On Wednesday, hundreds of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) families from 20 states rallied on the East Lawn of the Capitol to raise their voices in support of immigration reform.
Asian Americans are the fastest-growing immigrant population in the United States today. However, the immigration reform debate focuses largely on Latinos, while Asians are often overlooked. As Mee Moua, President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), said during Wednesday’s “Stand With Families” rally, “When people look at us, they don’t think about us as a cornerstone in the fight for immigration reform… But we are here today to fight for a pathway to citizenship for millions of Asian Americans.”
In my opinion, the reason Asian Americans are paid less attention than other nationalities in the immigration reform debate is because 90% of Asian immigrants come to the United States through family-based immigration visas. So the biggest problem that Asian immigrants face is backlog issues rather than allocation of citizenship. And although they have become the largest group of new immigrants in the U.S., the number of total Asian immigrants in the U.S. still does not compare to the number of Latino immigrants.
I still remember President Obama’s words at the 2004 Democratic National Convention vividly: “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America. There’s the United States of America.”
As an Asian American, I think that no matter what your ethnic background, keeping families together is the always the main concern. More of us should stand up and join the fight to protect the rights of immigrants. Families should be reunited regardless of race because family is the core of community, and strong communities are essential for the future of the United States. Of course there will be challenges that lie ahead of us, but I believe that we will rise up together to face those challenges and fight for a common cause as one people. Stand with families.