10 members resign from Trump panel on Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders

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Ten members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have resigned, NBC News reported.

The members who resigned sent a letter to the president, dated Feb. 15, objecting to President Trump’s “portrayal of immigrants, refugees, people of color and people of various faiths as untrustworthy, threatening, and a drain on our nation.”

The letter points to the president’s order temporarily barring refugees and immigrants from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the U.S. and the administration’s vow to repeal ObamaCare as actions that go against the commission’s principles.

Those who resigned include the commission’s chair, a vice chair, and actor Maulik Pancholy.

{mosads}”The choice to stay on under the new administration was with the hopes that I would have a seat at the table to be able to bring up the issues that are important to our community based on the work that’s happened over many years under this commission,” Pancholy, who was appointed to the commission in 2014, told NBC News.

“It became very clear to me in the last month and a half that that voice at the table wasn’t going to be able to be effective inside the administration the way that I hoped it would be.”

The commissioners said they sent a separate letter to the president last month requesting a meeting to talk about issues impacting Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities, but didn’t receive a response.

“We urge you and every member of your Administration to respect all Americans by protecting civil rights and civil liberties for everyone, promoting broader dialogue and understands, and keeping the federal government accessible to all people living in the United States — regardless of their status as citizens, immigrants or refugees,” the letter said.

The commission was first created under former President Clinton in 1999 and has been renewed by former Presidents George W. Bush and Obama.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) said in a statement that the resignations “speak volumes about the depth of opposition to President Trump’s recent actions, especially in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.”

“[R]ather than empower this Commission, President Trump has chosen to undermine the very principles that guide their work,” she said. “And instead of seeing the Commission as a path towards unity, Mr. Trump has embraced division.”

She went on to commend the commission’s members.

“Their bold and principled stand reminds us that we must continue to reject hateful and discriminatory policies and work to protect the civil rights of all Americans.”

This story was updated at 1:23 p.m.

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