The U.S. administration’s plans to commit mass raids of the homes of undocumented immigrants has the Asian community on edge.
Undocumented Asian immigrants ballooned from 500,000 to 1.7 million between 2000 and 2015, according to estimates from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Center for Migration Studies (CMS).
More than tripling in 15 years, Asians make up for the fastest-growing undocumented group in the United States. Mexicans, in comparison, grew by only 21% in the same period.
To put that figure into perspective, undocumented Asians make 16% of all illegal aliens in the country. Additionally, this means one of every seven Asian immigrants is undocumented, according to AAPI Data.
On June 22, President Donald Trump announced the delay of nationwide Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids to deport undocumented immigrants for two weeks. During this period, Democrats will consider accepting changes they have long opposed in the asylum law.
“At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border,” Trump said in a tweet. “If not, Deportations start!”
At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2019
The operations are targeting 2,000 individuals in 10 major cities. This includes Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco, CNN reported.
Unfortunately, CMS estimates show that undocumented Asian immigrants are concentrated in states with these cities, such as California (463,310), New York (166,806), Texas (148,612), Illinois (71,403), and Florida (58,184). Asians in New York City, in particular, have already been targeted disproportionately, according to Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation (AAF).
“The immigration enforcement is not just about the Southern Border but also about the deep impact it’s having on Asian communities,” Yoo told HuffPost. “We know the faces and stories of those who live under deportation orders, many who are working through the legal system to seek recourse from being separated from their families.”
AAF Director of Research and Policy Howard Shih also told the outlet that Chinese immigrants are specifically targeted, partly because of the high asylum claims among the group. Trump is cracking down on both legal and illegal immigration. “This leaves those who fail to win asylum vulnerable to deportation,” he said.
🚨 WE HAVE TO PROTECT IMMIGRANTS!! 🚨 SHARE widely, our community needs to know what are our rights. #HereToStay
Translated in 11 languages: English, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Korean, Marathi, Vietnamese, and Tagalog. pic.twitter.com/dwnej1gu9H
— United We Dream (@UNITEDWEDREAM) June 21, 2019
The recent series of deportations of Cambodian refugees has also become a source of insecurity in the Asian community, even for legal residents. In fiscal year 2018, 110 Cambodian refugees with permanent resident status were sent back, both for serious and petty offenses.
“Even among the legal Asian immigrant population, anxiety levels are going up,” Karthick Ramakrishnan, chair of California’s Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs (APIA), told Public Radio International last month. “You have policies that are targeting even legal permanent residents now.”
Featured Image via Instagram / U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement