On Friday, September 17, 2021, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas and members of the DHS Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Task Force met with leaders of the AANHPI community to reiterate the Department’s commitment to racial equity and civil rights and civil liberties.
“Six months ago, following the tragic events that unfolded in Atlanta, I had the opportunity to hear from members of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community,” said Secretary Mayorkas. “It is a priority for me to meet with community leaders and discuss the important work we have done to combat domestic violent extremism and targeted violence in communities across the country. While we have made progress, these accomplishments are just the first step as we continue the important work of keeping our communities safe for all.”
“It was devastating to see the violence against members of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community in Atlanta in March,” said Deputy Secretary John Tien. “The Department of Homeland Security is committed to protecting all Americans, and I am proud to be a part of the team working tirelessly to combat domestic violent extremism and targeted violence.”
Secretary Mayorkas previously met with AANHPI community leaders in Atlanta in March 2021 and, following that meeting, formed the DHS AANHPI Task Force to coordinate DHS efforts in advancing equity for members of the AANHPI community.
During Friday’s meeting, Task Force members outlined the Department’s actions on preventing and addressing domestic violent extremism, including:
- Release of two threat assessments conducted by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis that address threats specific to the AANHPI community.
- Engagement by the DHS Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) to increase engagement with regional and local AANHPI community partners and integrate AANHPI community leaders into broader local community-based prevention efforts.
Task Force members also outlined steps the Department has taken to increase the level trust between members of the community and the Department, including:
- Release of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Bona Fide Determination policy for U Visa Petitioners that enables USCIS to address the five-year backlog by issuing work permits and deferred action to U visa applicants with bona fide petitions.
- Translation of DHS materials into diverse languages of the AANHPI community.
Additionally, the Task Force outlined the ways the Department has, and will continue to, increase targeted outreach efforts to the AANHPI community, including by expanding efforts to inform the community about the Department’s work in supporting them. This includes, among other things, collaboration with FEMA in addressing equity issues in the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.
Led by the Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and her team, Task Force members include leaders from across the Department and its Components including the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans (PLCY); Office of the Secretary (OS); Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A); Office of Partnership and Engagement (OPE); Office of Public Affairs (OPA); Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA); Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).