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

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

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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