Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Blog
- Posted byon April 18, 2012 at 5:59 PM EDT
For more than 40 years, the Presidential Citizens Medal has recognized Americans who have "performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens." On Monday, the President invited you, the American public, to nominate everyday heroes for one of our nation’s highest civilian honors.
Who is your hero? Who has gone above and beyond, performing extraordinary deeds of service? Help us recognize the exemplary citizen from your community -- and bring them the public attention they deserve by nominating them for this year’s medal.
Here is an inspiring example of a hero honored last year:
- Posted byon April 18, 2012 at 2:47 PM EDT
Like several of my colleagues at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, I did not choose this field as much as it chose me. In many ways I feel a product of my formative years in the early 1980’s when the rate of drug use was at its peak. Although the rate of drug use in America is down roughly 30% since, for those of us who went to high school and college in the early 80’s, the consequences of drug use and underage drinking were often a part of our growing up in the same negative ways youth experience today, like overdoses, automobile accidents, school failure and family strife. Even back then, I could see the need for trained folks in a young person's constellation of school and community life to help with the negotiation of these challenging issues. Or better yet, a network of folks in the community, professional and lay, who could develop a young person’s resiliency to be better prepared to deal with life’s challenges. For most of the last 22 years, since graduating with a Master's in Social Work, I have been privileged to work in community-based non-profits meeting these needs, either trying to prevent teen substance use or clinically treat those with a substance abuse disorder.
- Posted byon April 11, 2012 at 6:12 PM EDT
The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect human health and the environment. A guiding theme is to expand the conversation on environmentalism and work for environmental justice. As a member of the Interagency Working Group for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), I work to increase the conversation and draw attention to the unique issues of AAPI communities. EPA has committed to ensuring that AAPIs enjoy full opportunities in the workforce, partnering with Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI), and addressing the concerns of AAPI communities.
For example, many AAPI women who work in nail salons are exposed to chemicals. EPA is working to reduce this exposure by providing information on best practices, examining alternatives to chemicals used in the nail salon industry, and coordinating our efforts with those of other federal agencies. EPA has also announced in the next year we will be doing a research project with our partners to monitor indoor air in nail salons before and after improving practices in the salon so that we can determine the impact changes can make.
- Posted byon April 5, 2012 at 3:32 PM EDT
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) new Section 3 Business Registry is a vital tool to promote jobs and contracting opportunities for AAPI businesses and the communities they serve. We invite you to enroll.
Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 requires that recipients of HUD financial assistance provide, to the greatest extent feasible, low-income residents with job training and employment, as well as contracting opportunities for the companies that hire them. Section 3 initiatives have dramatically expanded the job opportunities available to low-income persons and public housing residents.
- Posted byon March 29, 2012 at 1:33 PM EDT
With yesterday’s Senate confirmation of Miranda Du to be a U.S. District Court Judge in the District of Nevada, President Obama has doubled the number of Asian American and Pacific Islander federal judges – in just over three years.
President Obama’s judges and judicial nominees not only have the necessary intellect, fair-mindedness, and integrity for the federal bench, but also resemble the nation they serve. When the President took office, there were only eight AAPI Article III federal judges out of 874, and there hadn’t been an AAPI judge on a U.S. Court of Appeals since 2004. Now, there are 16 AAPI judges on the federal bench and, in 2010, Judge Denny Chin was unanimously confirmed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In all, almost six percent of President Obama’s confirmed judges have been AAPI, compared to just one percent for Presidents Bush and Clinton.
- Posted byon March 26, 2012 at 2:05 PM EDT
Ed note: This post has been cross-posted from consumerfinance.gov.
As a child of South Asian immigrants, I recall my parents frequently sending money back to our family and friends in India. Because so much depended on its receipt, my parents were uneasy about the transaction until they knew the money was in the right hands. Their unease was not unwarranted. My parents had no control over how the money got there. When my parents used a service to send money, they never fully understood the process, were charged numerous, unexplained fees, and felt powerless if any errors were made. At times they resorted to sending cash by mail, an option that was not especially secure.
Unfortunately, other immigrant families and other consumers who must send remittance transfers have had similar experiences, which is why advocates have been calling for greater protections around these transfers of money, or remittance transfers. Now, with direction from Congress through the Dodd-Frank Act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has changed that. The CFPB adopted new rules that will go into effect in February 2013. These rules will generally make the costs of remittances clear and hold remittance transfer providers accountable for certain errors.
Better Disclosures: Under this rule, remittance transfer providers must generally disclose the exchange rate, any fees related to the remittance, the amount of money that will be delivered abroad, and the date the money will be available. Certain disclosures must be provided both before and after the consumer pays for a remittance transfer. Consumers will generally receive these disclosures in English and sometimes in other languages. The CFPB thinks the clarity provided by these disclosures will help inform consumer decisions and instill confidence.
Option to Cancel: Typically, consumers will have at least 30 minutes after payment to cancel a remittance. If they cancel within the 30 minute window, they will get their money back, whether they make a mistake, change their minds, or feel something isn’t right.
Correction of Errors: With this rule, remittance transfer providers will generally be held accountable for errors. If a remittance sender reports a problem with a transfer within 180 days, the provider must generally investigate and correct errors. Companies that provide remittance transfers may also be responsible for mistakes made by their agents. The CFPB believes this will encourage remittance transfer providers to use reliable agents and partners in the U.S. and abroad, helping to weed out the bad actors.
As a lifelong advocate for immigrant communities, I am very proud that the first final rulemaking adopted by the CFPB addresses this issue and brings new protections to many consumers who, like my family, continue to send money to family members, loved ones, and others abroad.
Nick Rathod is Assistant Director for Intergovernmental and International Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
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