De­por­ta­tion threat seen as most oner­ous

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By AMY HE in New York amyhe@chi­nadai­

Asian Amer­i­cans and His­pan­ics be­lieve it is more im­por­tant for unau­tho­rized im­mi­grants to be relieved of the threat of de­por­ta­tion than it is to have a path­way to le­gal ci­ti­zen­ship, new Pew Re­search Center sur­veys show.

With the two groups, 49 per­cent of Asian Amer­i­cans think be­ing able to work in the US with­out fear of de­por­ta­tion is more im­por­tant than hav­ing a clear path to ci­ti­zen­ship, and 55 per­cent of His­pan­ics said the same.

The Pew Re­search Center con­ducted two sur­veys on im­mi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion at­ti­tudes be­tween Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber this year. The Asian-Amer­i­can sur­vey was done among a na­tion­ally rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of 802 AsianAmer­i­can adults.

The sur­veys were done af­ter the US Se­nate passed an im­mi­gra­tion bill dur­ing the sum­mer, one of the key pro­vi­sions be­ing that un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants are pro­vided a 13-year path­way to ci­ti­zen­ship. The bill re­mains stalled in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

A large ma­jor­ity of Asian Amer­i­cans sup­port the mea­sure — 72 per­cent — and 44 per­cent said it is im­por­tant to them that new im­mi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion passes.

The sur­veys show that more Asian Amer­i­cans than His­pan­ics said they have per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with the US im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem — 69 per­cent and 45 per­cent, re­spec­tively. A ma­jor­ity of Asian-Amer­i­can re­spon­dents — 59 per­cent — said that grant­ing le­gal sta­tus to un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants would “strengthen the US econ­omy,” the sur­vey showed.

On the ef­fect of unau­tho­rized im­mi­gra­tion on Asian Amer­i­cans liv­ing in the US, 25 per­cent of them said it has a neg­a­tive im­pact on those liv­ing here and 21 per­cent said it has a pos­i­tive im­pact.

The Pew sur­vey also showed that a higher per­cent­age of Asian Amer­i­cans than His­pan­ics re­ported hav­ing seen or heard noth­ing at all about the im­mi­gra­tion leg­is­la­tion be­ing con­sid­ered — 20 per­cent Asian Amer­i­cans ver­sus 15 per­cent His­pan­ics.

At a panel dis­cus­sion on Wed­nes­day hosted by the New York Im­mi­gra­tion Coali­tion and the Center for Com­mu­nity and Eth­nic Me­dia, im­mi­gra­tion ex­perts stressed the im­por­tance of out­reach ef­forts to ed­u­cate and help im­mi­grant groups in New York on leg­is­la­tion ef­forts and how to be­come cit­i­zens if el­i­gi­ble.

Kather­ine Fen­nelly, a se­nior fel­low at the Im­mi­gra­tion Pol­icy Center in Wash­ing­ton, said that New York lags be­hind other states in le­gal­iza­tion ap­pli­ca­tions, par­tic­u­larly be­cause the im­mi­grant groups in New York are more di­verse.

“There is dif­fi­culty in out­reach to a very di­verse im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tion with fewer cross-com­mu­nity net­works,” she said. “There were fewer ef­forts to tar­get non-Latino im­mi­grants and that af­fected New York.”

Fen­nelly said that un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants are pre­dom­i­nantly Latino and out­reach to a group that only speaks one lan­guage and has an ex­ten­sive com­mu­nity net­work.

In ad­di­tion, ac­cord­ing to the lit­er­a­ture re­view she con­ducted, Fen­nelly said that for Asian un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants, there is a stigma at­tached to be­ing un­doc­u­mented.

“There is per­haps a greater stigma to be­ing un­doc­u­mented than there might be for some Latino im­mi­grants, par­tic­u­larly the Filipino com­mu­nity, the Chi­nese and Korean com­mu­ni­ties. Peo­ple do not want to be iden­ti­fied as be­ing un­doc­u­mented,” she said.


re is dif­fi­culty in out­reach to a very di­verse im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tion with fewer cross-com­mu­nity net­works.” KATHER­INE FEN­NELLY A SE­NIOR FEL­LOW AT THE IM­MI­GRA­TION POL­ICY CENTER IN WASH­ING­TON

Out­reach ef­forts have to be di­verse, she said, and for Chi­nese com­mu­ni­ties, for ex­am­ple, lo­cal-lan­guage news­pa­pers and ra­dio sta­tions are more ef­fec­tive at pass­ing along in­for­ma­tion than the web or so­cial me­dia.

“Com­mu­ni­ties like the Chi­nese com­mu­nity were not as en­gaged and in­formed,” Fen­nelly said. “We have much to learn and I hope that as we get ready for com­pre­hen­sive im­mi­gra­tion re­form, we will take those lessons to heart and talk to peo­ple within the com­mu­nity.”

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