Along with immigration from Latin America, immigration from Asia is one of the two great populations coming to the U.S.; recent researchers estimate that Asian immigrants now outnumber Latinos. Chinese, one of the largest sectors of Asian immigrants, come through family and employment-based immigration, as guest workers, and some times without papers. The U.S. government estimates that nine percent of foreign-born Asian is undocumented.
Our families have been divided by unjust immigration policies for many decades, and we know that immigration-related threats are used to divide and exploit workers on the job. The Chinese were the first nationality to be excluded by through the Chinese Exclusion laws beginning in the 1880s. When our ancestors became "paper sons" or found other routes to enter the US against the exclusion laws, the government created the border patrol to keep us from crossing the Canadian and Mexican borders.
Because of our history and our position in immigration, the Chinese community has important things to say and a role to play around these issues.
CPA Steering Committee Statement
In the coming months, legislators will be discussing comprehensive immigration reform. While news has focused on the issues of undocumented immigrants, comprehensive immigration reform may include all aspects of immigration law. Our community's voice needs to be heard in the immigration reform debate now in Congress.
After many discussions within CPA and dialogue with other communities, we urge you to ask our legislators to
1. Support Family Unification.
Change the unfair quotas-and-preference system, which creates an inhumane backlog for applicants from Asia and Latin America where there is greater demand. Expand family reunification visas to shorten waiting times, and prevent the breakup of families in detention and deportation procedures.
2. Protect Worker Rights.
Safeguard all workers' right to organize and to labor law protections. Temporary workers arriving to work in agriculture, tourist, fast food, technology and other industries should not be exploited, nor should they have lower wage and safety standards as other residents.
3. Grant Legal Permanent Resident status to undocumented individuals currently residing in the US.
Immigrants who are already here—working, raising families, and contributing to society—should have the right to remain.
4. Protect Civil and Human Rights.
Border management must address human rights. Detention and deportation should be limited to those immigrants who are convicted of major crimes. Protect immigrants' rights to services that support basic human needs and rights to due process.