Audrey Magazine‘s Fall Issue feature story, “Picking Up the Pieces,” looks at how the economic recession has affected the lives of Asian Americans. And in light of President Obama’s recent jobs speech to a joint session of Congress, U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), released the following statement in response.
In spite of the dangerous myth that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have been largely untouched by this recession, our community has been devastated by long term unemployment, high rates of foreclosures and downward mobility. Many who have spent decades working to attain the American dream are now falling out of the middle-class or struggling to make ends meet.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Asian American and Pacific Islander community experienced the fastest percentage growth of any racial group over the last 10 years. Since the recession began, AAPIs have experienced a 54 percent drop in median household income and the largest decline in home ownership of any racial group. As a whole, AAPIs also remain unemployed for longer periods of time than any other group. Certain AAPI communities, such as American Samoans, also have unemployment rates that are nearly twice the national average.
The President’s plan is a step forward for our community and our country. By extending unemployment benefits and investing in job creation, we can help AAPI workers suffering from disproportionately long periods of unemployment. The President’s proposal for tax relief on small businesses will also benefit the 1.5 million AAPI owned businesses that employ over 2.8 million people. As elected leaders in Congress, we need to come together and pass a meaningful jobs package that puts Americans back to work and invests in our current and future needs.
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