Advocacy Factsheet - Immigration

EAST COAST ASIAN AMERICAN STUDENT UNION (ECAASU) NATIONALAdvocacy Factsheet — Immigration Issues

Often referred to as the "country of immigrants", the United States supports and accepts the greatest number of immigrants as permanent residents than any other country in the world. In 1998, Bill Clinton argued that "the United States has always been energized by its immigrant populations" and that "[immigrants] have proved to be the most restless, the most adventurous, the most innovative, the most industrious people."

While immigrants are undoubtedly invaluable to the growth of the United States, the economic, political, and social aspects of immigrants remain a highly debated topic. Often changes in settlement patterns, job availability, voting trends and crime rates caused by continued immigration concerns many non-immigrants and have instigated waves of anti-immigrant sentiment in America's recent history. While immigration issues affect all immigrant communities, the Asian and Pacific Islander community is disproportionally impacted, as almost 70% of all Asian Americans are foreign-born.

Fierce anti-immigration sentiment has lead to the passing of discriminatory laws in America's both recent and distant history against Asian Americans: this includes everything from the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, to the Alien Land Laws in western states, to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. More recently in 2001, the September 11th attacks lead to the detainment and deportation of immigrants as a result of the hastily-passed Patriot Act. Most recently, Arizona state legislature passed the perhaps the most stringent undocumented immigrant laws, Senate Bill 1070—which disfranchises already underprivileged communities. Their legal troubles aside, immigrant communities lack many additional resources and opportunities, including access to healthcare, public benefits, adequate housing, education, and civil rights.

ECAASU hopes to educate, mobilize and empower college students to work with and support immigrant communities in the current immigration movement. We hope to advocate alongside other organizations at the city, state, and national level to protect and advance the rights of AAPI immigrants.

Issues & Areas of Focus Some issues regarding immigration that ECAASU National hopes to tackle this year include, but are not limited to: A. Immigration Reform Legislation—Collaborate with national organizations, including but not limited to, the United We Dream coalition and the Asian American Justice Center to push for comprehensive immigration reform. B. Immigration Rights: Healthcare—Work with the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum to improve immigrant’s access to healthcare (Tentative) C. Immigration Research: Gender Roles—Partner with ECAASU National Advocacy Chair on Women’s Issues Dara Chen and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum to investigate how gender plays a role in immigration.

Additional Resources Immigration Worldwide: Policies, Practices, and Trends—An exploration of current immigration patterns and policies, written by experts

Asian-Nation: Early Immigration into the US—A history of Asian American immigration

SB1070 Senate Fact Sheet—Information about Arizona’s new, controversial immigration law, SB 1070.

Heath Care Reform and Immigration—NYTimes: Health Care and Immigration

Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies Classes—Arizona bans ethnic studies in state schools and teachers with accents are no longer allowed to teach English.

Americans Demand Immigration Reform—NYTimes: A recent poll reveals that the majority of Americans believe the country’s immigration policies need to be changed.

Citizenship for Qing Wu—After receiving a pardon from NY Governor, David Paterson, Qing Hong Wu naturalized to become an American citizen.

Illegal Immigrants Bolstering Social Security—NYTimes: Despite popular belief, illegal immigrants contribute to American society.

Asian American Organizations Against SB 1070—Several Asian American civil rights and legal organizations unite to file a lawsuit against the US District Court for the District of Arizona, challenging SB1070.

Immigrants Indifferent to Economic Downtown—NYTimes: Despite the staggering economy, immigration rates remain unchanged.

Want to Get Involved? If are you interested in getting involved with Immigration advocacy, please contact ECAASU National’s Advocacy Chair on Immigration Melanie Gao at immigration.advocacy@ecaasu.org.