In an act of defiance against actions taken by embattled President Donald Trump, 16 members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have tendered their resignations.
The resignations began on Jan. 20 — Inauguration Day. That Friday, six members left the panel. Ten others whose terms were set to expire in September quit on Feb. 15.
“Although the commissioners’ term ends 9/30/17, we can no longer serve a president whose policies aim to create outcomes that are diametrically opposite to our principles, goals and charge,” wrote the latest 10 members to resign in a letter to the president and copied to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, co-chairs of the White House Initiative on Asian American Pacific Islanders.
According to the letter, several actions by Trump have alarmed commission members, including the proposal to cut federal funding to sanctuary cities, the ban on refugees and those coming from seven mostly Muslim countries, the announced intention to build a wall across the US-Mexican border and plans to repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
During the campaign, minorities and women were frequent targets of Trump’s unilateral policy plans.
“The en masse resignations of these 10 commissioners speak volumes about the depth of opposition to President Trump’s recent actions, especially in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. This includes hateful Executive Orders that threaten immigrants, Muslims and refugee communities,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, in a prepared statement.
The commission, which includes 20 commissioners, was created by President Bill Clinton in 1999 and renewed by presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The latest resignations occurred just days before the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 which led to the detainment of 120,000 Japanese Americans in internment camps after Japanese Imperial Forces attacked Pearl Harbor, prompting America’s entry into World War II.
“Rather than empower this commission, President Trump has chosen to undermine the very principles that guide their work,” Chu said. “And instead of seeing the commission as a path toward unity, Mr. Trump has embraced division. This deeply troubling shift signals that far from working to build a more inclusive government, we have a president that now seeks to advance discriminatory policies that strike fear in our communities.”