Surprising numbers of undocumented immigrants are coming from Asia. Filipinos are one such group.
Many US residents simply do not realize that the annual limit on permanent resident visas has put some families and individuals waiting for a decade or more. Using simple arithmetic, one can determine that a family reunification visa applicant from the Philippines could potentially wait over 20 years before the pending application is approved.
A long-standing relationship between the nation of the Philippines and the US began with the end of the Spanish American War. Student called Pensionados arrived first; welcome and even sponsored to come study at US Universities. Laborers came next. In the vacuum left unfilled with the Chinese Exclusion laws on the books, and the push to remove Japanese labor from the fields of Hawaii, California and Washington State, laborers emigrated to work in a number of industries. Farming, canneries, fishing, railroads, were just a few of the industries where Filipinos, men only, found themselves.
They too would lose this status in 1934 and the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act which included a clause allowing for Philippines independence after the Second World War. This made it possible for 50 (fifty) Filipino immigrant applicants to be admitted into the US annually. Subsequent laws would change that to 100 persons annually; and that too was changed. However, the number of applicants denied or unprocessed each year adds to the number of people left waiting.
Creating this backlog has repercussions, and the nation is now seeing that effect.
“Nauru is best known to most Australians as the remote Pacific island where asylum seekers who arrive by boat are sent. What is less well known is that in the 1960s, the Australian government planned to relocate the entire population of Nauru to an island off the Queensland coast.
The irony of this is striking, especially in light of continuing revelations that highlight the non-suitability of Nauru as a host country for refugees. It also provides a cautionary tale for those considering wholesale population relocation as a “solution” for Pacific island communities threatened by the impacts of climate change…”
“On average, one person is displaced each second by a disaster-related hazard. In global terms, that’s about 26 million people a year.
Most move within their own countries, but some are forced across international borders. As climate change continues, more frequent and extreme weather events are expected to put more people in harm’s way.
In the Pacific region alone, this year’s Cyclone Winston was the strongest ever to hit Fiji, destroying whole villages. Last year, Cyclone Pam displaced thousands of people in Vanuatu and Tuvalu – more than 70% of Vanuatu’s population were left seeking shelter in the storm’s immediate aftermath.
However, future human catastrophes are not inevitable. The action – or inaction – of governments today will determine whether we see even greater suffering, or whether people movements can be effectively managed…”
In the last post we watched Anh Luu talk about her life as a chef, a Vietnamese American, and her take on blending the many sides of her own cultural identity.
Compare the way this story below begins with Anh’s profile video, even though this video describes an Australian perspective, we can examine the stark differences in narrators and the sources of the narrations.
How might hearing her story told by someone else change the way we see Anh?
Who is the protagonist of Anh’s story? Who is the protagonist in the second film?
Why would it matter who the protagonist is when learning about a person, community or nation?
This is of course a more difficult comparison to make with our younger students but a rewarding conversation to have.
(ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION OPTION: This second film can also be used by teachers in class to make the comparison with current refugee and immigration issues facing the world and our nation.)
In particular, around the 3:40 mark, point out how many young men arrived on the boat, and why the Australian government kept the boat’s arrival a secret.
How many non-white Australians was enough to scare the population?
Discuss the importance of fear in the immigration/asylum debate.
“As an alumnus of University of Missouri and citizen of Missouri for the past 40+ years, I am deeply disappointed with the utilization of anti-Chinese and anti-Muslim rhetoric that portrays Asian Americans in a derisive light…”
— Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis President Al Li
Read his full statement here.
The article from NBC News can be found here: Article