By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
In a stunning show of resistance, 16 member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have submitted their resignations to President Trump.
The ten members who resigned yesterday followed six others who resigned on January 20.
“Although the Commissioners’ term ends 9/30/17, we can no longer serve a President whose policies aim to create outcomes that are diametrically opposite to our principles, goals, and charge,”wrote the latest ten to resign in a letter to the president and cced to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, co-chair of the White House Initiative of Asian American Pacific Islanders.
The letter cited several actions by President Trump that have alarmed commission members including the proposal to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities, the ban on refugees and those coming from seven mostly Muslim countries, the announced intention to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexican border, and the plans to repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
The resignations leaves only four members still sitting on the advisory commission.
“There was no way to influence any policy, said Tung T Nguyen, the chair of the commission said in an interview with AsAmNews. Nguyen was among those who submitted his resignation yesterday. “Our assessment is only the viewpoints that fit the administration will be heard.”
The commission had sent a letter to the president on January 13 expressing their goals and viewpoints, but did not receive a response. Nguyen says it doesn’t matter who the President appoints to replace the departed commissioners because it is clear to him, the President will only listen to those who agree with his policies.
“Rather than empower this Commission, Prewsident Trump has chosen to undermine the very principles that guide their work,” said Rep Judy Chu (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “Instead of seeing the commission as a path towards unity, Mr. Trump has embraced division.”
The other nine who submitted their resignations yesterday are Mary Okada, Co-Chair. Chamorro American, Guam; Michael Byun, Commissioner. Korean American, Akron, Ohio; Kathy Ko Chin, Commissioner. Chinese American, Oakland, California; Jacob Fitisemanu, Jr., Commissioner. Samoan American, Salt Lake City, Utah; Daphne Kwok, Commissioner. Chinese American, Annandale, Virginia; Dee Jay Mailer, Commissioner. Native Hawaiian American, Honolulu, Hawaii; Maulik Pancholy, Commissioner. Indian American, Brooklyn, New York; Linda Phan, Commissioner. Vietnamese American, Austin, Texas; and Sanjita Pradhan, Commissioner. Nepalese American, Des Moines, Iowa.
Still uncertain is the fate of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Much of its website was removed following President Trump’s inauguration. Its staff remains in place.
The commission has been in existence since President Clinton and continued under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The six who previously resigned from the commission are Nina Ahmad, Lian Cheun, Diane Narasaki, Shekar Narasimhan, Bo Thao-Urabe, and Paul Watanabe.
(This post has been updated with comments from Rep Chu)
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