Chinese-Americans concerned about new Texas immigration law

World Today

A new and controversial immigration law is set to go into effect in the U.S. state of Texas next month. The measure will allow law enforcement to question, detain or arrest individuals over their citizenship status.

CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez reports on how the Asian-American community is reacting to the statute.

Starting Sept. 1, police officers in Texas will be allowed to ask any person they arrest or detain about their immigration status. The undocumented are in fear.

There have been protests, especially among the Hispanic population, which accounts for nearly half of all Texans, but they are not alone. “This topic is painful for me. Because I am an immigrant, my parents are immigrants, I represent a district filled with immigrants,” Texas state representative Gene Wu said.

One out of every seven Asian-Americans in the U.S. is undocumented. Wu said 90,000 of those are living in Texas illegally.

Wu, who is Chinese-American, has been speaking out against the policy. “What basically this bill says is that it’s open season for immigrants…all they know is you look Hispanic, you look Asian, so you must be an easy target,” Wu said.

The Texas law hits local governments with civil and criminal penalties if they don’t enforce the immigration law. Even police chiefs can be jailed.

Chinese-American community leaders worry about the law’s impact. “It affects us personally because all of us look different, no matter how many generations we’ve been here. We are always going to be considered foreigners. So we can be stopped just because they are looking and racially profiling, if you will,” community leader Rogene Gee calvert said.

Opponents said the law will endanger community police efforts, and they hope federal courts will intervene. “I’m hoping that the court system will look into this legislation and see the kind of inequality it is exacting and carrying out and will block it from taking force,” Chinese-American professor at the University of Texas Madeline Hsu said.

Those who oppose the law will keep fighting. Supporters, meanwhile, are demanding a better policing of the nation’s borders and enforcement of existing laws.