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Asians worry about family immigration and other legal issues

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In terms of immigration, it may seem too many immigrants that the politicians who reside in the District of Columbia often miss the mark. One area of concern is the stereotype that all immigrants are Latino. This is simply not true and many Asian immigrants would like to see Congress pay more attention to their needs when it comes to permanent residency, green cards and visa issues.

According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), it was reported that 28 percent of all immigrants in the United States are from Asia. This equates to about 11 million people. Following Latinos, Asians are the second largest immigrant group in the U.S. About half of those come from Philippines, India and China.

MPI also says that in 2010, Asian immigrants made up about 11 percent of all unauthorized immigrants. Department of Homeland Security numbers these undocumented persons in descending order as: 280,000 Filipinos, 200,000 Indians, 170,000 Koreans and 130,000 Chinese; the number of immigrants waiting (without documentation) for a temporary visa was not released in the report.

Asians are no different than any other immigrant group; those who are undocumented risk family separation if caught by authorities. Many younger Asians grew up believing that they are citizens of the U.S. when, in fact, they are not. Both highly skilled and low-skilled Asian workers are forced to wait for visas and green cards. Also, gay and lesbian Asian immigrants are not excluded from the struggle to gain permanent residency by their American spouses and partners.

According to Michelle Mittelstadt, MPI's Director of Communications, immigration is often complex. The turnaround time for family-based visas for immigrants coming from China, the Philippines and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region is of particular concern. Some say families wait up to two decades to be reunited. One can only hope that those politicians in the District of Columbia will someday address these issues, while those facing these problems need help now from immigration system many believe is not living up to its ideals.

Source: The WNYC, "Asian Immigration and the Myth of the 'Model Minority'," Erwin De Leon, Nov. 14, 2011

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