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Fact Sheet: The White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

May 12, 2015

On Tuesday, May 12, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (Initiative) will host the White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in Washington, D.C. Over 2,000 community leaders, business leaders, advocates, and artists from across the country will convene in the nation's capital to engage with Cabinet Officials, Administration leaders, and nationally recognized AAPI leaders on key issues facing the AAPI community including economic growth, education, healthcare, civil rights, and immigration.

As one of his first actions in office, President Obama signed Executive Order 13515 on October 14, 2009, reestablishing the Initiative and the President's Advisory Commission on AAPIs, to improve the quality of life for AAPIs through increased access to federal programs in which they may be underserved. Today, AAPIs are the fastest growing racial group in the country, growing over four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population. The Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders population is expected to double to more than 47 million by 2060.

Over the past five years, the Initiative has reached more than 100,000 AAPIs across the country, delving deep into every region to hear the most pressing issues in the AAPI community and taking action to expand access to federal services. Under the leadership of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, former Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, and former Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu, the Initiative released individual strategic plans for 24 federal agencies and offices to increase the AAPI community's access to federal resources; created its Regional Network of over 200 federal employees to build relationships with and offer technical assistance to local AAPI communities across the country; launched, the most comprehensive hub of government data on AAPIs; established interagency working groups to address specific issues faced by the AAPI community; convened the first-ever community tour and regional summit in Guam; and supported the creation of two professional development programs to ensure that the federal workforce reflects the diversity of this country.

The Summit builds upon these successes, showcases Administration policies and programs that have supported the AAPI community, and outlines efforts for the next two years and decades to come. The Summit is part of the main celebratory week of events during AAPI Heritage Month and provides a unique forum for networking with thousands of AAPI leaders as they come to Washington, D.C., from across the nation.

Administration Summit Participants

•      Secretary Sally Jewell, U.S. Department of the Interior

•      Secretary Tom Perez, U.S. Department of Labor

•      Secretary Sylvia Burwell, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

•      Secretary Julián Castro, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

•      Secretary Arne Duncan, U.S. Department of Education

•      Secretary Jeh Johnson, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

•      Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

•      Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

•      León Rodríguez, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

•      Jenny Yang, Chair, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

•      Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, United States Patent and Trademark Office

•      Ted Mitchell, Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

•      Vanita Gupta, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice

•      Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States

•      Tina Tchen, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady

•      Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Below are additional announcements and key efforts that have supported the AAPI community. See a comprehensive report of agency accomplishments.

Innovative Language Access Models to Reach Limited English Proficient (LEP) AAPIs

Federal agencies have made tremendous progress in reaching AAPI communities, where one in three AAPIs is limited English proficient (LEP) and language services are vital for accessing life-changing federal services and resources.

§      The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a Multilingual Resources Page with information in 24 languages. Information about USCIS services is available in: Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Palauan, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu and Vietnamese. You can also watch USCIS experts answer, in Chinese, frequently asked questions about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and naturalization on our Public Engagement Videos page.

§      The Department of Health and Human Services has led the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Since its passage, more than 16 million uninsured people, including some of the 2 million uninsured AAPIs, have gained coverage. To ensure that all AAPI families understand the law, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Office of Behavioral Health Equity hosted consumer-focused webinars and produced videos in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese to support health insurance outreach, enrollment, and understanding of health insurance benefits. In addition, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) partnered with the Initiative to produce in-language Google Hangouts and videos on the ACA in Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Hmong, Burmese, Khmer, and Lao. CMS also translated their Coverage 2 Care roadmap into Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.

§      The Department of Housing and Urban Development will launch "HUD Speaks," a two-year pilot aimed at improving communication and enhancing efforts for English Learners and limited English proficient individuals. As a part of these efforts, HUD will develop interactive tools that provide information on HUD programs in multiple languages, redesign "I Speak___" cards for staff, and distribute posters to spread awareness and provide meaningful access to HUD programs and services. HUD has translated over 1,000 documents into 29 different languages, and HUD's Language Line, a telephone language service program, provides live, one-on-one, interpretation services in more than 175 languages.

§      In January 2015, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice released joint guidance reminding states and school districts of their obligations under federal law to ensure that English learner students have equal access to a high-quality education and the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential. This is the first time that a single piece of guidance has addressed the array of federal laws that govern schools' obligations to English learners. The Department of Education also released two factsheets about schools' obligations under federal law to ensure that English learner students can participate meaningfully. The fact sheets were translated into Chinese, Cambodian, Hmong, Korean, Laotian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese, as well as other non-Asian languages.

§      In 2014, the Department of Agriculture funded a pilot AAPI Limited English Proficiency Resource Center to provide LEP AAPIs with greater access to USDA resources. Specifically, the Center provides translated materials for Hmong farmers and fisherman to assist them in building successful farm and rural enterprises. In addition, some resources have been developed into audio files to assist low literacy members of the community.

§      In April 2015, the Department of Justice, Social Security Administration, and several other agencies launched a video vignette training series to help train the federal workforce on strategies and best practices to provide meaningful access to LEP individuals. As a follow-up to the BP oil spill in the Gulf Coast, these lead agencies increased coordination across the federal government to ensure that LEP populations have access to government services and programs.

Advancements in the Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination of Data on AAPI Communities

Promoting data disaggregation systems helps the federal government provide resources where they are most needed.

§      The Department of Health and Human Services established new data collection standards as required by the Affordable Care Act. These new standards now include seven new categories for Asian Americans, comprising Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Other Asians; as well as four new categories for Other Pacific Islanders, comprising Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan, and Other Pacific Islanders. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Census Bureau launched the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), to collect health information on NHPIs throughout the country. For the first time, national and disaggregated health data will be available on the health status of the NHPI community.

§      The Department of Justice successfully recommended the addition of an "Anti-Sikh" category, an "Anti-Hindu" category, and an "Anti-Arab/Anti-Middle Eastern" category to the hate crime reporting in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program.

•      In August 2014, the Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published the "Labor Force Characteristics by Race and Ethnicity" report which, for the first time, included unemployment rates and other labor force estimates for seven Asian subgroups: Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and other Asian. BLS will continue to publish such disaggregated data in this annual report going forward. Labor force characteristics can vary widely across the Asian subgroups, and regular publication of such estimates will better allow researchers, policy makers, the media, and the public to determine how various Asian subgroups fare in different labor market conditions.

§      The Department of Housing and Urban Development reviewed and identified several areas for further disaggregation of AAPI data, including: the American Housing Survey (AHS), which is conducted biennially and will now include the collection of Asian subgroup data in 2015; Subsidized Households Form 50059, which will now mirror the recent expansion of data collection efforts at the Department of Health and Human Services; and the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR), which will now break out "Asian" and "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander" populations.

§      In May 2012, the Department of Education issued a Request for Information (RFI) on disaggregation practices to institutions nation-wide. As a direct follow-up, ED and the Initiative hosted an iCount: Equity Through Representation Symposium in June 2013 as part of a larger effort to raise awareness about how the lack of data disaggregation masks significant educational needs of the AAPI community. ED and the Initiative are currently planning a second two-day convening, with emphasis placed on raising awareness, providing models of success, and dialoguing about the future of the national effort to improve our understanding of AAPIs.

Promoting Opportunities for AAPIs and Others in the Federal Workforce

Federal agencies have expanded opportunities among AAPIs so that government truly represents the people it serves – not only through relevant programs and services but also in its composition.

§      The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) participated in the development of the Federal Asian Pacific American Council Challenge Team Program, a project-oriented, experiential training based program that develops skills for emerging federal employee leaders, especially those at the GS-9 to GS-14 levels. OPM and the EEOC served on the selection panels and as advisors to the different project teams. OPM also identified training components for program participants. The program is in its second year.

§      Now in its fourth year, the Office of Personnel Management, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Initiative, and the Asian American Government Executives Network (AAGEN) launched the AAGEN SES Development Program in 2012. The program is open to all professionals, both inside and outside the government, at the GS-15 equivalent level or higher with at least one year of supervisory experience.

§      The Department of Homeland Security established a steering committee with representatives from across the department to coordinate engagement and outreach pursuant to the memoranda of understanding that were entered with the Asian Pacific Islander American Association of Colleges and Universities (APIAACU), the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC). Through these MOUs DHS is able to engage with over 1,500 Minority Serving Institutions about employment and other opportunities at DHS and at the same time receive information about key programs and events at member colleges and universities.

Dynamic Models of Engagement with or Improved Investments in AAPI Communities

Increasing outreach and access to federal grants, resources, and programs for underserved AAPIs builds their capacity and strengthens our communities.

•      In May 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services announced approximately $101 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 164 new health center sites across the country. These new health centers are projected to increase access to comprehensive primary health care services for nearly 650,000 patients in communities that need them most. Approximately $2 million was awarded to local AAPI health and community centers in four major metropolitan areas, ensuring AAPIs have access to quality health care resources and support.

§      The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in collaboration with AAPI community leaders, has conducted national engagements in Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. The Korean engagement provided information on requesting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). USCIS representatives discussed how to become a U.S. citizen during the Chinese and Vietnamese engagements.

§      In Fiscal Year 2014, the U.S. Small Business Administration made over 7,500 loans totaling approximately $4.8 billion to AAPI small business owners across the country.

§      In 2014, the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board launched a "Vulnerable Workers Project," a federal interagency working group working in conjunction with the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). The Vulnerable Workers Project goal is for federal agencies to: (i) gather information about the specific employment and labor issues that the AAPI workforce encounter in high-risk and low-wage industries; (ii) educate AAPI communities about their federal civil rights and labor protections; and (iii) operationalize the information obtained in the listening sessions into strategic enforcement and policy priorities of the federal agencies.

§      The Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the Small Business Administration, and national and community groups created the first interagency working group to address the myriad health and safety issues affecting AAPI salon workers, 40 percent of whom make up the national nail salon workforce. The working group developed a plan to assess and improve regulations, programs, and outreach strategies to ensure nail salon worker health and safety.

§      The Department of Housing and Urban Development is committed to reducing barriers to quality housing and enhancing opportunities for home ownership for New Americans. Approximately 16 percent of all first-time homebuyers nationally are foreign-born. HUD's Office of Housing Counseling (OHC) will expand awareness of its housing counseling program to new Americans using stakeholder forums and other tools. HUD will also explore the use of alternative credit score models and credit history for purposes of loan decisions in order to help new Americans with limited credit history access mortgages in an affordable manner.

§      The Department of the Interior National Park Service is leading a historic sites campaign to increase the number of AAPI-related sites that are recognized as National Historic Landmarks or listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On February 24, 2015, President Obama issued a proclamation declaring the Honouliuli Internment Camp as a national monument. Honouliuli served as an interment site during World War II for a population that included American citizens, resident immigrants, other civilians, enemy soldiers, and labor conscripts relocated by the U.S. military. In addition, on April 15, 2015, Secretary Jewell announced the designation of six new National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) including McGregor Memorial Conference Center at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, which was a benchmark work of Japanese-American Minoru Yamasaki, one of the twentieth century's most important modern architects.

§      In November 2014, the Initiative, the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health and Human Services launched the AAPI Bullying Prevention Task Force. The purpose of the Task Force is to ensure that the AAPI community is aware of federal resources and remedies, analyze data to better understand the prevalence of bullying among AAPI students, and explore and recommend effective policies to address the community's concerns. The Task Force's work builds upon broader efforts by the federal government to address bullying in our nation's schools, including guidance issued by ED's Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the activities of the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention, and the enforcement efforts of ED's Office for Civil Rights and the Department of Justice's Educational Opportunities Section. The Task Force has also hosted listening sessions with AAPI students, parents, and community members around the country.

§      In FY 2013, federal agencies provided a total of $664,096,068 to Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs). The top five agencies in total dollar amount providing funds to these institutions were the Departments of Education, Defense, Commerce, Energy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Together, these agencies provided over $600 million to AANAPISIs, or 91% of reported dollars.

§      The Initiative, the Minority Business Development Agency, and the Export-Import Bank have co-hosted several convenings focused on doing business in the Asia Pacific region. The Doing Business in Asia forum in May 2013 and the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum Opening Symposium in May 2014 both convened over one hundred business leaders from across the country and senior level government officials to learn and discuss ways to better utilize resources in the federal government and the Asia-Pacific region.

§      The Department of Health and Human Services has increased the capacity of AAPI organizations that advocate for programs for early detection and prevention of Hepatitis B as part of the agency's National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan. The Centers for Disease Control awarded $1.5 million to 9 grantees to increase testing for chronic Hepatitis B and linkage to care of foreign-born Asian Americans. In addition, in 2013, the CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis awarded a cooperative agreement to the Hepatitis B Foundation for partnership, networking, and capacity building.

Providing Support for Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Communities

Federal agencies have supported efforts to build the capacity of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders through expanded resources and services.

§      The health and strength of the Hawaiian Home Land Trust and Native Hawaiian beneficiaries is among the top priorities for the Department of the Interior. On May 8, 2015, the Department took a critical step on behalf of Native Hawaiian communities to ensure that the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust is managed in a fair, transparent, and sustainable manner. The Department has proposed rules that seek to clarify DOI's process to review land exchanges involving Hawaiian home lands and amendments to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act proposed by the State of Hawaii with the primary goal of protecting the interest of the Hawaiian home lands and Native Hawaiian beneficiaries. If adopted, a final rule could be published within six months.

§      The Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Rural Health, funded four projects using telehealth and home monitoring technologies to provide mental health, geriatric, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other services to approximately 1,800 Veterans in the Pacific Islands. In addition, ORH provided $5 million to the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System to support travel for Veterans between the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific Western Insular Islands to Oahu for necessary medical appointments and treatment at VA facilities.

§      The territorial economic accounts project is a joint effort between the Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs and the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis that was created to improve the quality and quantity of economic data for the U.S. territories of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The statistics included in these accounts help businesses and governments make informed economic and financial planning decisions. Official gross domestic product estimates for the four territories were released for the first time on May 5, 2010, and have been released annually since that time. Since the initial release, BEA and DOI have worked with the territorial governments to accelerate and expand the statistics available. New statistics for 2014, along with revised statistics for 2002-2013, will be released later this year.

§      The Department of Health and Human Services has focused on developing training and support for health professionals in the Pacific Region. In 2013, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) collaborated with the CDC to provide training workshops in Federated States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas, Palau, and Guam to teach health workers to improve the diagnosis and treatment of Hansen's Disease. In addition, HRSA partnered with the Department of the Interior to fund the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islanders (USAPI) Nursing Workforce Capacity Strengthening and Quality Improvement Initiative to ensure that students successfully passed the program. Then, in September 2014, the Office of Minority Health Resource Center (OMHRC) conducted HIV Counseling Testing Referral training in American Samoa for health officials from the Department of Public Health.

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet: The White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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