Racial Bias

Undocumented Filipinos Are Living a Special Nightmare in Trump’s America

[Read Alyssa Aquino’s article: http://fpif.org/undocumented-filipinos-are-living-a-special-nightmare-in-trumps-america]

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.

How the entire nation of Nauru almost moved to Queensland

Nauru Phosphate

From The Conversation, online publication

By Jane McAdam

“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…”

Read More Here or Click on the Image Above

 

Memory and Renewal: Tanforan Assembly Center

2017 marks 75 years since the first Japanese Americans we forced into assembly centers and then to concentration camps throughout the United States.

Here in Western Washington American citizens and their parents were held at the Puyallup Fairgrounds– renamed Camp Harmony and then most were sent to Minidoka camp in Idaho. “Except in Portland, Pinedale, Sacramento, and Mayer, large fairground or racetracks were selected to minimize the need for building extra housing. At the racetracks, stables were cleaned out for use as living quarters. At the Portland Assembly Center over 3,800 evacuees were housed under one roof in a livestock pavilion subdivided into apartments.” (Densho Project Website)

Tanforan was a racetrack.

When we consider the events and the rhetoric of today’s electoral race, the importance of memorializing this tragic era of American history is not simply a message for those whose families share the direct legacy: It is for all the country to consider whether we will be complicit in this happening again, or not.

 

El Cerrito: WWII Tanforan Assembly Center story mirrors today’s issues

A Season to Vote

API Voters.Wooedbyparties.2016
API Voters Remain a Major Swing Vote in the Upcoming Election

 

 

“The Asian-American voter pool is remarkably diverse, ranging from Pakistanis and Indians to Chinese and Koreans.” That is the ethnic breakdown in the state of Virginia in an article from the Wall Street Journal. In Washington State we would add the populations from the Pacific Islands as well. This means the diversity of the Asian and Pacific American voting public is as varied as any other groups. Outreach by both major political parties will need to contend with this diversity. To the list we can confidently add: Vietnamese, Cambodian, Lao, Japanese, Thai, Sri Lankan, Filipino, Hawaiian, Fijian, Maori, Samoan, Tongan and a dozen other ethnicities.

The reality for political campaigns is that there is an assumption that if you reach one of these groups, you’ve reached them all. I very clear terms, that simply is not the effect.

In 2012, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans were a major factor in the elections; some have argued that we collectively were the most significant swing vote in that national and state-level elections.

Yet in the subsequent years, voter turnout in these populations droppedAPIvoterturnout.2014

I pointed this out at the dinner table this past summer. I was happily surprised at how interested my kids were in the topic.

My daughter entered her fourth grade class with the expectation that she would learn everything she needed to know about voting, elections and the Constitution. We are several weeks into the school year and I am trying to manage her expectations a bit. What I am struck by, is that she is committed to this idea of voting. Participation in elections, for her, is as important as her own interests in sports, arts and music. In essence; being a voter is an important part of her identity. She was disappointed that the right to vote wouldn’t be hers until she turned 18, because as she stated, “I’m a citizen now.”

What this triggered was a series of questions of whether the American voter– in particular Asian and Pacific American voters– saw the right to vote as inherent to their identity.

  • Does the right to vote coincide with the identity of being a citizen?
  • How do our next generations see themselves within our political process?
  • What is so important about voting?