Citizenship

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.

From Ireland to Germany to Italy to Mexico: How America’s Source of Immigrants Has Changed in the States, 1850 – 2013

Explore the top countries of origin for immigrants in each state from 1850 to 2013.

Immigration by country of origin 1850 to 2013

Source: From Ireland to Germany to Italy to Mexico: How America’s Source of Immigrants Has Changed in the States, 1850 – 2013

Meet Yuh-Line Niou: First Asian-American to Represent Chinatown, NYC

Yuh-Line

She trained here,studied here, got her footing here in Seattle. The influence of so many longstanding Asian Pacific American mentors within social justice movements has changed the way younger APAs see themselves in positions of influence. Go Yuh-Line! (She was also my neighbor for many years here in Ballard.)

 

Questions to ask students:

What is an elected representative?

What should an elected representative be like?

How do you choose the right candidate for you?

 

Here are a few easy and free lesson plans we find useful:

 

Click Here Or The Image Above For The Story 

 

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?

 

Who is American? A National Moment on the Question of Belonging

CaptHumayunKhanUS-Army_rev24095411925Ghazala Khan, mother to Humayun Khan, married to Khizr. Her family emigrated here from Pakistan via the United Arab Emirates.

Her words raise the question of sacrifice for, and even the responsibility to, a belief that America is a plural society. In front of the nation she and her husband recounted the painful loss of their son, Army Captain Humayun Khan who died during his military tour in Iraq. Mrs. Khan’s own legitimacy in mourning the loss of her son, and even being “allowed” to express her own opinions was challenged by a major party presidential candidate simply because she is of Muslim faith. Read her response to a major political party candidate here.

While not everyone who has sacrificed for this nation-building project called the United States of America served in the military, her words echo a larger call for the recognition of millions of contributions by everyday American people.

Students can be challenged to consider the notions of civic responsibility; of belonging to a country; citizenship; and of nationality versus ethnicity or religious beliefs.