July 14 at 11:30 a.m. ET

Race in America: Rep. Pramila Jayapal on Policing, Immigration and Political Change

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) is a civil rights activist who represents most of Seattle and is the first Indian-American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. As protesters around the country call for an end to police brutality and discrimination, she is working for change in law enforcement across the country, including the banning of federal facial recognition. Jayapal joins Washington Post national political reporter Robert Costa to discuss her new book, “Use the Power You Have: A Brown Woman’s Guide to Politics and Political Change.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and other Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill last month to ban federal use of facial recognition technology. Jayapal says the good facial recognition technology is able to do can’t outweigh the prejudicial nature of the technology. ‘There is a lot of recognition that this technology is destructive... I think there is a real pathway here to getting something done and recognizing that facial recognition technology is racist.’
  • Jul 14
There have been thousands of cases of COVID-19 in ICE detention centers. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) says all vulnerable populations in these centers should be released to help stop the spread of the virus. ‘The vast majority of people in ICE detention have never committed a crime, nor been charged of a crime. And even if they have, it’s low-level offenses that are not a public safety threat, so we can release those people.’
  • Jul 14
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) says she thinks it’s too soon for schools across the U.S. to reopen. ‘I think we are opening too quickly. We have not taken away the economic pressure that exists for things to reopen...I don’t think that we should allow our schools to reopen and put those kids, those teachers, those parents at risk as this virus is clearly increases.’
  • Jul 14
Later this month, the CEO of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google will testify before the Antitrust Subcommittee. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a member of the subcommittee, says it’s important that Congress exercise it authority to prevent monopolistic behavior.
  • Jul 14
The Seattle autonomous zone was cleared by police earlier this month after an executive order from the mayor. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said she believes in the right to protests, adding that the militaristic response from local police stoked anger amongst the protesters. ‘I was very clear very early on... calling on the mayor to end the curfew, to take away the National Guard and to stop turning out SPD [Seattle Police Department] to use tear gas and rubber bullets.’
  • Jul 14
While she didn’t say whether she. believes Joe Biden’s pick for vice president should be a woman of color, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) share the characteristics she hopes the candidate will have. ‘I want the vice president to be a bold progressive who isn’t afraid of making the kinds of changes that we will need to take.’
  • Jul 14
Rep. Pramila Jayapal
Elected in 2016, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is now serving her second term in Congress representing Washington’s 7th District, which encompasses most of Seattle and its surrounding areas. She is the first South Asian American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and one of only 14 naturalized citizens currently serving in the United States Congress. Congresswoman Jayapal is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where she serves as Vice Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee, and on the House Education & Labor and Budget Committees. She is also the elected Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which represents approximately 40% of the entire Democratic caucus; the Immigration Subcommittee Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific Asian Caucus; and a Vice Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus. In Congress, Representative Jayapal has been a leader on immigration, including fighting the Trump Administration’s inhumane policies of separating children from their parents and crafting legislation to help expand legal immigration to America. She has also championed legislation to address income inequality, such as the $15 minimum wage and expanded collective bargaining rights for workers. She has worked extensively on healthcare issues as the lead sponsor of the Medicare for All bill in the House, and she is the author of the College for All Act, which would ensure every American has access to higher education. She has authored other landmark pieces of progressive legislation including the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act and the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. She has also prioritized legislation to transition our economy to 100% clean energy and address the crisis of climate justice.
Interviewed by Robert Costa
The Washington Post
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