Tag Archives: immigration

That was no heckler in San Francisco: Yelling “Stop deportations,” an undocumented Asian American stands up and Obama stands down

I’ve played basketball at the Chinese Rec Center in San Francisco’s Chinatown as a kid, but this was a one-on-one game no one would have expected.

An undocumented Asian student in America, Ju Hong, 24, a Dream activist, was one of those with an invite to the special presidential event.

Hong was supposed to be merely ornamental, not a catalyst.




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Funny Hader send off on SNL had plenty of diversity—for a change; And advocates still optimistic when it comes to immigration reform

To my surprise, immigration advocates are optimistic despite all the DC scandals. There’s a feeling that reform is moving along with a real purpose, now that the House has announced it has reached a compromise to go up against the Gang of 8’s in the Senate.

See my piece on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.



I suppose we should be happy that DJ Baby Bok Choy and the Kabuki lady represent!  But wasn’t Bobby Moynihan available to play either role in yellow face? (That would be SNL SOP, no?)




It’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month? Really. Celebrate by fighting for a fair and inclusive immigration bill

In case it slipped your mind, it’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Come on, get AAPI!

If you’re non-Asian, let’s hope someone of Asian descent goes amok and greets you in an atypically loud, outlandish, and celebratory way. Sort of like Norm Mineta planting a wet one on Joe Biden at the APAICS dinner. (I don’t know if Norm did, but he should have.) 

It really is OK to show a little PDA (public display of Asian-ness), at least during this month.

For goodness sakes, it’s the law (Section 102, Title 36 of the U.S. Code). Right up there next to Flag Day, the day that compels many to wear Old Glory on their lapel. (Maybe you can find a lapel button with Bruce Lee’s picture on it?)

My hope is the month will also inspire our legislators not to screw with us too badly on that confounded compromise of an immigration bill. 

It’s mark-up time on that piece of Senate legislation offered up by the “Gang of Eight.” 

(Read the rest of my commentary on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.)


Immigration rallies preach to choir, earn sparse media coverage

I didn’t see much coverage on the May Day rallies on the level that I might have expected. That’s a barometer of sorts indicating tough sledding ahead.  I had hoped to see more of it in the mainstream, but only saw it covered in the international ethnic media.

(Maybe if they had an accented pop-culture star like PSY doing his thing, there would have been more crowds and media attention. It didn’t hurt the TODAY show this morning).

Given that even supporters want to change the bill, e.g., Asian Americans want more family reunification provisions, we still have a lot of compromising to go. If the Senate gets through the scheduled mark-up next week, one wonders if we will see something final by end of summer? There’s also rumbing in the House,  where the talk is reps want to deal with issues one at a time and not in some big burritto of a bill.

Stay tuned.


That Immigration bill, Boston, and baseball?

The Boston blasts have knocked even the grand leakage of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 AKA “The Immigration Bill,” down a few notches in the news ladder.


Going over the details now and will post on www.aaldef.org/blog. Initial reaction is it’s “not great,” and forgets why people immigrate here in the first place. There’s an “F” word that seems forgotten.


In the meantime, speaking of words and language, look at all the news stories and  if anyone says “illegal immigrant.”


We didn’t see that faux pas yesterday, but look at how quickly we launched into profile mode.


Yes, we were kind and all to the innocent. But not so much to people of color when the word went out that police were looking for a “dark skinned male, possibly with an accent, and a black sweat shirt.”


Certainly let the white terrorists off the hook.


That kind of profiling shows we haven’t learned much from 9/11.


If you haven’t noticed, I’ve got this thing for baseball, and covering the San Francisco Giants and their half-Filipino pitcher Tim Lincecum.


He’s a real Asian American, not some imported star from Korea or Japan. He’s from the Seattle area.


For me baseball and his struggles to date are the human story of the game that provides real perspective. I use it as an antidote to the reality known as “the political process,” where the glacial pace of change makes a nine-inning game go by in a wink. Read the posts under the heading: Linceblog.


It’s my form of escape that gives me a sense of balance.


It also works both ways. Too much time in the candy store of life, and

you get a day like yesterday.


Yesterday’s violence—amid the intense competitiveness of a marathon hailed as one of the iconic events in U.S. sports—brought us all back to that reality as we prayed for the dead and counted the wounded.


By the way, yesterday was another milestone day in sport: Jackie Robinson Day.


Read my take at  http://diverseeducation.com/article/52621/


And please read my other work at the archives :



Jose Antonio Vargas–the undocumented, not the illegal

Talked to an editor friend about Jose Antonio Vargas, an award winning Filipino American reporter who revealed his life as an undocumented person recently in a  New York Times Magazine article.

The editor pal said he’s not “undocumented.” He just had fake documents.

But I pointed out since the documents were fake they are non-documents, hence Vargas is still technically “undocumented.”

To which the editor-friend replied, that to the people Vargas presented the fake documents it appeared he had documents, which actually  would make Vargas a “falsely documented person.”

OK. But still basically undocumented.

The reason we have debates like this is that people tend to call the undocumented  “illegals.”

Illegal  is used as a noun, which is not proper and offensive when applied to people who should be presumed innocent.

“Illegal” can  be used appropriately, as an adjective or adverb. You can be a person who enters illegally. But you can’t be an illegal.

Sure, the shortcut is lost on texters and butchers of the language, but once explained you can see why “undocumented” is the  preferred term for people who entered  this country outside the law, or illegally.

But they aren’t “illegals.”  Those are sick birds.

They may be  illegal entrants, but as people they are undocumented.

My editor pal objected still and  said undocumented is like a sanitized euphemism. Like calling a janitor a “sanitary engineer.”

But I tell him insisting on “undocumented”  doesn’t sanitize or euphemize, it humanizes. It’s an appropriate balance to calling them “illegals” which only  vilifies and criminalizes unfairly.

For my take on Vargas, the new face of the undocumented, check out my blog at: