Of those approximately 1.3 million undocumented APIA, some are children in our schools who have no idea that their parents had overstayed their visas. Their fears are the same as others affected by the impending changes in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program according to Hong Mei Pang of Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), a speaker at our recent Angel Island event on February 3.
The fear of being discovered has been a part of our history in America. After the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, we had entered or re-entered the country with false paper documents despite having contributed legitimately to the building of the Transcontinental Railroad and to the growth of California agriculture as farmworkers and levee builders. From 1910-1940 Chinese had to be incarcerated for weeks, sometimes months, and interrogated to establish their identity on Angel Island. Detainees carved angry poems on its wooden walls which have been translated and preserved today.
TACT has created some PowerPoints on Angel Island for elementary and secondary schools as well as a recommended reading list.