Joe Biden

FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration Advances Equity and Opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities Across the Country

May 09, 2024

President Biden and Vice President Harris celebrate the diversity of cultures, breadth of achievement, and remarkable contributions of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) communities, while also recognizing the systemic barriers to equity, justice, and opportunity that still put the American dream out of reach for far too many AA and NHPI people across the United States. For more than three years, the Biden-Harris Administration has leveraged the full force of the Federal Government to ensure the promise of America for all AA and NHPI communities — including by issuing an Executive Order establishing the President's Advisory Commission and White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI). In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration has delivered the most equitable economic recovery on record with nearly 15 million jobs created, including historic AA and NHPI small business growth. We are also working to ensure equal access to a high-quality education, expand affordable healthcare for children and families, combat hate, improve disaster recovery, preserve indigenous heritage and lands, and protect civil rights by advancing language access and data equity. The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to investing in the futures of all AA and NHPI communities.

Advancing Inclusion and Opportunity for AA and NHPI Communities
Since the President's Day One Executive Order (EO), the Biden-Harris Administration has worked to advance racial equity and ensure the full and fair participation of all people in American life. This includes improving longstanding federal data collection and reporting practices that historically have lacked appropriate disaggregation, which in turn have too often contributed to painful and enduring stereotypes, obscured disparities within AA and NHPI communities, and failed to measure, reflect, and be responsive to the diversity of AA and NHPI experiences.

  • Expanding and building capacity for disaggregated data. In April 2022, the White House released recommendations for increasing the collection of data to measure equity and better represent the diversity of the American people, including AA and NHPI communities. In March 2024, the White House Office of Management and Budget revised the Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity for the first time in 27 years, helping ensure that AA and NHPI individuals can more fully self-identify by specific ethnicity.
  • Expanding language access and preserving linguistic identity. The Biden-Harris Administration is reducing barriers for people with limited English proficiency by strengthening federal language access services and ensuring information on government programs, services, and benefits are provided in multiple languages, including Asian languages. The President's FY 2025 Budget builds on these efforts with funding to expand federal language access capacity.

Combating Anti-Asian Hate, Improving Public Safety, and Protecting Civil Rights
The Biden-Harris Administration is advancing and enforcing civil rights to deliver the most just outcomes for underserved communities. Federal agencies are taking steps to protect the civil and constitutional rights of all persons and rooting out identity-based discrimination.

  • Confronting the scourge of hate. President Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law in 2021 and issued new guidance to raise awareness of hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the rise in incidents targeting AA and NHPI communities. According to FBI data, hate crimes targeting Asian Americans fell by 33 percent from 2021 to 2022. DOJ has also expanded its United Against Hate Initiative, to all 94 U.S. Attorneys' Offices across the country to improve the reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents. These efforts will support AA and NHPI communities that continue to face barriers and underreport hate incidents.
  • Rooting out bias and discrimination. The Biden-Harris Administration has mobilized over $1 billion in new investments to increase support for programs to bridge divides and counter hate-fueled violence, and established an interagency group to counter antisemitism, Islamophobia, and related forms of bias and discrimination. In November 2023, the White House announced plans to develop the first-ever U.S. National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia, a whole-of-society effort to address all forms of hate, discrimination, and bias against Muslim, Sikh, South Asian, and Arab American communities.

Growing Economic Opportunity for AA and NHPI Families and Communities
Through two historic equity Executive Orders, the President's landmark Investing in America agenda, and the implementation of key legislation, the Biden-Harris Administration is addressing longstanding economic inequities and delivering security, mobility, and prosperity for AA and NHPI families and communities.

  • Increasing federal contract awards to small disadvantaged businesses. In 2021, President Biden set a bold goal to increase total federal contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) to 15% by 2025, including AA and NHPI-owned small businesses. In 2023, federal agencies awarded SDBs a record-breaking $76.2 billion – or 12.1% of all contract dollars. This represents the third consecutive year of record-breaking awards to SDBs under President Biden, and puts the Administration on track to reach the President's goal of increasing federal contracting dollars to SDBs by 50% by 2025. Last year, awards to Asian American-owned businesses totaled more than $20 billion, an increase of $2.7 billion over the previous year.
  • Supporting AA and NHPI small business owners. In FY23, the U.S. Small Business Administration backed 7,500 loans to AAPI-owned businesses, which total to more than $6.4 billion. That means total loans are up 44% under the Biden-Harris Administration, and total loan dollars are up 36%.
  • Improving engagement with AA and NHPI businesses and entrepreneurs. In January 2023, WHIAANHPI – in collaboration with the Small Business Administration, the National Asian / Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship, and federal, state, and local partners – launched a series of regional economic summits to connect AA and NHPI business owners, entrepreneurs, and community leaders directly with federal resources such as contracting and employment opportunities.
  • Closing gender and racial wage gaps. AA and NHPI women are overrepresented in the Nation's front line and low-wage workforces. The Biden-Harris Administration is taking new actions to combat occupational segregation and advance women's economic security, such as expanding access to good-paying jobs and apprenticeships, increasing access to affordable care and support for caregivers, and advancing pay equity and pay transparency. The Department of Labor announced new funding to protect underserved and marginalized women workers from gender-based violence and harassment and also finalized a new rule to restore and expand overtime protections to millions of workers, including AA and NHPI workers.
  • Tackling AA and NHPI childhood poverty. President Biden signed and implemented the American Rescue Plan (ARP) – legislation that has powered a historic and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including record low AA and NHPI child poverty in 2021 driven by the expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The President's FY 2025 Budget would restore the expanded CTC, lifting an estimated three million children out of poverty, including in AA and NHPI communities which experience disproportionately higher rates of child poverty.

Advancing Educational Excellence for AA and NHPI Students and Institutions
The Biden-Harris Administration has made great progress to ensure that a high-quality education is an accessible and attainable promise of the American Dream for all. From over $160 billion in historic student debt relief for more than 4.6 million borrowers through various actions, to securing the largest investment of $130 billion for public education, President Biden is committed to educational equity, including for AA and NHPI students.

  • Strengthening capacity of AANAPISIs. In September 2023, President Biden issued the first-ever White House proclamation to recognize National Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), which confer almost 50% of associate degrees and nearly 30% of baccalaureate degrees upon all people who are AA and NHPIs in the United States. The Biden-Harris Administration delivered $5 billion in ARP funds to support AANAPISIs.
  • Advancing educational equity. Under ARP, Title I schools received $130 billion in funding with Maintenance of Equity requirements to protect high poverty schools from reductions in State and local education funding. In 2021, 60% of Pacific Islander and 35% of Asian American public school students participated in Title I programs or public targeted assistance programs.
  • Supporting low-income college students. The President secured the largest increase in Pell Grants in a decade, and has expanded eligibility for the maximum Pell Grant to 1.7 million more Americans, helping low-income students afford their dream of pursuing postsecondary education. According to the latest public data, nearly 30% of AA and NHPI students are federal financial aid recipients and receive an average award of over $5,000 per student.

Improving the Health and Well-Being of AA and NHPI Communities
The Biden-Harris Administration has taken action to advance health equity to meet the needs of underserved communities, including AA and NHPI communities.

  • Expanding access to high-quality, affordable, and culturally-inclusive healthcare. Over 45 million people are now covered through the Affordable Care Act's Marketplaces and Medicaid expansion – 14 million more than when the President took office in 2021. In September 2023, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also announced $8 million in grants to train medical professionals in providing culturally and linguistically appropriate care for individuals with limited English proficiency, including those from AA and NHPI communities.
  • Protecting AA and NHPI communities from harmful pollution. The Biden-Harris Administration has invested billions of dollars to rid the Nation's drinking water, air, soil, and food supply of toxic PFAS, which are linked to cancer, organ damage, and developmental issues in children. A 2023 study found that AA and NHPI Americans have significantly higher exposure to PFAS than other ethnic or racial groups. In April 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency issued the first-ever national drinking water standard for PFAS, which will protect 100 million people from exposure, prevent tens of thousands of serious illnesses, and save lives.
  • Restoring access to federal benefits for certain Pacific Islanders residing in the U.S. President Biden signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024, which restored eligibility for federal public benefits to Compacts of Free Association (COFA) citizens living in the United States.

Honoring and Preserving Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Culture
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to preserving the traditions, cultures, languages, and lands Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have called home for centuries.

  • Providing a whole-of-government response after the devasting Maui wildfires. The Biden-Harris Administration has deployed federal resources across multiple agencies in response to the disastrous wildfires. Relief efforts include preserving cultural artifacts and deploying cultural advisors to assist with the ongoing recovery process.
  • Ensuring equitable engagement with Native communities. For the first time, the Department of Interior (DOI) now requires formal consultation with Native Hawaiians; and in February 2024, DOI announced new guidance on the use of the Hawaiian language in commemoration of Mahina ??lelo Hawai?i or Hawaiian Language Month. In December 2023, The White House Council on Native American Affairs completed a Best Practices Guide for Tribal and Native Hawaiian Sacred Sites; and DOI issued a final rule to provide a process for returning human remains and sacred or cultural objects to Tribal Nations and Native Hawaiian Organizations.
  • Fostering Native language revitalization and the preservation of Indigenous knowledge. In October 2023, the Department of Education released more than $11 million to preserve Native languages and increase Native teacher retention.
  • Fortifying cultural heritage and resilience. In September 2023, the National Endowment for the Humanities announced the Pacific Islands Cultural Initiative, and committed $1.3 million in initial funding to fortify cultural heritage and resilience in American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Since 2021, the National Endowment for the Arts has also distributed nearly $6 million in federal funding in Hawaii.
  • Strengthening housing programs for Native Hawaiian families. In April 2023, with the support of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) launched a tenant-based rental assistance program for kupuna (elders). In February 2024, HUD announced a final rule to provide more affordable housing options to Native Hawaiians, allowing more families to reside on the Hawaiian home lands.

Rebuilding the Immigration System and Supporting New Americans
Although Congress has failed to advance President Biden's comprehensive proposal to reform our immigration laws and provide more border resources, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken numerous actions to reverse the damage that was done to our immigration system and address the unprecedented levels of global migration.

  • Restoring faith in the U.S. immigration system. President Biden issued an Executive Order to restore faith in our Nation's legal immigration system and re-establish the White House Task Force on New Americans to welcome and support new immigrants, including refugees, and catalyze State and local integration and inclusion efforts.
  • Supporting individuals seeking protection and safety. The Biden-Harris Administration has provided continued protection through Temporary Protected Status (TPS), including to individuals from Nepal and Afghanistan; the President designated certain residents of Hong Kong for Deferred Enforced Departure.
  • Supporting Dreamers. In May 2024, HHS published a final rule to extend healthcare benefits to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. The Administration continues to vigorously defend DACA against legal challenges.
  • Protecting children from aging out of green card eligibility. The Biden-Harris Administration issued new policy guidance to protect more children who entered the U.S. lawfully and are waiting with their parents in the immigrant visa backlogs from aging out of green card eligibility.

Joseph R. Biden, FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration Advances Equity and Opportunity for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities Across the Country Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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