AAPI Weekly Highlights: President Obama on Immigration

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AAPI Highlights, February 4, 2013


Welcome to this edition of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) Highlights. Read about the President’s four-part plan for comprehensive immigration reform; the AAPI Texas Regional Conference; and agency announcements and grant opportunities. Be sure to follow WHIAAPI Executive Director Kiran Ahuja on Twitter @KiranAhujaAAPI and WHIAAPI at @WhiteHouseAAPI.

President Obama's Four Part Plan for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

On January 29, 2013, President Obama spoke from Las Vegas about creating a fair and effective immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

"I’m here because most Americans agree that it’s time to fix a system that’s been broken for way too long." President Obama said. "I’m here because business leaders, faith leaders, labor leaders, law enforcement, and leaders from both parties are coming together to say now is the time to find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity. Now is the time to do this so we can strengthen our economy and strengthen our country’s future."

Read the President’s remarks here and watch a video of the remarks here. Read statements from AAPI communities in support of the President’s immigration proposals here

WHIAAPI Announcements  

AAPI Texas Regional Conference - Houston, TX


On Saturday, February 23, 2013, at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas, join senior Obama officials for a day of open dialogue, where the community and government will work together to empower the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community in Texas. The conference is free and open to the public. To attend, please register here.


Agency Announcements


New Members Appointed to VA Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans 

The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced the appointment of six new members to the Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans. The committee advises the Secretary of Veterans Affairs regarding the needs of minority Veterans with respect to compensation, health care, rehabilitation, outreach, and other benefits and programs administered by the VA. “Our Veterans are reflective of the society in which we live, and we draw strength from their diversity,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “VA relies on this committee to provide sound counsel on issues that impact the minority Veteran population, and we welcome the newest members.” Click here to read more.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Contraceptive Coverage with No Cost Sharing

On February 1, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services issued proposed rules for public comment regarding contraceptive coverage with no cost sharing under the health care law. “The administration is taking the next step in providing women across the nation with coverage of recommended preventive care at no cost, while respecting religious concerns,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “We will continue to work with faith-based organizations, women’s organizations, insurers and others to achieve these goals.” To learn more about the proposed rules and how to comment, click here.  

SBA Launches Affordable Care Act Webpage & Blog

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has launched a new webpage and blog dedicated to educating small business owners about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new tools will serve small business owners with information provided by SBA’s federal partners responsible for implementing the law, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The ACA has many beneficial measures specifically for small businesses; including slowing premium cost growth and increased access to quality, affordable health insurance. To access the SBA’s healthcare webpage, click here and to access SBA’s healthcare blog, click here.

SBA Hurricane Sandy Loan Approvals Surpass $1 Billion As Congress Makes Additional Funds Available for Recovery


The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $1.1 billion in disaster loans to 16,800 residents and businesses in the federally declared states affected by Hurricane Sandy. This milestone comes as Congress passed emergency legislation that will add $799 million to SBA’s disaster assistance program budget to help meet the demand for loans from Hurricane Sandy and future disasters. “Getting money into the hands of individuals and businesses in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy continues to be one of our top priorities,” said SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. To see the full announcement, click here, and to learn more about SBA’s disaster loan program, visit www.sba.gov/sandy, or call the Disaster Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955. 

USDA Proposes Standards to Provide Healthy Food Options in Schools

On February 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued proposed new standards to ensure that children have access to healthy food options in school. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires USDA to establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools -- beyond the federally-supported school meals programs. The "Smart Snacks in School" proposed rule, to be published soon in the Federal Register, is the first step in the process to create national standards. The new proposed standards draw on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, existing voluntary standards already implemented by thousands of schools around the country, and healthy food and beverage offerings already available in the marketplace. Read the full announcement here.

EPA Releases New Report on Children's Health and the Environment in America

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released “America’s Children and the Environment, Third Edition,” a comprehensive compilation of information from a variety of sources on children’s health and the environment. The report shows trends for contaminants in air, water, food, and soil that may affect children; concentrations of contaminants in the bodies of children and women of child-bearing age; and childhood illnesses and health conditions. The report incorporates revisions to address peer reviews and public comments on draft materials released in 2011. To read the full announcement, click here, and to read the report, click here.

VA Issues New Report on Suicide Data

On February 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a comprehensive report on veterans who die by suicide. In the past, data on veterans who died by suicide was only available for those who had sought VA health care services. The report also includes state data for veterans who had not received health care services from VA, which will help VA strengthen its aggressive suicide prevention activities. The report indicates that the percentage of veterans who die by suicide has fallen slightly since 1999, while the estimated total number of veterans who have died by suicide has increased. To read the full announcement, click here, to read the full report, click here.  

Grant Opportunities


Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act (STOP Act) Grants


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2013 Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act (STOP Act) grants. The purpose of this program is to prevent and reduce alcohol use among youth ages 12-20 in communities throughout the United States. Applications are due by March 1, 2013. To learn more, click here.


Outreach and Education Grant Program

Covered California is accepting applications for the Outreach and Education Grants program to help reach millions of uninsured and subsidy eligible Californians about their affordable health care options that will be available to them starting in 2014. The grant program was created in an effort to elicit the help of trusted organizations to assist with enrolling as many Californians as possible in high-quality health insurance. The goal is to disseminate clear, accurate and consistent messages to target audiences that eliminates barriers, increases interest and motivates consumers and small businesses to enroll in health care coverage. The deadline for grant applications is March 4, 2013. For more information, click here.

Statewide Family Network Program and Grant

The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration announced the Statewide Family Network Program Grant. The purpose of this program is to enhance state capacity and infrastructure to be more oriented to the needs of children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances and their families. These grants will provide information, referrals, and support to families who have a child with a serious emotional disturbance and create a mechanism for families to participate in state and local mental health services planning and policy development. The Statewide Family Network Program builds on the work of SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services which helped to establish a child and family focus in programs serving children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances around the country. Applications are due by March 7, 2013. To learn more, click here.

Statewide Consumer Network Grant Program to Promote Wellness, Integrated Care, Health Care Reform, and Trauma-Informed Care

The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services is accepting applications for fiscal year 2013 Statewide Consumer Network grants. The purpose of this program is to enhance statewide consumer-run organizations to promote service system capacity and infrastructure development that is recovery-focused and resiliency-oriented. This program seeks to promote activities related to wellness, integrated care, health care reform, and trauma-informed care. Applications are due by March 8, 2013. To learn more about this grant opportunity, click here.