Earlier this month, Donald Trump spoke to a rally in Portland, Maine where he repeated one of his most infamous platform positions: that, as president, he would restrict immigration from so-called “terrorist nations” which he has previously said would include Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
On August 6, however, Trump offered an expanded list of “terrorist nations” he would blacklist with regard to new immigrants, adding Morocco, Somalia, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and the Philippines.
While providing this expanded list, Trump reportedly said that refugees from all “terrorist nations” should be banned from entry into the United States.
“We’re dealing with animals,” he said of immigrants from these countries, including Filipino and Pakistani immigrants. Later on the Charlie Rose show, Trump was asked if he would include nations like Belgium or France in his list of “terrorist nations,” given the recent spate of high-profile terrorist attacks; Trump declined to comment.
Whether it is Donald Trump’s verbal caricature of overseas Chinese businessmen, or Jeb Bush’s proclamation that when it comes to “anchor babies” the issue is “more related to Asian[s]”, or Carly Fiorina’s lamentations over the “industry” of Chinese women having babies in the United States, one thing has become clear: the Right-wing of American politics is now firmly entrenched in a platform of anti-immigrant nativism filtered through the lens of sinophobia. Much of that xenophobic rhetoric comes in the form of railing against undocumented immigrants, whom Trump characterized in his campaign announcement speech as “criminals”, “rapists” and “murderers”.
Two thirds of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are foreign-born according to the Center for American Progress’ State of Asian America report released last year, and 40% of America’s immigrants currently call an Asian country the place of their birth. Of those approximately 10 million foreign-born AAPIs, 1.3 million (or 1 in every 8) are undocumented immigrants. These numbers also suggest that currently, approximately 1 in every 9 undocumented immigrants is AAPI. Those numbers are on the rise: over the last decade, the overall Asian undocumented population has doubled, with the undocumented population originating from India, South Korea and China having grown by as much as 300%. Considered alongside evidence showing that undocumented immigration from Mexico has slowed in recent years, Asian Americans are now the fastest growing undocumented population in America leaving one National Journal reporter to suggest that “someone tell Donald Trump that he’s picking on the wrong immigrants.”
Snoopy believes Jeb Bush — son of the country’s 41st president and brother to the country’s 43rd president — will ultimately emerge as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee next year. So it is with particular interest that I watch Bush’s statements on the crowded Republican primary campaign trail right now: what Bush says now could come back to haunt him in the fall of 2016.
Consistent with this prediction, Bush appears to be running in the Republican primary season as a middle-of-the-road conservative. For the most part, he has rejected the radical ideas of his primary opponents, and instead has issued statements designed to ensure appeal to moderate voters in the general election. When Donald Trump declared last week that he would back trade embargos against Mexico and a Constitutional amendment to reduce or eliminate the birthright citizenship standard, most of the other Republican candidates followed suit; Jeb broke from the pack with an ardent support of birthright citizenship as “a constitutional right”.
Just when I was on the verge of writing a post titled “Jeb Bush: The Voice of Reason”, however, Bush couldn’t help but remind us that he’s still running in a primary race that has become little more than a clown car of hate. Asked to clarify and defend his use of the term “anchor babies” — a term referring to the US-born children of immigrants who have American citizenship by birthright, and a phrase that is implicitly racist and derogatory when used by Republicans — Bush told a reporter yesterday that he doesn’t use the phrase in reference to Latino immigrants.
According to Bush, the problem is Asians.
Activists tell me that Nan-Hui Jo — the Korean survivor of domestic abuse who fled her abuser with her young daughter only to be arrested last year when she reentered the United States on a tourist visa and charged with child abduction — was released from federal detention pending possible deportation. After her first trial ended in a mistrial, Jo was convicted earlier this year and sentenced to time served, but was then immediately taken into ICE custody pending possible deportation.
Korean American community activists and women’s rights workers joined forces over the last year, working tirelessly to deman Nan-Hui Jo’s release and restored access to her daughter, who is currently under full custody of her father and Jo’s abuser.
Thanks in no small part to those efforts, Nan-Hui Jo was released from ICE custody last Friday, her supporters announced this morning. She is scheduled to deliver a public statement next Wednesday morning on July 27th.
Last week, I wrote about Adam Crapser, an adult Korean American adoptee who as a child survived years of incredible physical, sexual, and emotional abuse committed by two separate foster families. As a lasting part of their abuse, neither set of foster parents completed Adam’s naturalization paperwork or have been willing to give him his adoption papers.
Consequently, for his entire adult life, Adam Crapser — now married with three children — has been forced to live as an undocumented American. On April 2nd, he faces a deportation hearing with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE plans to deport Crapser — a Korean American adoptee — to Korea, the country of his birth but to which he has no ties.
Outraged, many readers have been asking what they can do to help Adam stay in America and receive documentation.
I’ve got great news: a social media campaign has now been launched to try and #KeepAdamHome.
Since 2001, Reappropriate has been the web's foremost Asian American activism, identity, feminism, and pop culture blog!