Published: February 24, 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!
- Trump administration overturns transgender student protections issued under former President Obama
- Trump administration releases immigration rules and memos
- Federal judge blocks Medicaid defunding of Planned Parenthood in Texas
- Nation acknowledges annual Day of Remembrance, Japanese incarceration
Trump administration overturns transgender student protections issued under former President Obama
- On Wednesday, February 22, the Department of Justice and Department of Education revoked guidelines implemented under former President Obama that protected the rights of transgender students. The guidance was informed by Title IX, which protects against sex discrimination, and was issued to public schools receiving federal funding. The original guidance outlined the right for students to use any bathroom they felt most comfortable using, as well as instructions for teachers preferred names and pronouns in class.
- The new administration are disputing the definition of “sex discrimination” and rescinding the order in light of the pending U.S. Supreme Court case, G.G. v Gloucester County School Board, a case arguing for the right for a student in Gloucester County to use the school bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
- The Department of Education formerly submitted letter in support of the case, but was retracted under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
- Read OCA—Asian American Advocates’ statement here and the National Transgender Discrimination Survey results about AAPI discriminationhere.
Trump administration releases immigration rules and memos
- On Tuesday, February 21, President Trump and the Department of Homeland Security released new policy memos and guidance regarding aggressive national immigration enforcement.
- The memos outline directives for interior enforcement related to the searching, arresting, and deportation of immigrants, stating “…the Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.” Additionally, the memos outlined plans for increased Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, expansion of detention facilities, and an establishment of a new office through DHS for “victims of illegal alien crime,” drawing on false narratives and fear rhetoric regarding immigrants.
- CBS News polling reveals low approval ratings for Trump’s immigration plans.
- Read President Trump’s executive orders, implementation memos, and fact sheets here. Check out the following statements about the orders and memos:
- National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)— “Trump Administration’s New Deportation Policies Inhumanely Demonize Immigrants”
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)—“Asian Americans Advancing Justice Calls Latest Administration’s Actions on Immigration Unconscionable”
- South Asians Americans Leading Together—“SAALT Resolutely Objects to DHS Memos Creating Blueprint for Mass Deportations”
- National Immigration Law Center—“DHS Memos Lay Out Mass Deportation Blueprint”
Federal judge blocks Medicaid defunding of Planned Parenthood in Texas
- U.S. District Court Judge blocked a ruling that would have eliminated Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood in the state of Texas on February 21, 2017. Judge Sam Sparks determined that the footage submitted to evidence of Planned Parenthood’s alleged fetal tissue sales failed to justify withholding Medicaid funding.
- The win comes at a time when over 46 anti-abortion bans have been introduced in states across the country and the House of Representatives voted 230-188 to overturn a regulation implemented under President Obama that protected Title X funding for family planning providers who offer abortion services.
Nation acknowledges annual Day of Remembrance, Japanese incarceration
Sunday, February 19 marked the annual Day of Remembrance, a commemoration of the signing of the Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942. Executive Order 9066 was signed and issued during World War II and forced 120,000 Japanese Americans into incarceration camps. It was not until 1976 that the executive order was repealed by President Gerald Ford and little over ten years after that when the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 issued an apology and restitution to those families impacted by the executive order. Events were hosted across the country and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hosted a presentation in Washington, D.C. with the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and the Former Acting Solicitor General of the United States.
Keep an eye out for…
- Congress will return to session on Monday after a week of recess. Many members of Congress will b returning to Washington, D.C. after a series of contentious Town Halls and in district meetings, as constituents demanded answers about the Affordable Care Act, Planned Parenthood, and immigration.
- Trump is preparing a televised speech for Tuesday evening, outlining his agenda to Congress and the direction the administration is moving towards in 2017. It is the first address to Congress since the election. The speech will focus on tax reform, border enforcement, health care, and infrastructure.