Opinion: Where are Asian Americans in the Immigration Debate?
Voices of NY
January 29, 2013 10:49 AM | 3510 次 | 0 0 評論 | 6 6 推薦 | 電郵給朋友 | 打印
Seventy-seven percent of Asian Americans voted for President Obama, according to exit polls.
Seventy-seven percent of Asian Americans voted for President Obama, according to exit polls.
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In an opinion piece published in Feet in Two Worlds, Erwin de Leon wonders why immigration is almost exclusively considered a “Latino issue,” even as more and more Asian Americans support comprehensive immigration reform.

De Leon says that last week U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), along with five other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, “met with White House officials who assured them that the Obama administration is moving forward with immigration reform.”

It’s interesting that no one from the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus was invited to this meeting. Then again, this shouldn’t be a surprise. Most people see immigration as a “Latino issue” and there are more Latino votes to be had than Asian votes. Nonetheless, 2012 witnessed the rise of a small but no less important electorate which helped re-elect President Obama and many other officials.

De Leon goes on to mention a report by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) detailing findings from its exit poll of Asian American voters in the November 2012 election. The AALDEF survey was conducted in various Asian languages, capturing responses that would have been missed by English-only polls.

Contrary to pre-2012 thinking, Asian Americans are not that conservative. Fifty-seven percent of those polled said they were Democrats and only 14 percent identified as Republicans. Seventy-seven percent voted for President Obama and only 21 percent supported Governor Romney.

According to De Leon, the poll also reveals that 65 percent of Asian American voters supported comprehensive reform which includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Seventy-three percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Republicans said they support a path to citizenship.

Just like Latinos, Asian Americans have family members, friends and neighbors who are without papers. It is estimated that 11 percent of all unauthorized people in the United States are Asian. A majority of Asians are first generation immigrants who are greatly affected by the inadequacies of our immigration system. Asian immigrants are among those who wait the longest – up to two decades – to be reunited with their loved ones because of immigration backlogs. Highly educated and skilled Asian immigrants can wait up to six years before earning a green card. (…)

Pro-immigration forces need to rally to ensure that legislation which includes a path to citizenship is passed once and for all. This includes Asian Americans who have proven themselves indispensable to any political victory.
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