January 20, 2010 / / immigration

by Guest Contributor Kristin Fukushima

When asked what I do as Policy Coordinator for the Japanese American Citizens League, my answer of, “mostly immigration,” surprises folks. I can’t totally blame them, given that mainstream media seems to think the “immigration problem” is rooted squarely at our border down south.

Explaining why I, an Asian American, am involved in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) is simple enough. To break it down quickly: 63% of the AAPI community is foreign-born; immigrants from the Asian Pacific region face the longest backlogs (6 of 10 countries with the longest backlogs); 10% of the undocumented population is AAPI, etc, etc. Explaining why I, a yonsei (4th generation Japanese American), do immigrant rights advocacy – that’s a bit harder. My yonsei peers and I are pretty far removed from the immigrant experience, so the relevancy isn’t immediately clear. And why should JAs care about CIR – where do we fit in the debate? Read the Post Japanese Americans and Immigration: Where We Fit