How Trump has failed the AAPI community

President Trump continues to inflict significant damage to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. In addition to failing to take the coronavirus seriously and jeopardizing jobs and the economy, he has put the AAPI community’s access to health care at risk, allowed hate crimes to flourish, and rolled back critical environmental protections. He has:

Sabotaged the health care of Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Asian Americans are 1.3 times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 than whites, yet Trump is still trying to take away their access to health care. He is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act, even though it cut the uninsured rate for Asian Americans in half and the uninsured rate among Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders by more than a third between 2013 and 2017. As many as 121,000 young AAPIs gained coverage by staying on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26. Millions of AAPIs became free of lifetime limits and gained access to no-cost preventive services thanks to the ACA. 

Stoked anti-Asian sentiment in an attempt to deflect blame for his failed coronavirus response, which has disproportionately harmed Asian Americans. Trump has repeatedly referred to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and “kung flu.” As a result, discrimination against Asian Americans surged during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Threatened the economic security of AAPI families. The unemployment rate for Asian Americans has more than quadrupled since this time last year, and more than half of Asian American families (57%) have lost employment income since March. Also, more than 15% of Asian American renters missed last month’s payment. This crisis has also harmed Asian American small businesses throughout the country.      

Sided with large corporations polluting our air and water without consequence. The climate crisis continues to threaten AAPI communities, particularly the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community. Certain islands may become uninhabitable by 2030 without immediate action. Two states with the highest percentage of AAPIs—Hawaii and California—remain vulnerable to the risks from climate change. Trump has not only failed to address this crisis, but outright denied it. He has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord, rolled back regulations designed to limit pollution, stripped protections from more than 30 million acres of public lands and waters, and overseen a substantial reduction in enforcement of laws designed to make our air and water cleaner. 

Threatened the ability of AAPI families to unite and stay together. Trump supported the RAISE Act, which would dramatically reduce pathways for legal immigration, including cutting family-based immigration by reducing the types and number of sponsorships available. In addition, Trump has targeted Dreamers by attempting to rescind DACA — which could tear apart countless AAPI families, who are woven into the fabric of our communities.


Joe Biden knows that the AAPI community is a core chapter of the American story. As Vice President, and Senator, he has turned bold, progressive ideas into tangible results for the AAPI community. Highlights of Joe’s plans to support the AAPI community include:

Protect and build on the Affordable Care Act. As Vice President, Joe stood shoulder-to-shoulder with President Obama to pass the landmark Affordable Care Act, providing health insurance to two million AAPIs by the end of the Obama-Biden Administration. Joe will give Americans a new choice, a public option, and lower health care costs. 

Mount a decisive public health response to COVID-19. Joe will ramp up testing; call for nationwide mask mandates; ensure that testing, treatment, and any eventual vaccine for COVID-19 is free for all individuals regardless of insurance or immigration status; collect racial, gender, and ethnic data on testing and treatment so we can identify and address disparities; and open a new Obamacare enrollment period so AAPIs who need insurance can get it.  

Spark entrepreneurship and small business growth in AAPI communities. To address the racial wealth gap, the opportunity gap, and the jobs gap for AAPIs, Joe will leverage more than $150 billion in new capital and opportunities in economically disadvantaged areas—especially for AAPI small businesses and other small businesses that have been structurally excluded for too long. 

Secure our values as a nation of immigrants. Joe will immediately begin working with Congress to pass legislative immigration reform that modernizes our immigration system, with a priority on keeping families together, by providing a roadmap to citizenship for nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants—including the 1.7 million from Asia. He will support family-based immigration, which includes reducing the family visa backlog, and will work to eliminate the limits on employment-based visas by country.    

Support education beyond high school. Joe will make public colleges and universities tuition-free for all AAPI students whose family incomes are below $125,000. He will also double the maximum value of Pell grants. He will halve the payments on undergraduate federal student loans by simplifying and increasing the generosity of today’s income-based repayment program. And, Joe will forgive all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges for debt-holders earning up to $125,000, which will include private Minority Serving Institutions.

Elevate AAPI voices and increase AAPI representation in government. The Obama-Biden Administration appointed more AAPI judges than all previous administrations combined and encouraged AAPI hiring in senior staff positions. Joe will nominate and appoint federal officials and judges who look like the rest of America, including AAPI individuals. He will build on the Obama-Biden Administration’s Initiative on AAPIs and the President’s Advisory Commission on AAPIs to ensure that AAPI community leaders have a voice in a Biden Administration.