World

Asian community in US rattled by Trump immigration policies

LOS ANGELES: The debate surrounding US President Donald Trump's immigration crackdown has focused almost entirely on the Latino community, leaving other affected groups - notably Asians - largely out of the discourse, experts said.

Of the estimated 11 million unauthorised immigrants in the US, some 80 per cent are from Mexico or elsewhere in Latin America. But the second largest group - 1.5 million - are from Asia, according to government figures and researchers.

OVERLOOKED

And yet Asians were often overlooked in the current debate over illegal immigration, which has mainly been cast by the Trump administration as a Mexican issue that can be tackled by building a wall along the US-Mexico border.

"Asians in the US have not received the same sort of focus as people from Mexico and Latin America," said Mr Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration lawyer and professor at Cornell Law School.

"It may be more sociological than anything else but they are certainly concerned, as everyone else, about the new enforcement policies."

Mr Joon Bang, executive director of the Korean American Coalition in Los Angeles, said that since the election of Mr Trump (above) in November, he has witnessed mounting fear within the Korean community over the president's immigration policies.

"To give you an idea... we normally get about 60 calls a month regarding immigration issues, and since Mr Trump was elected, we have had an average of about 150 calls a month," Mr Bang said.

"It is all fear-related, from people with or without status to those with a visa or in the process of applying for citizenship."

He said the anxiety is such that in one instance, a Korean woman in Los Angeles who was domestically abused refused to go to the police for fear she and her family would be deported. - AFP

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