HomePoliticsEl Nuevo Sol: Undocumented Asian Immigrants Feel Like Criminals

El Nuevo Sol: Undocumented Asian Immigrants Feel Like Criminals

Asian Americans at Immigration Rally
Ray from LA’s

James is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.

James is Korean.

He told his story to El Nuevo Sol.

James came with his family from South Korea to Tlaxcala, Mexico to learn Spanish. At age 14, they moved to Los Angeles with visas.

But those visas expired. His family was able to gain another visa which allowed them to stay. But because by then James who is now a student at Cal State University Northridge and no longer a minor, he was unable to get one.

“Our migration stories were tougher than other migrants who have connections,” says James. 24. “Our family struggled a lot because of not knowing the system.”

There are more than 1 million undocumented Asian immigrants in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center.

“They face a lot of the same issues of other undocumented student’s experience — criminalization, because the U.S immigration system is design where you’re deemed a criminal if you’re undocumented,” says Tracy Buenavista, an Asian-American Studies professor at CSUN. “Criminalization, detention, and the threat of deportation, that’s a stressful thing they have to deal with on an everyday basis. Another barrier they face is poverty; there are a lot of states where you can’t legally be hired.”

James works 12 hour days as a sushi chef to pay for his tuition. He is being paid under the table because he does not have a social security number.

He is currently awaiting a response to his application for deferred action which would mean he could not be deported for two years.

You can hear an interview with Buenavista about the unique problems facing undocumented Asian immigrants in El Nuevo Sol.



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