Asian Americans Reluctant to Stand Up for Immigration Issues

December 4th, 2008  |  Published in Uncategorized

From Asian Americans Reluctant to Stand Up for Immigration Issues:

NEW YORK – The Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston recently released a study showing that many Asian Americans pay close attention to immigration issues but few of them are willing to stand up and do advocacy work. According to The World Journal, a survey of 412 Asian Americans by Paul Watanabe, director of the Institute and associate professor of political science at the university, and his colleagues found that about 80 percent of them were “very concerned” or “concerned” about immigration. The study shows that 58 percent of Asians are sympathetic to undocumented immigrants and 52 percent of them are supportive of the idea of legalizing undocumented immigrants. About 33 percent of the Asian Americans surveyed said they would become involved in collecting signatures on petitions for immigration issues, but only nine percent said they were willing to do anything further, such as participating in public protests.

Even the most informed of us, I think, gets a certin picture in their head when they hear the phrase “immigrant” and “illegal immigrant”.  I remember being surprised when I learned that the first law to limit a specific group’s immigration to the U.S. was directed to Chinese Americans.  I wonder if there’s any data about Asian American political engagement in general and whether the behavior in this study is any different from the general case.

I can only think of my dad yelling at the radio, but being pretty resigned to the way things were in the world, even if he acknowledged that they were unjust.  I was excited that my mom told me that my dad had volunteered during the Obama campaign, making calls to potential voters.  Things are always more complicated when it comes down to it.