Published: February 17, 2017
AP(Eye) on the Hill is our weekly highlight of significant federal updates, particularly those that impact AAPI communities regarding reproductive, immigration, and economic justice. Learn about NAPAWF’s and other national AAPI groups’ federal policy work while you’re out on the ground!
- Fears of immigration arrests and raids rise over the nation
- Andrew Puzder, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, withdraws
- More of Trump’s Cabinet nominees approved
- AAPI commission members resign as an act of resistance
- Senators introduce legislation to protect immigrants
Fears of immigration arrests and raids rise over the nation
Photo Credit: Associated Press/WMAR News)
- Reports of raids and arrests by ICE have appeared around the US. The Federal Government said captured at least 683 of what they call “criminal aliens” last week. At least 186 people taken had no criminal history.
- Seattle, WA: Daniel Ramirez Medina, a DACA recipient has been stripped of DACA protections. Medina’s attorneys argue the arrest was unlawful. ICE officials forged documents suggesting Medina had gang history.
- El Paso, TX: A trans woman was arrested inside a courthouse after her hearing to obtain a protective order against an abusive partner. Though ICE claimed they arrested her outside the courthouse, tapes reveal that they waited until she was done speaking to the judge and arrested her inside.
Andrew Puzder, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, withdraws
Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images
- Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination on February 15th after losing support from Senate Republicans.
- As CEO of CKE Restaurants, Puzder had received criticism for his anti-worker policies, including denial of overtime benefits and support of poverty-wage policies. Amid new information regarding past domestic abuse allegations, as well as tax concerns, public support for Puzder fell. 4 Republican Senators on the HELP Committee publicly voiced doubts over Puzder’s personal employment practices.
- Trump has since nominated Alexander Acosta, the only Hispanic nominee in his cabinet, for Secretary of Labor. The Senate confirmed Acosta, a Florida law school dean and former assistant attorney general, for other positions three times previously. While Acosta has faced criticism for giving millionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein a “sweetheart” deal and failing to protect minority voting rights, his testimony before Congress regarding the protection of Muslim civil rights suggests a smoother confirmation process.
More of Trump’s Cabinet nominees approved
- Former House Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) was confirmed as Director of the Office of Management and Budget on February 16th in a 51-49 vote. Mulvaney is expected to help craft a budget that will drastically cut Medicare, Social Security, and infrastructure programs.
- David Shulkin, the only member of the Cabinet staying from the Obama administration, was unanimously confirmed on February 13th for Secretary of Veteran Affairs. A doctor for over 30 years, Dr. Shulkin was undersecretary for the VA prior to his confirmation, and his confirmation was widely supported by veterans’ organizations.
- Scott Pruitt was confirmed on Friday, February 17th to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Democrats kept the Senate in session overnight to in an attempt to delay the vote until the release of Pruitt’s emails regarding his ties to the oil and fossil fuel companies in March, but Republicans pushed forward a vote.
- Seema Verma, a private consultant for health insurance programs, started hearings in the Senate on February 16th. Verma previously worked with Vice President Pence in Indiana to limit the expansion of the ACA in Indiana. Read NAPAWF’s statement on Seema Verma and Trump’s other AAPI nominees here.
AAPI commission members resign as an act of resistance
Members of the Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
Photo Credit: WHIAPPI/FLICKR
- On February 16, 16 members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islanders submitted their resignation to the President, citing “significant concerns about the Trump Administration’s policies regarding issues crucial to AAPI communities such as immigration, health care, and education.”
- The commission—an initiative established to discuss and move forward issues affecting AAPI communities—was developed under President Bill Clinton in 1999.
- Read NAPAWF’s statement on this strong act of resistance here!
Senators introduce legislation to protect immigrants
- Senators Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada), and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) announced the introduction of new legislation to rescind Trump’s Executive Order on Interior Enforcement.
- This executive order directs the Dept. of Homeland Security to prioritize the deportation of a vast majority of undocumented immigrants living and contributing to our communities. The Senators highlighted the need for comprehensive immigration reform to keep hard-working immigrant families together.
- See NAPAWF’s statement on this much-needed legislation here!
Keep an AP(Eye) out for...
- Lawmakers are on recess for the next week, many preparing to leave Washington, D.C. and return to their hometowns.
- People across the nation are planning on attending local Town Hall meetings and scheduling in-district meetings to discuss their concerns regarding the new administration, immigration, healthcare, and reproductive rights, and other policy concerns.