Caught in the middle: Asian immigrants struggle to stay in America
Millions of Asian immigrants are caught in the process to remain in America while Congress wrestles with immigration reform.
April 8th, 2013
05:52 PM ET

Caught in the middle: Asian immigrants struggle to stay in America

By Sudip Bhattacharya, CNN

Washington (CNN) - It should have been a happy day for Raymond Jose: He had been accepted to college, with scholarships to help pay for it.

But when he told his parents, his mother started to cry.

"I was puzzled why she was crying after hearing such great news," said Jose, who was to attend Montgomery College in Maryland. "That was when she started to explain to me we were undocumented, that we had overstayed our tourist visas."

Jose's family had come to the United States from the Philippines in 2000, when Jose was 9. They first lived in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area but moved four years later to Maryland.

Jose had been assimilated into American life and culture and didn't know that he was undocumented until that day. When he found out, he was heartbroken. His undocumented status prevented him from using scholarship money to help pay for school.

Every day after that, it was really hard to get out of bed," Jose said.

The debate over immigration reform has been focused on border security and immigrants from Latin America.

But the Asian population in the U.S. grew by more than 40% between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of those identifying themselves as Asians, either alone or in combination with another racial group, grew from 11.9 million to 17.3 million.

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Of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., 1.3 million are from Asia, according to the Department of Homeland Security.


Filed under: Asian in America • History • How we live • Immigration • Politics
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Jay

    You brought a very good topic .
    You also brought a very good example of an Asian.
    You know also that number of Asian people especially from China, India and Philippines have been waiting for more than 5-10 years to get their Green Card which is under process under different employment categories.
    All these people are living inside this country and following all legal rules and regulations of this country.
    They are also paying taxes and other fees as American citizens pay.
    Unfortunately, this people cannot leave their current company and has no opportunity to develop their carrier and life style.Tery will lose their green card processing if they leave their sponsor company.
    We do not get any news to handle these nonimmigrants those are waiting for 5-10 years.
    Top of that, if anyone comes from Kenya and get sponsorship to file his/ her green card ,he/she will get his/her green card within one year but those came from above countries they have to wait long period in spite of having same degree and work experiences. While an Asian immigrant will be waiting to get their green card by this time a Kenyan would be eligible for his/ her citizenship.

    Question is , legal, illegal all they have the American dream and those have legally working here more than 5-10 years; they have already proved to become eligible to fulfill their American dream, then why they will not be getting opportunity to receive GC, at least a work permit (EAD)instead of allowing them to be used with their future by their sponsor companies.

    There should be certain wait period to receive permanent residency those are waiting inside this country.

    April 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AniyunweahCherokee

    11 million? I saw that many mesos just this weekend

    April 9, 2013 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. Fair

    Maybe he should've come here legally. We don't want his kind here

    April 8, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |