Comment in response to the request for information on the American research environment by the Science and Technology Policy Office

January 2, 2020

We wrote comments to express concerns about the profiling of students and scientists of Asian descent under the pretext of securing American research

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Advancing Justice | AAJC provided comment on the harms resulting from the profiling of our communities in the American research environment. At various times in our nation’s history, AAPIs have borne the brunt of this country’s xenophobia. AAPIs have been made the face of the “yellow peril,” the “spy,” and “the terrorist.” Despite being part of the fabric of American society for centuries, Asian immigrants and their descendants are still caught up in the construct of the “perpetual foreigner.” From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII, to the murder of Vincent Chin and the surveillance and profiling of Muslim and South Asian Americans, AAPIs are living in the midst of the latest wave of resurgent xenophobia.  Not only are AAPI communities profiled by our own country as spies and terrorists, the xenophobic rhetoric in our political discourse has created a toxic atmosphere, emboldening those who would act on hate, terrorizing our communities. 

The U.S. government seeks to increase efforts to prevent the Chinese government from obtaining U.S. research. While we acknowledge the importance of protecting American research and that the Chinese Government is engaging in economic espionage and intellectual property theft, Advancing Justice | AAJC seeks to draw OSTP’s attention to harmful and ineffective racial profiling conducted by the FBI in its surveillance and profiling of Asian Americans and Asian immigrants. Biased public statements by public officials combined with data and individual cases indicating that there have been wrongful arrests and prosecutions of innocent Asian Americans have raised red flags for us that the FBI may be engaged in biased policing. Despite the ongoing issues of implicit bias, discrimination and race & ethnicity-based profiling, the U.S. government has called for expanding efforts that would lead to more wrongful prosecutions of Asian Americans and Asian immigrants. We encourage OSTP to consider the facts in this comment in contemplating any further analysis or efforts that may lead to the profiling and wrongful prosecution of members of our community.  

Advancing Justice | AAJC opposes increased efforts to scapegoat and profile Asian Americans and Asian immigrants. Existing bias, scapegoating, and profiling has harmed and continues to harm the lives of Asian students, scientists, and researchers. Profiling of our communities does not make the United States safer, and serves only to undermine the very values and characteristics that propelled the United States as a global leader in innovation, science, and technology.