Tag Archives: Undocumented Immigrants

Deportations of Southeast Asian Americans: A Glaring Human Rights Issue in an Unjust Immigration System

September 26, 2016
Organizers in Tacoma. (Photo Credit: 1Love Movement)
Organizers in Tacoma. (Photo Credit: 1Love Movement)

By Guest Contributors: Chanida Phaengdara Potter (@LittleLaosBlog, @chanidanoy) and Mia-lia Boua Kiernan (@1lovemovement1)

Last week, war veterans, mothers, fathers, family, friends, and children held signs of pleas to stop deportations of their loved ones.

Organized by family members of those detained, and supported by a coalition of API advocacy organizations, people lined the streets of Minneapolis outside Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office to demand justice after almost a dozen Cambodian Minnesotans were detained for deportation. This isn’t solely in the Cambodian community. Just last year, the story of Lao American DJ Teace aka Thisaphone Sothiphakhak was in the Minneapolis City Pages.

“That’s the most frustrating feeling,” said Sothiphakhak at the time. “I went through the court system, and literally something 18 years ago came back and made me feel like I was less than human.”

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Why a Vice President Mike Pence is Bad News for AAPIs

July 15, 2016
Indiana governor and Trump running-mate, Mike Pence.
Indiana governor and Trump running-mate, Mike Pence. (Photo credit: ABC)

Hours ago, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump confirmed weeks of political gossip with his announcement that he had chosen Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his general election running-mate.

I’ve already written at length about why Donald Trump’s fear-mongering and race-baiting has exacerbated this country’s hostility towards people of colour, and how his rhetoric will ultimately prove damaging for the Republican Party. In the meanwhile, however, people of colour will have to find a way to survive a general election that has popularized derogatory and racist remarksand open assault — towards non-White people. Today’s decision is by Trump is only more bad news, particularly for AAPI immigrants, women and LGBT individuals and other immigrants, LGBT folks, and other women of colour.

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Asian Americans, We Must Stand Strong with our Undocumented Immigrants | #MyAsianAmericanStory

September 4, 2015
The falsified documents of a Chinese American so-called "paper son".
The naturalization papers of a Chinese American immigrant.

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.”

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Immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas detained by US Border Patrol at TX airport

July 15, 2014
Jose Antonio Vargas takes center-stage on a 2012 Time Magazine cover.
Jose Antonio Vargas takes center-stage on a 2012 Time Magazine cover.

Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) — journalist, documentary-filmmaker and immigrant rights’ activist — has been handcuffed and detained by US Border Patrol while he was visiting at the McAllen-Miller International airport. Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant in a landmark 2011 New York Times essay, was visiting Texas in relation to the ongoing political debate over Central American child refugees.

Vargas was attempting to attend a screening of his documentary “Documented”. However, because Vargas was brought into the country without documentation as a minor, he was armed with only a Phillipines passport (and a pocket copy of the US Constitution) as his identification papers. Vargas had entered Texas unaware that US Border Patrol sets many immigration checkpoints in border states, specifically to check travelers who are not actually crossing any borders with the U.S, and that he might be unable to leave the area.Shortly after trying to pass through security, Vargas was handcuffed and detained. Reports from “Define American”, the non-profit immigrants rights group Vargas helped found, are that Vargas is currently undergoing questioning.

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