03 April 2006

Immigration Reform, for Asian Americans

DiAnne Grieser, whom I know through the Silenced Majority blog and the Democracy Cell Project, forwarded me a post from the Daily Kos.

Daily Kos

This post brings in the Indian-American and Chinese-American perspectives into the current immigration debate, where Latino concerns currently dominate. Basically, the point appears to be that Indian-Americans, who have lately trended Republican due to their high professional incomes and anti-tax stance, are incensed, because Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) wants to tax their remittances back to India. Also incensed are the more Democratic Chinese-Americans, who rely on fellow immigrants for labor. It calls for the Democrats to make inroads into the affluent professional Asian-American community, as it has done in Silicon Valley.

It's good idea on paper. But Republicans currently have a way of making poor American-born people to vote for them, against their best interests, by scaring them with images of abortion on demand and man-man marriages. Immigrants, with more conservative social norms, are no exception. I am not hearing of a mass exodus of Koreans in Los Angeles or Vietnamese in Orange County, out of the Republican camp; if anything, they are even more blatant about their Republican affiliation. In my own neighborhood, where I do have large numbers of Indians, Chinese, and Koreans, these groups are staying as Republican as ever.

I told DiAnne, and will tell everyone else, that any attempts by the Democrats and the progressives to make inroads into the Asian-American community will need to address this. In the Democracy Cell Project chat, I've pointed the immigrant conservatism out; I even pointed out that as much as the Republicans claim to hate immigrants, they need the immigrant vote to ram through homophobic legislations, at least in California. In Western Europe, governments have taken note of the immigrant homophobia (and my own experiences in London and Amsterdam point to immigrants as THE source of homophobia), and have required immigrants to renounce it in order to naturalize; while doing the same would be impractical in the US, attacking immigrant homophobia and conservatism, with a large educational effort by the progressives, will significantly weaken Republican strength. At the same time, the Republicans must be ridiculed and pummeled, for trying to have their cake (punishing the immigrants) and eat it too (relying on them for conservative legislations).

Let's see how smart and real (as opposed to politically correct, head buried in the sand) the progressive movement will get.