Accuracy in Media

A group of Chinese American activists in Maryland have vocally opposed efforts to create sanctuary status in the state of Maryland, one in a city and another would have been county-wide. As a result of their opposition, the Washington Post published a piece which criticized their efforts, painting them as uninformed and a small minority.

How did they attempt to marginalize this group of concerned Chinese-Americans? By saying that they are against the majority of Asian-American opinion on illegal immigration, calling them sheltered and rich and unaware of illegal immigrants’ issues, and that they are old and ignorant of American history with Chinese immigrants.

Below are excerpts from the article that attempt to portray this vocal group of concerned citizens in a negative light:

It is an unusual burst of activism from a community of mostly first-generation immigrants, concentrated in Montgomery and Howard counties, who otherwise have largely avoided engagement with local issues. And it is activism that places them at odds with the stance of more traditional Asian American advocacy groups.

Leaders of the movement say President Trump’s aggressive immigration agenda has resonated with at least a segment of the roughly 60,000 Chinese Americans in the Maryland suburbs. They depict undocumented immigrants as a source of increased crime — a claim not supported by local or national data — and a financial drain on schools. The prospect of enhanced protection for those here illegally seems to offend this particular group of immigrants at a core level…

The advocates’ outspoken stance has placed them at odds with the mainstream of Asian American civil rights groups and elected leaders, who generally support “sanctuary” communities and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

They say the Asian American groups in Maryland have been blinded to the struggles of others by their comfortable existence in two of the country’s wealthiest counties, supported by advanced degrees and business success…

“Part of the problem is that Asian Americans are not mobilized around many issues by political parties or candidates. So they’re highly visible when they do get involved,” said [Professor Janelle] Wong, who conducted a survey with two University of California at Los Angeles political scientists after the 2016 election that showed 16 percent of Asian Americans think undocumented immigrants should be immediately deported.

Age and life experience may be drivers of the debate, some experts said. Many of the activists came to the United States 20 to 30 years ago and may be less familiar with the long history of laws that virtually banned all Chinese immigration — and naturalization of those already here — from the 1880s through the 1940s.

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