Apr 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Asian Pacific American caucus members to meet Biden, Harris

A woman is seen holding a sign during a recent protest against Asian American hate crimes.

A protestor during a recent rally on Long Island to support the Asian community. Photo: John Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images

Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus will meet with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday.

Why it matters: The meeting follows a wave of violent attacks against members of the Asian American community in recent months. It also comes a day after Biden named Erika Moritsugu as deputy assistant to the president and Asian American Pacific Islander community liaison.

  • The Senate recently held a rare bipartisan vote to advance legislation aimed at improving anti-Asian hate crime tracking.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), the chairperson of CAPAC, told Axios the group will ask the president "to use Department of Justice resources" to ensure there is sufficient ability to investigate the recent shootings at three Georgia Asian spas as a hate crime.

  • She said attendees also would discuss disaggregation, immigration and a diverse school curriculum.
  • Chu said seven people would attend the meeting, including members of the group's executive board and the two AAPI senators: Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).
  • Among the other attendees confirmed by Axios are Reps. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Kaiali'i Kahele (D-Hawaii).

Hirono and Duckworth recently made headlines for confronting a White House official over the lack of AAPI representation in the new administration.

  • Last month, both senators vowed to vote no on "non-diversity" Cabinet picks unless the president committed to appointing diverse candidates.
  • They reversed course after the White House agreed to name a senior liaison to the AAPI community — the position for Moritsugu announced Wednesday.

Be smart: CAPAC was founded in 1994 by Norm Mineta, a longtime member of the House and former Commerce and Transportation secretary.

  • Meng, who now serves as first vice chairperson of the caucus, told Axios she plans to lay the groundwork for a future Asian American museum in Washington, D.C.
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