Immigration News: August 12, 2022

The images represent a few of the many short video segments in the Pew Research report, Being Asian in America.

What does it mean to be Asian in the United States? A new Pew Research report unpacks the differences and similarities in the experiences of 18 different Asian ethnicities in the United States. It includes video segments (linked above), as well as the written report.

The study includes perspectives and stories of Asian Americans who are immigrants and Asian Americans for in the United States. One sad similarity: all Asian ethnic groups have to deal with “ignorance and misinformation about Asians in the U.S.”

[Pew Research] “The majority of Asian Americans are immigrants, coming to understand what they left behind and building their lives in the United States. At the same time, there is a fast growing, U.S.-born generation of Asian Americans who are navigating their own connections to familial heritage and their own experiences growing up in the U.S. …

“Many participants described a complicated relationship with the pan-ethnic labels “Asian” or “Asian American.” For some, using the term was less of an active choice and more of an imposed one, with participants discussing the disconnect between how they would like to identify themselves and the available choices often found in formal settings. For example, an immigrant Pakistani woman remarked how she typically sees “Asian American” on forms, but not more specific options. Similarly, an immigrant Burmese woman described her experience of applying for jobs and having to identify as “Asian,” as opposed to identifying by her ethnic background, because no other options were available. …

“Many participants felt that neither “Asian” nor “Asian American” truly captures how they view themselves and their identity. …

“For many, interactions with others (non-Asians and Asians alike) often required explaining their backgrounds, reacting to stereotypes, and for those from smaller origin groups in particular, correcting the misconception that being “Asian” means you come from one of the larger Asian ethnic groups. …

“In some cases, ignorance and misinformation about Asians in the U.S. lead to inappropriate comments or questions and uncomfortable or dangerous situations. Participants shared their frustration when others asked about their country of origin, and they then had to explain their identity or correct misunderstandings or stereotypes about their background. At other times, some participants faced ignorant comments about their ethnicity, which sometimes led to more contentious encounters. For example, some Indian or Pakistani participants talked about the attacks or verbal abuse they experienced from others blaming them for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Others discussed the racial slurs directed toward them since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Some Japanese participants recalled their families losing everything and being incarcerated during World War II and the long-term effect it had on their lives.” 

And in other news

New York shelters do not house migrant families who lack documentation to prove their family relationship. That leads to either family separation, or sleeping on the streets. 

[NYNMedia] “’Several people have reported that because they are unable to prove their familial relationship as a result of not having marriage certificates or birth certificates, that families are being split through the housing shelter system at intake,’ Maryann Tharappel, attorney-in-charge of immigrant & refugee services at Catholic Charities, told City & State. …

“’Let’s be clear – the amount of paperwork that the Department of Homeless Services demands from an average New Yorker who presents at intake is massive,’ President and CEO of Women in Need and former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said. ‘In this particular case, we have people who have been through the ringer. They’re not just homeless, they’re refugees from violent situations, from foreign countries who have been treated like nothing but garbage by the government of Texas, and we welcome them by saying ‘you don’t have the right paperwork.’ 

“During the processing and detention period executed by federal border officials, migrants’ documents are often confiscated, and in many cases, not returned …”

While NYC Mayor Eric Adams says newly arriving asylum seekers are driving up homeless numbers, that’s a claim largely unsupported by data.

[City Limits] “Still, some advocates for homeless New Yorkers and a handful of councilmembers have questioned the figures that Adams and his agency heads have cited. In a statement ahead of the hearing, The Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless criticized the mayor’s ‘unsupported claims that recent increases in the shelter census are due primarily to an influx of asylum seekers.’ …

“They also accused the Adams administration of using the presence of a certain number of immigrants to distract from broader problems with shelter capacity, rising homelessness and delayed move-outs into permanent housing. About 200 people a week are leaving shelters with housing vouchers, Jenkins told the Council. Meanwhile, he said, roughly 100 newly arriving immigrants are entering the system. That does not include an as yet untold number of New Yorkers seeking shelter for more traditional economic reasons—namely, that the rent is too high.”

The National Conference Center in Virginia is a temporary home and processing center for hundreds of Afghans awaiting resettlement in the United States. A few hundred are flown there each week from a temporary shelter in the United Arab Emirates. 

[CBS] “The massive hotel-like suburban complex, which typically hosts corporate and government events, was converted into a short-term refugee housing facility by the U.S. government earlier this year, becoming the sole domestic processing site for Afghans who escaped Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

“Last year, the Biden administration evacuated and resettled more than 70,000 Afghans, setting up processing hubs at military bases overseas and in the U.S. mainland where evacuees underwent security vetting, vaccinations, medical checks and immigration casework. The last processing site at a domestic military base closed in February. …

“While parole allows Afghans to work and live in the U.S. for two years without fear of deportation, it does not provide them a pathway to permanent residency. These so-called parolees must apply for other benefits, such as asylum or a Special Immigrant Visa for those who aided U.S. forces, to gain permanent status.”

One more reminder: the United States is not the only destination country for immigrants, including those seeking asylum. Costa Rica is about to give legal status to 200,000 immigrants, mostly from Nicaragua.

[Reuters] “The plan aims to formally include the migrants in the jobs market and healthcare system, Costa Rica’s migration head Marlen Luna told Reuters. …

“An influx of people fleeing Nicaragua saw asylum requests in Costa Rica reach a record 60,000 last year, but migration officials believe this could climb to 80,000 in 2022. …

“Nicaraguan migrants make up some 90% of applications for refugee status in Costa Rica, and represent 11.5% of Costa Rica’s 5.2 million inhabitants, according to Chaves.”

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet, www.tcdailyplanet.net, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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