News / Asia

America's Asian Community Joins Debate Over Arizona's Immigration Law

David Dyar

Although a federal judge has blocked implementation of its most controversial provisions, the enactment of a new immigration law in the US state of Arizona has led to a furious debate over what some are calling the possible profiling of certain groups of people. Arizona's governor says she will appeal the judge's ruling blocking the part of the legislation ordering law enforcement officials to ask for proof of citizenship or legal residence from anyone they stop, if they have reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally. Some say the law would put an unfair spotlight not only on those from south of the US border, but on those from the Far East.

Joe Arpaio is the chief law enforcement officer in Maricopa County Arizona, which encompasses its largest city Phoenix. "Well, since we're close to the border , naturally we do have an influx of people from Latin America, Mexico, coming across the border specifically through Arizona. We do not have many from Asia, although I can recall recently that we arrested five from China. They came through maybe Cuba but ended up in Mexico City , came across our border, came through Maricopa County and we arrested them," he said.

"I am opposed to the Arizona law and I think that the Asian population should be concerned as well. As many listeners may know, one of the many criticisms of the law has been that Arizona police officers will be singling out Hispanic or Latino looking individuals and they are claiming that they're not gonna do that.  In my opinion, in order to prove that they're not gonna do that, they're gonna be looking for other people that fit the profile of immigrants. And to be quite honest with you, Asians are the next in line," said Bill Hing, a law professor at the University of San Francisco in California and an Asian American who was born in Arizona and still has family there.

Dr. Karen Leong, who is a professor of Asian Pacific American studies at Arizona State University, which is in Maricopa County, says other laws already in effect have led to a number of Asians being questioned by police. "We already have reports in Maricopa County where law enforcement has been authorized to participate in some of the federal enforcement where persons of Asian descent have been stopped and asked for their citizenship status and they have been legal US citizens," she said.

A recent poll shows most Americans supporting the Arizona immigration law.  Dr Leong says there is a reason for that. "There is an issue where we need immigration reform; I don't think anyone is questioning that. But the laws that are passed do not actually address structural reforms that are needed for immigration reform. They actually address easy targets, in this case people of color, people with brown skin who seem to not fit what people think Americans look like," she said.

So what should people in Asia do if they plan a visit to Arizona? Maricopa Sherriff Arpaio says "just come on over. Make sure you have your proper documentation. There's nothing to worry about. We're not going to go into a Chinese restaurant or on a corner and start asking people for their papers because they look like they may be from another foreign country. However, if there is a contact made with law enforcement pursuant to us enforcing the laws, the state laws, then we will ask for identification and try to develop whether they are here illegally without that proper documentation," he said.

Leong disagrees. "I would recommend they do not come. Partially because this law is violating people's civil rights and partially because as people of Asian descent, they will be asked for their identification unless they're with a recognized tour. In that case they may not. But otherwise, if they're just renting their own cars, there is a good likelihood they could be questioned," she said.

Although there is support for the new law, Arizona is facing opposition from within the United States. The city of Los Angeles has banned most official travel to neighboring Arizona along with future contracts with the state.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid