URGING ACTION. President Barack Obama speaks at the Asian
Pacific American Institute of Congressional Studies (APAICS)
awards dinner in Washington, D.C. At the dinner, Obama urged
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to fight bigotry and to
press congress to update U.S. immigration policy. (AP
From The Asian Reporter, V26, #10 (May 16, 2016), page
President Obama urges Asian Americans to stand
up to bigotry
By Darlene Superville
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON ó President Barack Obama this month urged Asian
Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to fight bigotry and to
press congress to update U.S. immigration policy.
Obama said Americaís tradition is to welcome newcomers
because it was founded by immigrants. He said that tradition
also makes it difficult to understand why some people are
blocking efforts to overhaul U.S. immigration laws.
"We donít simply welcome new immigrants. We are born of
immigrants," Obama told hundreds attending the annual awards
dinner of the Asian Pacific American Institute of Congressional
Studies (APAICS). The nonpartisan, nonprofit organization
promotes AAPI participation and representation in politics.
Comprehensive immigration legislation cleared the senate in
2013, but house leaders did not bring the bill up for a vote.
Obama has used his executive authority to shield some immigrants
living illegally in the country from deportation, but more than
two dozen states, led by Texas, challenged his action in federal
The Supreme Court recently heard arguments in the case and a
decision is expected by the end of June.
In his remarks, Obama said: "The actions Iíve taken on my own
canít take the place of what we really need, which is congress
to pass comprehensive immigration reform. ... You have the power
to push congress to do it."
He said the AAPI community is the fastest-growing minority
group in the U.S., but is also significantly underrepresented at
the ballot box.
In a reference to Donald Trump, the likely Republican
presidential nominee, Obama urged the audience to push back
against anti-immigrant sentiment, especially from people who
stoke such feelings for political gain.
Trump has called for barring Muslims from entering the
country, and also has pledged to deport the estimated 11 million
people living illegally in the U.S.
Obama said that just as the U.S. has moved beyond "No Irish
need apply" signs, questioning the loyalty of Catholics,
persecuting Chinese immigrants, and its treatment of Japanese
Americans and immigrants during World War II, "we are going to
move beyond todayís anti-immigrant sentiment, as well."
"We will live up to our ideals," said Obama.