WASHINGTON — National leaders representing Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander organizations met May 8 with President Barack Obama to discuss immigration reform, access to affordable health care for all Americans, and civil rights protections.
Priscilla Ouchida, executive director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), participated in the meeting along with leaders from other national AAPI organizations.
Obama discussed his call for common-sense immigration reform that will strengthen the economy and grow the middle class. He emphasized that immigration reform continues to be a top legislative priority and that he looks forward to working with the AAPI community to achieve that goal.
The leaders expressed their support for the principles that the president and key senators working on immigration reform have laid out and their strong desire for a bill that provides a pathway to earned citizenship and supports family unity. The leaders also expressed their commitment to working with Congress to strengthen the legislation that is being considered.
The president and the leaders also discussed a number of issues of importance to Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, including efforts to provide affordable, accessible health care to AAPI communities.
The meeting included senior White House officials and staff from the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Issues that were presented included the needs of low-income and limited-English-proficient individuals, bullying and harassment, federal recognition of native lands and immigrant integration, and the need to repeal provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) relating to indefinite detention.
“This was a historic meeting for the AAPI community,” said Ouchida. “The meeting represented an extraordinary commitment on the part of the president to work with JACL and other AAPI organizations on issues of national importance, and allowed our community to put our issues on the table.”
• Jeffrey Caballero, executive director, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations
• Gregory Cendana, executive director, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
• Kathy Ko Chin, president and CEO, Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum
• Robin Danner, president and CEO, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement
• Lisa Hasegawa, executive director, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
• Tom Hayashi, executive director, OCA National Center
• Bill Imada, chairman, Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship
• Deepa Iyer, chair, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, and executive director, South Asian Americans Leading Together
• Daphne Kwok, chair, President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
• Floyd Mori, president and CEO, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies
• Mee Moua, president and executive director, Asian American Justice Center
• Priscilla Ouchida, executive director, Japanese American Citizens League
• Doua Thor, executive director, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
• Miriam Yeung, executive director, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
• Dae Joong “DJ” Yoon, executive director, National Korean American Service and Education Consortium