The decision of President Trump’s administration to end the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) also affects Asian Pacific Islander Americans. Here are some statistics from ASPIRE, a Pan-Asian undocumented immigrant led group in the country housed under Asian Law Caucus based in San Francisco Bay Area:
The history of Chinese Americans in this country has been characterized by illegal immigration, forced by the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Action in 1882 and its aftermath. Over 90% have immigrated illegally themselves or have been descendants of illegal immigrants (Francis Leo, immigration official, 1967).
We are not just a nation of immigrants; we have long been a nation of illegal immigrants. Did the Pilgrims arrive with papers? How about the Jamestown settlers? They did not land in an empty space, but intruded upon native tribes who gave them sustenance.
Although the news has focused the DACA issue on Latino Americans, we must also remember our own history and support efforts and demonstrations to maintain this program. No evidence has been found by research conducted by National Public Radio (NPR) and the Associated Press (AP) that young people eligible for DACA adversely affect jobs, but that they contributed to the economy.
A beautifully written picture book to use about immigration is Faith Ringgold’s We Came to America. All arrivals to our shores, no matter when or how or with whatever religious beliefs, some with hope, some in chains, they are all part of our country.
Paper Son: Lee's Journey to America by Helen Foster James and Virginia Shin-Mui Loh, illustrated by Wilson Ong 2013. Although there are many books on Angel Island, this book specifically shows how many of us had to use false identities to enter the country.