August 6, 2917, — Three protests by Asian Americans were held over the passed ten days against MA House Bill H3361. The latest one happened this afternoon outside Boston Convention Center where National Conference of State Legislatures(NCSL) summit was being held. Over 100 protesters holding signs such as “Stop Racial Profiling”, “We R Not Preternatural Foreigners”, “United is better than divided”, and “Why single out Asians. Divided we fail.”
On August 5, many Asian Americans and their families gathered outside the NCSL summit in Boston, picketed AAPI Data Disaggregation in bill H3361 introduced by State Rep Tackey Chan of Quincy that would require state agencies to collect aggregate data on Asian-American groups in the Commonwealth. On July 28, a protest was held in front of MA State House against bill H3361.
The protests have drown attention from legislators and reporters. Some have expressed support for the protesters.
The following is the text of the bill.
“SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any General Law or Special Law to the contrary, all state agencies, quasi-state agencies, entities created by state statute and sub-divisions of state agencies shall identify Asian American and Pacific Islanders as defined by the United States Census Bureau in all data collected as part any and all types of data collection, reporting or verification; provided further that, the five largest Asian American and Pacific Islander ethnic groups residing in the Commonwealth shall have individually reported data as part of the total Asian American Pacific Islander reporting.”
Boston Globe: Protesters picket legislators summit in Boston
NPR: Protests Against The Push To Disaggregate Asian-American Data
Why we fight against MA House Bill H3361
By a Member of Coalition Against Profiling
We hereby solemnly petition that you vote NO on Bill H3361, which requires state agencies to “identify Asian Americans in collection of data,” and further to identify them “individually” as each of the “five largest Asian American and Pacific Islanders groups.” The “five largest” groups could mean Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean and Pacific Islanders. The full version of the Bill, introduced by state representative Tackey Chan, is available at https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/H3361 . We the undersigned are strongly against this bill for the following main reasons.
Firstly, Bill H3361 is essentially an attempt to legalize racial/origin profiling and enable discriminatory actions against a targeted people.
Bill H3361 is unconstitutional at its core, notwithstanding intended or unintended purposes. Plain and simple.
History tends to repeat itself. President Roosevelt signed the Executive Order 9066 in 1942, ordering all Japanese-Americans, approximately 150,000 people, to be rounded up and relocated to 10 internment camps forcing all of them to give up their schooling, houses, belongings, businesses in as short as a few days. That act of cruelty against American citizens, many of whom born in America, shall be forever outlawed. However, bills such as H3361 recently introduced in Massachusetts provides legal facilitation of such actions.
Secondly, Bill H3361 singularly targets Asian Americans mandating their separation by a fundamentally flawed categorizing system which is not applied to any other identified ethnic groups in current official surveys or registry. No White Americans, African Americans, European Americans, Latino Americans or Arabic Americans are asked to further identify themselves based on the regions or countries of their origin.
Should this Bill turn into law, it could be used as antecedence of more such bills requesting other races to further identify themselves according to the countries and regions of their origin. Should any court uphold the law when challenged, this could be used as a case-law by other courts. One should be acutely aware that similar bills are already introduced and/or passed in states such as California and New York. This is a potentially dangerous trend introducing the root of segregation for all people of all origins and can easily be abused by parties having indecent purposes.
Thirdly, Bill H3361 is bound to cause confusion in implementation, wasting taxpayers’ resources. For instance, confusion arises in the situation that a significant portion of the Vietnamese or Korean American immigrants have Chinese origins. The case of interracial marriage is another example. Adding illy-defined boxes to tick in all state records is a recipe for failure, thanks to the amount of confusion, paperwork, data entry and maintenance workload. This is extremely insensitive to taxpayers’ resources.
We all know that America is a nation built by immigrants. “Justice and equality for all” are ideals passed down to us by our founding fathers. Yet this bill, if passed, will have the potential to create division, legalize profiling and segregation.
We solemnly request that you reject this bill, and request Mr. Tackey Chan to withdraw this bill from the State Senate/House.