AP(Eye) on the Hill is our biweekly highlight of significant federal updates, particularly those that impact AAPI communities regarding reproductive, immigration, and economic justice. Learn about NAPAWF's and other national AAPI groups' federal policy work while you're out on the ground!

Team NAPAWF tirelessly knocked on doors and called thousands of voters in Gwinnett County, Georgia, to get out the AAPI vote and ensure that our votes counted. Most importantly, we matched suppressed voters with opportunities to have their votes counted.

On Tuesday, voters across the US came out in record numbers to vote in the 2018 midterm elections. Here are some of the highlights.

Over 100 women women are headed to Congress, the most ever in U.S. history. This includes:

  • Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota as the first Muslim women elected to Congress;
  • Young Kim in California, the first Korean-American woman elected to Congress;
  • Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts' first black Congresswoman; Jahana Hayes, 2016 National Teacher of the Year and Connecticut's first black Congresswoman; and Lauren Underwood in Illinois, a 32-year-old registered nurse who ran in a predominantly white district;
  • Alexandria Ocasio Cortez in New York, a Latina and the youngest woman to be elected to Congress and a Latina;
  • Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar, Texas' first Latina Congresswomen;
  • Deb Haaland in New Mexico and Sharice Davids in Kansas, as the first Native American women in Congress


Deb Haaland took over the seat previously held by Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Latina who is now the new governor of New Mexico. New Mexico's governorship and state legislature are now held by people who will likely support our values and priorities around immigrant rights and reproductive health and rights.

Also in the Southwest, Nevada elected Rep. Jacky Rosen as Senator, unseating Dean Heller after he failed to unequivocally stand for  the ACA last year. In addition, the Nevada Assembly, the lower house of Nevada's state legislature, became the first women-majority chamber in the US.  

In addition to electing its first two Latinas to Congress, Texas came close to electing to the U.S. Senate Beto O'Rourke, who campaigned on reproductive rights, racial justice, healthcare, and immigration reform without accepting money from political action committees. Harris County, which encompasses all of Houston and includes 4.7 million people, also elected a 27-year-old Latina as county judge, Lina Hidalgo. Hidalgo campaigned as an openly progressive candidate and a strong advocate for immigrant communities. No doubt Asian Americans are playing a role in this shift towards candidates that share our vision for a better country. Sri Preston Kulkarni, an Indian-American and candidate for Texas' 22nd congressional district, lost his race against Rep. Pete Olson, but ultimately increased turnout among Asian American voters by campaigning in sixteen different languages and doing targeted outreach to the large AAPI community in his district. 

New York elected its first black attorney general, Letitia James. With the defeat of Governor Bruce Rauner to JB Pritzker in Illinois, the two states now have both governorships and state legislatures that will be more favorable towards the values and priorities that  immigrants, women, and LGBTQ people share.

Guam also elected its first woman governor, Lou Leon Guerrero. 

On the issues:
Voters stood up for affordable healthcare and voted to expand Medicaid in the states of Utah, Idaho, and Nebraska. Arkansas and Missouri also voted for minimum wage increases. Massachusetts voted to maintain a law protecting transgender rights, and Florida restored voting rights to citizens convicted of certain felonies who have served their sentences.
 

Policy Recap

  • Trump administration continues attacks on reproductive health access day after the election
  • Trump administration seeks to tighten rules on asylum seekers

 

Trump administration continues attacks on reproductive health access day after the election

Image source: Vox

Less than 24 hours after polls around the country closed, Trump's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized rules that would allow employers to deny birth control coverage for their employees based on religious or moral objection. The rules were finalized despite two court injunctions on the interim final rules that were initially published in October 2017. AAPI women use effective contraception at much lower rates than other women, and many face cultural stigma and language barriers when seeking access to contraception. In addition, the Trump administration issued a new rule that would make it significantly more difficult for health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to include abortion coverage.

 

Trump administration seeks to tighten rules on asylum seekers

Source: Al Jazeera

On Thursday, the Trump administration issued an interim final rule that seeks to deny asylum to migrants at the border. Under the new rule, the administration can use national emergency security powers to reject asylees at the border and deny them humanitarian protections.

 

NAPAWF Legal News

Now featuring…

Even though Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed as Supreme Court Justice, our fight for the courts has not stopped. NAPAWF's legal team continues to oppose Trump's judicial nominations to our lower courts, where judges who have lifetime appoints also make decisions that set precedents in immigrant rights, reproductive rights, and economic justice. Stay vigilant and up to date on legal news by following our new legal blog, AP(Eye) on the Courts!

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More information is available here: https://www.napawf.org/jobs.html

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