Kamala Harris shares campaign promises with AAPI community leaders in Vegas

AJPress photo by Robert Macabagdal

The 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful responds to Trump’s “merit-based” immigration proposals

DEMOCRATIC presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris of California met with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community leaders on Thursday, May 16 to discuss campaign issues and the significance of her prospective candidacy.

“I fully intend to win this election,” Harris asserted, addressing the state’s AAPI community leaders in Chinatown.

In an event hosted by One APIA Nevada, Harris — who is half Indian and half Jamaican — spoke about her decision to run and to represent and defy assumptions about women of color in leadership roles.

“I often think about the work that we do of breaking these barriers as being, again, not only about personal achievement, but it is so much bigger than that,” Harris said last Thursday.

Harris spoke about her late mother, who was activist and cancer researcher Shyamala Gopalan, and how she impacted Harris’ life and career trajectory. She also noted that Gopalan inspired Harris to fully embrace both her Indian and Jamaican heritages.

“My mother raised us with a very strong appreciation for our cultural background and pride. Celebrations that we all participate in regardless of how our last name is spelled. It’s the beauty of who we are as a nation,” she said.

Before she was elected into the U.S. Senate in 2016, Harris was the California attorney general from 2010 to 2016. Since announcing her presidential campaign on Jan. 21, 2019, the junior senator from the Golden State has been considered a front-runner for her tenacity and outspoken criticisms of the Trump administration.

At Thursday’s AAPI event, Harris responded to President Donald Trump’s immigration policy proposals which were announced that same day, calling the plan “short-sighted” and accused the Trump administration for implementing “hierarchies among immigrants.”

AJPress photo by Robert Macabagdal

“The beauty of our country has been to say, when you walk through the door, you are equal,” Harris said. “We spoke those words in 1776, ‘we are equal’ and should be treated that way. Not, ‘Oh, well, if you come from this place, you might only have a certain number of points, and if you come from that place you might have a different number of points.”

As previously reported by the Asian Journal, Trump’s proposal severely guts family reunification programs and kicks off millions off people currently on the waiting list for green cards, including about 1.4 million Asians. Harris pointed out the fact that Asian immigrants and families rely on family-based petitioning programs more than other means of immigration.

AJPress photo by Robert Macabagdal

“It is usually the sibling connection,” Harris explained. “There was no mention of that in the policy whatsoever. It is, and has always been, about family. And that was completely overlooked, and I would suggest, denied, in the way the policy was outlined today.” 

Klarize Medenilla

Klarize Medenilla is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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