AALAM Joins 62 APA Bar Associations in Supreme Court Amicus Brief Challenging President’s Third Muslim and Refugee Ban
The Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts (AALAM) joined the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and 61 affiliated national and local Asian Pacific American bar associations in filing an amicus brief in Trump v. State of Hawai`i (No. 17-965), to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 25, 2018. Together these Asian Pacific American bar associations urged the Court to support the injunction of President Trump’s Sept. 24, 2017, revised executive order barring refugees and individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
“The Asian Pacific American legal community has once again said that the President’s actions are discriminatory and unlawful,” said NAPABA President Pankit J. Doshi. “Lower courts from across of the country have repeatedly upheld injunctions on all three versions of the ban. NAPABA has argued in each of those cases that the ban violates key principles of our laws and harkens back to an era of invidious discrimination our country has rejected. Today, we again bring forward the consensus of the Asian Pacific American legal community urging the Supreme Court to uphold the Ninth Circuit’s ruling and reject discrimination under the color of law.”
The Trump Administration’s appeals in this case, State of Hawaii v. Trump, arises from the legal challenges to the third revised executive order, which was announced in Sept. 2017 and set to take effect Oct. 18, 2017. On Oct. 17, 2017, Judge Derrick K. Watson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii granted the temporary restraining order. The Ninth Circuit upheld the injunction on Dec. 22, 2017. NAPABA, whom AALAM is an affiliate of, filed amicus briefs in both courts.
The amicus brief describes decades of statutory exclusion of citizens of Asian and Pacific Island countries under early U.S. immigration law, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 — the first federal law to ban a group of people on the basis of their race. The Civil Rights Era marked a dramatic turning point that saw Congress dismantle nationality-based discrimination with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The brief explains that presidential discretion in the area of immigration and refugee admission, while broad, is limited by statute. The bar associations argue that President Trump’s revised order, with its anti-Muslim underpinnings, violates the unambiguous prohibition on discrimination established by Congress.
A related challenge exists in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump. Judge Theodore K. Chuang of the U.S. District Court of Maryland enjoined the visa ban on Oct. 17, 2017. The Fourth Circuit upheld his ruling on Feb. 15, 2018. NAPABA filed amicus briefs in support of the injunction in both courts.
NAPABA opposed earlier iterations of the executive order, including submitting amicus briefs at the District, Circuit, and Supreme Court level.
AALAM recognizes lead pro bono counsel, James W. Kim, a NAPABA member and partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, in Washington, D.C.; Mr. Kim’s team (including Cathy Zeman Scheineson, Matthew M. Girgenti, and Llewelyn M. Engel); NAPABA Amicus Committee co-chairs, Professor Radha Pathak of Whittier Law School and Albert Giang, a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in Los Angeles; and NAPABA Civil Rights Committee Co-Chair Meredith Higashi for their leadership drafting the brief, as well as recognizes the NAPABA staff for their efforts.
AALAM was joined on this Supreme Court amicus brief by 62 affiliated Asian Pacific American bar associations. A full listing of signatories includes:
AALAM CONDEMNS WEEI HOST CHRISTIAN FAURIA’S RACIST BEHAVIOR - February 13, 2018
The Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts (AALAM) strongly condemns the recent offensive, racist, and insensitive conduct of WEEI sports-talk radio host Christian Fauria on his last Friday’s program (2/9/18) wherein he mocked sports agent Don Yee, the agent for NFL players Tom Brady and Jimmy Garappolo, by imitating him using a racially stereotyped, over-the-top Asian accent. Such behavior was not only hateful, ill-conceived and repugnant, but also perpetuates ignorant, inaccurate stereotypes about Asian Americans. This was not only an insult to Don Yee (who is U.S.-born and speaks English without an accent), but it also belittles all Asian Americans and minorities despite their accomplishments.
While AALAM appreciates that Fauria has personally apologized to Don Yee for his conduct and that WEEI timely responded to criticism by issuing a 5-day suspension to Fauria, this is not the first time WEEI hosts have used disparaging and derogatory language during their radio shows and we call upon management and the larger community to take steps to ensure that WEEI and its employees reflect the values of inclusion, acceptance and mutual respect of their diverse audience.
To that end, AALAM applauds the recent actions of City of Boston Credit Union and Comcast Corp. of suspending their advertising on WEEI following the Fauria incident and encourages other advertisers and contributors to follow suit.
As an affinity bar association, we stand firmly against divisive, racist and discriminatory behavior in all its forms. We urge WEEI and the sports and media community to stand tall with us to make clear that there is no place for racism in our community.
AALAM APPLAUDS STATE LEGISLATORS' MOVE TOWARD EQUITY BY VOTING IN FAVOR OF DISAGGREGATED DATA COLLECTION FOR ALL COMMUNITIES - February 7, 2018
After testifying on behalf of a broad coalition at a long hearing before the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight on January 30, 2018, AALAM was thrilled to learn that the Joint Committee voted to move House Bill 3361 forward by establishing an inclusive commission tasked with expanding statewide racial and ethnic data collection through disaggregation to all racial and ethnic groups. Read the press release here.
AALAM JOINS COALITION OF MORE THAN 50 ORGANIZATIONS TO CALL FOR ASIAN AMERICAN DATA DISAGGREGATION AT STATE LEVEL - January 30, 2018
Photo Courtesy: Amy Mah Sangiolo. Legal Advocates Panel testifying in support of H.3361. From Left to Right: Eva Millona, Executive Director of Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition; Vatsady Sivongxay, AALAM Director and Chair of the Community Concerns Committee; Bethany Li, Senior Attorney leading the Asian Outreach Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services.
On January 30th, the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts (AALAM) joined a broad coalition of multiethnic residents, advocates and community service providers to testify at the State House in strong support of House Bill 3361 (H.3361), An Act requiring state agencies to collect self-identified and voluntary disaggregated data for the largest Asian American and Pacific Islander groups. AALAM submitted this letter of support to the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.
Data disaggregation is vital to better understand the needs and concerns of our diverse and multi-ethnic Asian American Pacific Islander communities and illuminate the unequal access and opportunity--as well as dismantling the “model minority” myth. With more accurate information, policy makers and service providers can better develop and direct program services, outreach, and funds to meet the needs of underserved disadvantaged members; promote civic engagement; increase multi-lingual education; advance civil rights; and allocate resources where there is need. As legal professionals, the data would help us improve access to legal services, quality interpreters, and funding for language assistance—especially to those populations that remain invisible.
Coalition Members and Supporters:
AAPI Progressive Action
Addressing Disparities in Asian Populations through Translational Research
Amherst College Asian Students Association
Amherst College South Asian Students’ Association
Asian American Civic Association
Asian American Commission
Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts
Asian American Policy Review – Harvard Kennedy School
Asian American Resource Workshop
Asian Community Development Corporation
Asian Pacific American Law Students Association – Harvard Law School
Asian Pacific American Network of the American College Personnel Association
Asian & Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health
Asian Pacific Islander Civic Action Network
Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council
Asian Women for Health
Association of Harvard Asian and Asian American Faculty and Staff
Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence
Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center
Boston College Asian American Studies Program
Boston Teachers Union
Brazilian Women’s Group
Brookline Asian American Family Network
Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association of Greater Lowell
Chinatown Community Land Trust
Chinese Progressive Association
The City School
Clean Water Action
Coalition for Social Justice
Community Labor United
Critical Race Studies in Education Association
Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
Essex County Community Organization
Greater Boston Legal Services, Asian Outreach Unit
Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition
Harry H. Dow Memorial Legal Assistance Fund
Immigrant Service Providers Group/Health
AALAM MEMBERS VOLUNTEER AT RICESTICKS & TEA -- January 13, 2018
Ricesticks and Tea, the only Asian food pantry in the Greater Boston area, is an emergency food pantry program that delivers culturally-appropriate food (noodles, jasmine rice, Chinese vegetables) together with other food from the Greater Boston Food Bank, of which RST is a member agency. Each month, RST delivers food to over 100 households, reaching almost 300 elders, adults and children. RST is unique in that it has been a completely volunteer-run food pantry program, run by a small group of committed volunteers. AALAM members have volunteered with RST for more than 10 years.