CAPAC on Meeting with U.S. Department of Justice

Jul 6, 2016 Issues: Civil Rights

Washington, D.C. – Today, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) met with senior officials from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to discuss several high-profile cases in which Chinese American scientists were wrongfully accused and arrested for alleged espionage only to have those charges later dropped. CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) released the following statement:

“We met with the Department of Justice today to discuss our grave concerns over what appears to be an ongoing pattern and practice of Asian Americans being wrongfully targeted for alleged espionage. While I thank them for responding to our request for the meeting,  I remain unsatisfied with the limited actions the Department has taken thus far. Today’s meeting made clear that DOJ has no tangible way to identify whether race, ethnicity or national origin played a role in any of these cases, which is why we once again called for an independent investigation into the cases of Dr. Xiaoxing Xi and Sherry Chen.

“As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I will continue to push for an independent investigation and more data on espionage-related prosecutions against Asian Americans. We have also asked DOJ to share with us their recently announced implicit bias training materials for federal law enforcement officials and prosecutors, so that we can see what guidance they have for addressing the targeting of Asian Pacific Americans.”

Background:

On June 27, 2016, the Department of Justice announced new Department-wide implicit bias training for all of its law enforcement agents and prosecutors. The training will be administered to more than 23,000 agents employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),  Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), as well as the approximately 5,800 attorneys working in the 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country. 

On May 13, 2016, CAPAC sent a letter to the DOJ Office of Inspector General demanding an independent investigation into whether race, ethnicity, or national origin played a part in recent cases in which Chinese Americans were suspected of espionage. The letter comes after similar requests were made in letters sent last May and November, as well as during a CAPAC meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in November 2015. 

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.