Biden, Harris meet with Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander community leaders

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President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met with leaders and representatives from the Asian American (AA), Native Hawaiian (NH) and Pacific Islander (PI) communities on Thursday to discuss the surge in hate incidents.

Follow-up meeting: Biden and Harris convened with the leaders in March, following the Atlanta spa shooting that took the lives of six Asian women and two others, KHON2 reported.

  • Biden said after the follow-up meeting: “Today, we honor everyone impacted by this tragedy and we think about all the pain inflicted by this pandemic with the rise of hate crimes, the rise of harassment bullying and other forms of bias against Asian Americans.”
  • The president recognized the community’s contribution, being “on the front lines here from the beginning” and “critical to helping us vaccinate Americans.”
  • While acknowledging the effort still required to support the communities, Biden mentioned his infrastructure bill that would help fund efforts strengthening racial equality.

After the meet: AAPI leaders spoke to the press after the meeting and revealed how they urged the Biden administration to consider a path to citizenship for Dreamers and visa holders, ANI reported.

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  • According to Executive Director of Indian American Impact Neil Makhija, he “raised issues of immigration, voting rights and specifically green card backlog in context of explaining how country caps are remnants of exclusionary laws in the past, particularly enacted in the 20s.”
  • Makhija noted that Biden has an “acute awareness of the unfairness in the system.”

 

About a dozen leaders from various groups representing the communities were present in the meeting, including the Asian American Justice Center, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, and the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans.

Featured Image via NBC News (left), The White House (right)

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