Why the Arizona Immigration Law Affects Asians

Living in the SF Bay Area, where it’s obviously more liberal than other parts of the country, it’s not hard to find opposition to Arizona’s new law on immigration SB1070. Dig a little deeper and you’ll usually find there’s not as much understanding about what’s in the law as just general opposition against racial profiling of Latinos. There’s more going on with the new Arizona law that should make all Asians suspicious regardless of political view.

Unless you’ve been following Arizona news in the last year, you may have missed the fact that in 2009 arrested Chinese illegals were the largest group to attempt to cross the Arizona border behind Mexican illegals. So if there’s any racial profiling, I’m sure you can bet it will include Asians as well as Latinos.

I’ve had a special interest in the new Arizona law, since my family purchased a vacation home south of Tucson over a year ago and we’ve been spending a lot of time down there. During my first visit out in Arizona, I noticed the distinct lack of Asian faces where we bought our home. The only other Asian I noticed the entire time I’ve spent at my home is the manager of the local Panda Express. I’ve had little kids just stare at me, mouth agape, when we’re in any of the local restaurants or stores, since I’m the only truly “Asian” looking one in my family. I’ve even had one little kid walk up to me and ask if I was “Chinese”.

We are still planning on visiting and using our home in Arizona, since we have family there. But, the new law does force me to think about some planning before we go on our next trip. Since only Arizona driver’s licenses and passports will be considered legal proof of the right to live in the U.S. (and we don’t have AZ driver’s licenses, only CA ones), we’ve considered getting passport cards for the entire family to carry when we’re in Arizona. But I’m still wondering if I’ll get questioned just because I’m Asian. Apparently I’m not alone in this thinking, as there’s been recent concern in the Asian community as well. So if you don’t think this new Arizona law affects you because you’re Asian, think again.

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About Tim

I'm a Chinese/Taiwanese-American, born in Taiwan, raised on Long Island, went to college in Philadelphia, tried Wall Street and then moved to the California Bay Area to work in high tech in 1990. I'm a recent dad and husband. Other adjectives that describe me include: son, brother, geek, DIYer, manager, teacher, tinkerer, amateur horologist, gay, and occasional couch potato. I write for about 5 different blogs including 8Asians. When not doing anything else, I like to challenge people's preconceived notions of who I should be.
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