KUOW reports there are 250,000 undocumented immigrants in Washington State and 40 percent are from Asian countries–the largest percentage of any ethnic group. Immigrants from Latin countries comprise 30 percent of the undocumented population.
Why then are Asian Americans often left out of the immigration reform debate? KUOW talked to Pramila Jayapal, co-chair of We Belong Together.
“This undocumented immigration has been growing in the Asian community. Immigration is our issue too.” said Jayapal. Most Asian immigrants to this country come through family sponsorships. The current wait for adults in 15 to 20 years. Immigrants from India, the Philippines and Mexico have the longest wait.
Jayapal says while Republicans are now also advocating for immigration reforms, many want to exclude family reunification from the reform efforts.
“Culturally Asian Americans and other immigrants have a great sense of family. Family has been cornerstone of immigration for so long,” said Jayapal. Despite that she remains optimistic.
“I think overall we’re going to get a bill that’s far stronger than anything we’ve ever have.”
You can hear her entire interview and her frustrations with the lack of media coverage of Asian Americans in the immigration reform debate on KUOW