Today, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements on their meeting with President Barack Obama this morning:
Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (HI-02): "When we're talking about improving our schools and helping our children succeed, we need to talk to as many different stakeholders as possible. Asian American and Pacific Islander American students are a broad and diverse group, including Native Hawaiians, Filipinos, Micronesians, Samoans, and many others. We need disaggregated data to determine disparities so we can close achievement gaps. I asked the President to issue an executive order for all agencies to collect, report, and use disaggregated data to inform policy and program decisions. I know that the President, having grown up in Hawaii's multicultural environment, is sensitive to issues affecting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. I appreciate the fact that he took the time to sit down with the leadership of CAPAC to discuss some of our concerns."
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32), CAPAC Chair: "Today's meeting with President Obama was a productive and historic first meeting for our Caucus. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are the fastest growing population in the country, and despite the prevailing myth that we are a successful "model minority,' our community continues to face significant unmet needs. Today's meeting helped confirm that we have a partner and champion in President Obama. In addition to working with our caucus to tackle our community's most pressing concerns, from immigration and the economy to data collection and health disparities, he also committed to ramping up engagement with the AAPI community and ensuring that we have a seat at the table. We are grateful to the President for all that he has done, and we look forward to working with him to ensure that our government represents the collective interests of the AAPI community and all Americans."
Congresswoman Madeline Bordallo (GU), CAPAC Vice Chair: "Today, President Obama affirmed his Administration's commitment to addressing the concerns of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. I appreciate his efforts to address the concerns of the AAPI community in our country. Pacific Islanders, especially in the territories, are often overlooked, and today's meeting with the President was a positive step forward in addressing issues important to our community."
Congressman Mike Honda (CA-15), CAPAC Chair Emeritus: "Today's historic meeting with President Obama was extremely productive, and I commend the President for his strong leadership in hearing our concerns. The President has always shown a commitment to addressing the underserved needs of the AAPI community, and today only reinforced that notion. I am especially thankful that we were able to remind the President that comprehensive immigration reform is a top priority for our caucus and community, especially since family reunification and E-Verify disproportionately affect AAPIs. I look forward to continuing to work with the President in ensuring that the AAPI community is actively involved in the larger immigration debate."
Congressman Hansen Clarke (MI-13): "The President is committed to partnering with CAPAC to address the unique issues facing the AAPI community. Today's meeting is another step in the right direction in improving the lives of our people."
Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (AS): "Today, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) had its first meeting with President Obama, and I am pleased to have represented the people of American Samoa in this historic discussion. Our discussion was not only a significant advancement for the voice of the Caucus but also for the entire Asian Pacific American community. I extend my thanks to President Obama for his leadership in support of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) and I also thank him for taking the time to dialogue with CAPAC about our pressing concerns and recommendations. As the fastest growing demographic in the nation, the specific needs of APAs in the States and the Territories, including American Samoa, must be considered in key administrative decisions affecting our nation, and I am confident that this meeting will serve as a constructive step forward in strengthening the White House's engagement with our APA community."
Congressman Al Green (TX-09): "It was an honor to meet with the President, and I am confident that today's meeting will afford us an even greater opportunity to help him with issues of vital importance to the AAPI community."
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09): "I was pleased to attend today's meeting with the President and present CAPAC's vital agenda regarding the ongoing impact of healthcare disparities on America's communities of color. As Chair of CAPAC's Healthcare Taskforce, with the help of Chairwoman Chu's leadership and bold voice on issues that affect AAPI communities, I spoke with the President about our ongoing efforts to build upon the strong foundation set by the Affordable Care Act toward reducing health disparities. I also requested support for legislation that I sponsored, with the support of CAPAC, H.R. 2954, the Health Equity and Accountability Act, to eliminate the impact of healthcare disparities on our communities."
Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-05): "I was pleased to take part in a meeting today with President Obama and fellow CAPAC Members to discuss job creation, health disparity legislation, and other issues of importance to the AAPI community. I was specifically encouraged to hear the President's commitment to nominating both highly qualified and diverse candidates for judicial positions. I look forward to continuing to work with both CAPAC and the White House on each of these critical issues."
The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room of the White House and marked the first official meeting between the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and the President. There were a wide range of issues discussed, including immigration reform, judicial nominations, health disparities, data disaggregation, and ways to improve White House engagement with the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. The President and Members were joined by Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Cecilia Munoz, White House AAPI Initiative Director Kiran Ahuja, and CAPAC Executive Director Gene Kim.