WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 19, 2018) — Today, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements in response to the Department of Commerce’s decision to appeal a recent U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) ruling in favor of Chinese American hydrologist Sherry Chen, who was terminated from her position with the National Weather Service in 2016 after being falsely accused of committing espionage.
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:
“I am deeply dismayed by the Department of Commerce’s decision to appeal Sherry Chen’s case despite a recent ruling from an MSPB judge stating that Ms. Chen was the ‘victim of a gross injustice’ and should have her employment with the National Weather Service reinstated. Over the past four years, Ms. Chen’s life has been completely upended by false accusations of espionage, lengthy investigations, and her termination by the Department of Commerce. But rather than acknowledge any wrongdoing, the Department has chosen to draw out this case indefinitely.
“In Congress, I will continue to fight until Sherry Chen receives the justice she deserves and we can ensure that no other American is forced to endure the same mistreatment she has faced. To that end, CAPAC will continue to push for an independent investigation within the Department of Commerce to ensure that any evidence of profiling or misconduct in the handling of Ms. Chen’s case is addressed immediately.”
Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:
“I am extremely disappointed to learn the Department of Commerce has decided to move forward with its appeal of Sherry Chen’s case. It does not appear that anyone at the Commerce Department has been held accountable for the pattern of misconduct in Ms. Chen’s case, and I remain adamant that the potentially systemic problems at Commerce warrant further review. An MSPB judge already found that the Commerce Department committed a ‘gross injustice’ against Sherry Chen by wrongfully firing her. Now, Commerce wants to further victimize her with additional legal proceedings that will cost both the Department and Ms. Chen more time and money. This is outrageous—Ms. Chen deserves justice and her job back.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06):
“I’m disappointed to learn today that the Department of Commerce has appealed the decision of the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board ruling in the Sherry Chen case. Sherry’s quest for justice has been difficult and the Department of Commerce’s decision to appeal is unnecessary. Sherry had appealed her wrongful termination from the Department of Commerce after being falsely accused of committing espionage. She appealed her case to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, which ruled in her favor saying she was a ‘victim of gross injustice.’ I stand with Sherry and urge the Department of Commerce to drop its appeal and reinstate her immediately.”
Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08):
“The Merit Systems Protection Board found that Sherry Chen was ‘the victim of gross injustice,’ and her whole case bears the whiff of an ethnically charged frame-up and rush to judgment,” said Congressman Jamie Raskin. “Rather than appealing the Board’s careful decision, the government should be investigating how this false targeting happened and how we can make sure it never happens again.”
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (NY-07):
“A victim of racial profiling, Sherry Chen is being forced to endure a grave injustice. Sadly, her job is still being put on the line due to the Department of Commerce’s decision to appeal. As the Merit Systems Protection Board recently ruled, Chen must be allowed to return to her job. Furthermore, any evidence of wrongdoing and racial profiling at the department must be brought to light.”
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.