby Bok Choy and the Kabuki lady represent!  But wasn’t Bobby Moynihan available to play either role in yellow face? (That would be SNL SOP, no?)

 

http://www.hulu.com/watch/491721

 

Linceblog: The Shrinking Giants in Canada; The growing trio of scandals in Washington; And, we’re half-way through AAPI month, have you hugged an AA or a PI yet?

I’m sorry, I must not have the proper immigration visa to comment on the San Francisco Giants poor performance in Toronto.  Multi-run defeats to a last place team? I commented at the start of the series, dismissing it saying ex-Giant, new-Blue Jay, Melky Cabrera was having a non-dairy creamer kind of season.  But he played more like 100 percent homogenized. And well, there are other things than baseball for a few days.

By the way, was that  really baseball? The turf seemed to baffle the Giants, who played like they were newcomers to cricket. That was it, right? It was cricket?

If you can’t trust baseball, what more the government? Between the IRS, Benghazi, and AP scandals,  I’ll have more on that later and how it could affect the immigration bill at www.aaldef.org/blog.

Oh, we’re also half-way done with Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month? So now you can officially celebrate if you’re half-Asian?  No, AAPI Month is for everyone!

It’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month? Really. Celebrate by fighting for a fair and inclusive immigration bill

In case it slipped your mind, it’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Come on, get AAPI!

If you’re non-Asian, let’s hope someone of Asian descent goes amok and greets you in an atypically loud, outlandish, and celebratory way. Sort of like Norm Mineta planting a wet one on Joe Biden at the APAICS dinner. (I don’t know if Norm did, but he should have.) 

It really is OK to show a little PDA (public display of Asian-ness), at least during this month.

For goodness sakes, it’s the law (Section 102, Title 36 of the U.S. Code). Right up there next to Flag Day, the day that compels many to wear Old Glory on their lapel. (Maybe you can find a lapel button with Bruce Lee’s picture on it?)

My hope is the month will also inspire our legislators not to screw with us too badly on that confounded compromise of an immigration bill. 

It’s mark-up time on that piece of Senate legislation offered up by the “Gang of Eight.” 

(Read the rest of my commentary on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.)

 

Immigration rallies preach to choir, earn sparse media coverage

I didn’t see much coverage on the May Day rallies on the level that I might have expected. That’s a barometer of sorts indicating tough sledding ahead.  I had hoped to see more of it in the mainstream, but only saw it covered in the international ethnic media.

(Maybe if they had an accented pop-culture star like PSY doing his thing, there would have been more crowds and media attention. It didn’t hurt the TODAY show this morning).

Given that even supporters want to change the bill, e.g., Asian Americans want more family reunification provisions, we still have a lot of compromising to go. If the Senate gets through the scheduled mark-up next week, one wonders if we will see something final by end of summer? There’s also rumbing in the House,  where the talk is reps want to deal with issues one at a time and not in some big burritto of a bill.

Stay tuned.

 

No jokes at First Presidential Press Conference since WHCD, but lots on sequester, immigration, and Jason Collins

I know the presser is a 100-day marker. But the WHCD was such a stark contrast. It’s definitely back to the somber stuff today.  Brief mention of the WHCD at the start, but Syria is the lead. Obama still unclear on what the U.S. should do. And even support efforts announced today seem to be a token gesture. A delicate fluid situation.

President was more clear on the sequester and defining the dysfunctional government and putting blame on Congress and its failure to do its job.

“It’s not my job to get them to behave,” said the president. 

 

(from televison coverage of press conference)

 

 

Obama’s example of the FAA instance exposed the short-sighted nature of the GOP. All it’s done is borrow money from airport improvements in the future, which hurts the U.S. long term. Obama said the best strategy is to address issues through a broader deal.

 Obama mentioned a “permission structure,” that may allow  those scared of their political base to reach compromise on budget issues.

 It was as blunt and detailed an answer, of the conseqeunces of sequester and how it  has hurt the country. No pussyfooting here.

“We are using our seed corn, short term.And the only reason we’re doing it is because right now we have some folks unwilling to make some simple changes to our tax code, for example to close loopholes that aren’t adding to our competitiveness and aren’t helping middle-class families,” said the president. “There are common sense solutions to our problems right now. I cannot force Republicans  to embrace those common sense solutions. I can urge them to, I can put pressure on them, I can rally the American people around those common sense solutions. But ultimately they themselves are going to have to say we want to do the right thing.”

The president indicated he understood Congress’ political dilemma. “It’s tough,” he said. “Their base thinks that compromise with me is somehow a betrayal. They’re worried about primaries. And I understand all that, and we’re going to do everything we can to create a permission structure for them to do what’s best for the country. But it’s going to take some time.”

Permission structure? Does he mean political cover so that conservatives can hide behind a tough vote?

The president also weighed in on what is could be the signature accomplishment of this term: Immigration.

The president praised the Gang of Eight’s efforts, saying it may not have been what he would have done, but it did meet the criteria: Border safety, strong employer provisions, improvements to the current bureaucracy, and that pathway to citizenship.

Obama praised the pathway as one where people can earn the right to legalize their status over time.

But that’s one of the contentious issues in the plan.

Obama said he’s open-minded. He’ll need to be. Already some House members have said they don’t want a big package but would rather take up the issue piece meal. 

Sound precarious?  It is. And this is the President’s best issue going forward.

Obama was almost out the door when he came back to the podium to discuss Jason Collins’ coming out statement.

Said the President:

“Yeah, I’ll say something about Jason Collins. I had a chance to talk to him yesterday. He seems like a terrific young man, and, you know, I told him I couldn’t be prouder of him. You know, one of the extraordinary measures of progress that we’ve seen in this country has been the recognition that the LGBT community deserves full equality, not just partial equality, not just tolerance but a recognition that they’re fully a part of the American family.

And, you know, given the importance of sports in our society, for an individual who’s excelled at the highest levels in one of major sports go ahead and say, this is who I am, I’m proud of it, I’m still a great competitor, I’m still seven feet tall and can bang with Shaq and, you know, deliver a hard foul — and for, you know, a lot of young people out there who, you know, are — are — are, you know, gay or lesbian, who are struggling with these issues, to see a role model like that who’s unafraid, I think it’s a great thing. And I think America should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly. And everybody’s part of a — part of a family, and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance, and not their sexual orientation.”

That was a question the president was glad to answer.

See my latest at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.