Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC Calls the Government Surveillance Reform Act Much-Needed Reform to Curb Warrantless Government Surveillance of Asian Americans

The National Civil Rights Organization Calls for Swift Passage By Congress
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144

Washington, D.C. — Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC (Advancing Justice – AAJC) applauds the introduction of new legislation to protect Americans’ rights against warrantless surveillance. This bipartisan legislation is led by Senators Ron Wyden and Mike Lee as well as Representatives Warren Davidson and Zoe Lofgren.

The Government Surveillance Reform Act will reform Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a much-needed change to curb surveillance overreach and add accountability for government surveillance abuses. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act —expiring at the end of this year — allows the government to acquire the communications of virtually any non-American located outside of the United States. Though it is supposed to target foreigners, Section 702 has become a rich source of warrantless surveillance of Americans, whose information is “incidentally captured,” in this process.

Advancing Justice – AAJC, a national nonprofit dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Asian Americans, is supporting the bill because it is near certain that when it comes to federal government surveillance, Asian Americans immigrants and citizens are often spied on at higher rates due to having family, friends, and business associates living internationally.

“The need to curb the federal government’s ability to run backdoor data searches without a warrant is long overdue,” said John C. Yang, Advancing Justice – AAJC’s President and Executive Director. “Asian Americans are all too familiar with being subject to increased and disproportionate scrutiny perpetrated under the guise of ‘national security’. The Government Surveillance Reform Act is a critical step that would help to regulate the collection of Americans’ sensitive communications.”

Advancing Justice – AAJC has been a vocal opponent of government surveillance and anti-profiling of Asian immigrants and Asian Americans. At a time in our country when we have seen government-sanctioned programs like the now-defunct “China Initiative” and one-third of the country believing that Asian Americans as more loyal to their perceived country of origin, it is more imperative than ever that we have legislative reforms to contain governmental abuses in the name of national security.

Advancing Justice – AAJC calls on Congress to pass this legislation quickly to limit the potential impact of unchecked surveillance on all our communities of color.