Barack Obama's Letter regarding the Hmong
I first became acquainted with the diversity and richness of Asia and the AAPI community as a child growing up in Indonesia and Hawai'i. Members of my family are of Asian descent and it is a community that I became a part of while living in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.
The AAPI story and community are personal to me, and I am committed to keeping the doors of opportunity open to Hmong and expanding opportunities for all Americans. I began to fight for opportunity as an organizer on the South Side of Chicago, where I went after college to help communities that had been devastated by the closure of steel mills.
After graduating from Harvard Law School, I returned to Chicago. And in more than 11 years as a legislator, I have worked to improve education, increase health care funding, and make America safer by securing some of the world's most dangerous weapons.
You recognize the challenges America faces. Our nation is at war, our planet is in peril, and the American dream is in danger of slipping away from too many families. Hmong Americans have fought bravely in war and worked hard to build our nation here at home. Many of you came here with little money or education, but you have worked hard and supported each other, and now it's time for the federal government to restore its promise to you and all of the American people.
I am committed to policies that will help the Hmong American community succeed. As President, I will work to ensure that you have access to affordable, accessible healthcare that will also reduce the language and cultural barriers that limit access to our medical system. We need to make sure the economy works for you by fixing our financial system and invest in education to provide access for English-Language Learners. And we will provide a path to employment by creating a $4,000 annual college tax credit, a new Community College Partnership Program and new training opportunities for workers, and helping minority-owned small businesses.
But even as we work to rebuild America, we must not forget the world beyond our shores. Hmong on the Thailand-Laos border are in a dire situation. The U.S. must be clear in calling for all parties to respect international law and ensure that displaced Hmong are not placed in harm's way. As President, I will restore America's commitment to human rights abroad and help forge a more effective regional framework for collective security in Asia and the Pacific to promote political and economic stability, confront transnational threats like terrorism and influenza, and collectively address environmental concerns.
I will also restore the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and direct that office to work towards the original goal of helping the federal government meet the underserved needs of Asian-American and Pacific Islanders.
With your support, I am confident that we can address the challenges we face. I am thankful for my many Hmong supporters, and I hope you will stay active in our campaign as we work to create the changes we seek.