May 30, 2020 Your Source for Brentwood News

Opinion: Will Asians Spur Big New Political Changes?

“Asian immigrants are feeling fearful because of President Trump’s ban on entry to this country by residents of several Muslim-majority countries.” Photo: Facebook.

Elias column header

The same sort of panic that hit California’s Latinos after the 1994 passage of the anti-illegal immigrant Proposition 187 is now hitting many of this state’s almost 6 million ethnic-Asian residents.

Latino fears in the wake of 187, which sought to keep the undocumented out of public schools, hospital emergency rooms and seemingly anyplace its authors could imagine, led to citizenship applications and then voter registration by more than 2.5 million Hispanics over the next three years.

They caused a political revolution in California, which morphed from a swing state equally likely to elect Republicans or Democrats into one of the most staunchly Democratic states in the Union. Only one Republican has been elected to statewide office in the last 20 years, the almost non-partisan former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who won out in the 2003 recall of ex-Gov. Gray Davis.

Now Asian immigrants are feeling fearful because of President Trump’s ban on entry to this country by residents of several Muslim-majority countries and his attempts to restrict the number of political and humanitarian refugees allowed in, plus a drive to deport Vietnamese refugees with any kind of crime on their record, no matter how old or minor.

Asians also remember the Japanese internment during World War II, in which 120,000 Japanese-Americans were held in remote camps for several years.

“You hope things like that can’t happen again, but they really can,” said one green card holder from Thailand. “So I will become a citizen.”

Like her, thousands of Asians in California, from countries as diverse as China, the Philippines and India, see citizenship as the best protection from a potential future expulsion.

If they become citizens in anything like the proportions of Latinos who felt similarly in California after passage of 187, they could spur vast political changes well beyond this state’s borders. In fact, if both they and citizenship-eligible Latino immigrants ever register in large numbers, they could turn several once-solid Republican states into battlegrounds or cause them to lean Democratic.

And Asians here are applying, although there are impediments Latinos did not face in the late 1990s. Example: Of the 220,000 immigrants in Orange County now eligible for naturalization, nearby 30 percent are Asian. Of them, about 4,500 applied for naturalization through the first three quarters of 2017. If that trend continues statewide for the remainder of Trump’s current term, more than 150,000 Asians will be added to California’s voting rolls.

Because they’re registering largely for the same reasons as Latinos once did, they probably won’t change this state’s political composition. But what about other states? Taking Texas as an example, more than 680,000 Asians are now eligible for citizenship but have not applied. That could make for big change in a state that in November almost gave a Democrats their first statewide victory in more than 20 years.

Yes, the $725 naturalization application fee is a roadblock for many. So is the required blizzard of paperwork. But Texas saw more than 20,000 citizenship applications from Asians last year. If Latinos, many even more apprehensive about Trump’s policies than Asians, register in Texas in similar percentages – and they have not yet – they could combine with Asians to turn Texas Democratic. For that state contains more than 3 million Hispanics who have not sought naturalization despite being eligible.

For sure, the numbers indicate fear among both Latinos and Asians has not reached the same levels it did among California Hispanics after 187.

But what happens when and if Trump begins serious work on his long-advertised border wall? And what if he attempts mass deportations of illegal immigrants, as former Attorney General Jeff Sessions advocated during his days in the Senate?

For sure, hate crimes against immigrants of all kinds increased during Trump’s presidential campaign and his first year in office. If that trend accelerates, it may spur the kind of fears that pushed Latinos to get naturalized here.

Isaac Newton’s third law of motion tells us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Just as former President Obama’s policies produced the backlash that elected Trump, so Trump’s policies may already have begun producing an even stronger national backlash against him and his party.

Email Thomas Elias at [email protected] His book, “The Burzynski Breakthrough: The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It,” is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit www.californiafocus.net.

Related Posts

Congrats to All 2020 Grads from the Brentwood News!

May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

Some students (and their parents) have told me of uplifting graduation ceremonies, conducted via Zoom. The Class of 2020 will...

Elon Musk selling four more properties? Brentwood Beat – May, 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

All your local news, events and happenings in under 5 minutes. * Elon Musk selling four more properties. * Businesses...

Video: Expanding Outdoor Dining?

May 27, 2020

May 27, 2020

Local restaurants may soon be able to expand operations into parking lots and the sidewalk. Learn more in this video...

County Reports Highest COVID-19 Count as Brentwood Cases Remain Steady

May 26, 2020

May 26, 2020

By Sam Catanzaro The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) reported the highest number of new COVID-19...

Vehicle break ins on the rise: Brentwood Beat – May, 26, 2020

May 26, 2020

May 26, 2020

All your local news, events and happenings in under 5 minutes. * Vehicle break ins on the rise. * Hiker...

LAFD Put out Brentwood-Area Brush Fire

May 25, 2020

May 25, 2020

Over 60 LAFD crews put out a brush fire that broke out in the hills above Brentwood Sunday night. According...

Los Angeles National Cemetery Cancels Memorial Day Flag Service

May 22, 2020

May 22, 2020

Social distancing rules force cancellation of annual event By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles National Cemetery will not hold a Memorial...

$39 Million dollar property now available in Brentwood: Brentwood Beat – May, 21, 2020

May 21, 2020

May 21, 2020

All your local news, events and happenings in under 5 minutes. * Car crash on Sunset Blvd still under investigation.*...

Brentwood-Adjacent Nursing Home Sees Multiple COVID-19 Cases

May 21, 2020

May 21, 2020

Brentwood Healthcare Center has 10 COVID-19 cases, according to county By Sam Catanzaro A nursing home near the Brentwood border...

County Sets Fourth of July Opening Target

May 19, 2020

May 19, 2020

County: 3/4 of unemployment claims are from those making less than $50,000 By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County officials are...

Video: Westside MLB Brothers Give Back

May 18, 2020

May 18, 2020

Two Westside brothers, both professional baseball players, are giving back to local first responders COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more in this...

“Slow Streets LA” coming to your neighborhood? Brentwood Beat – May, 18, 2020

May 18, 2020

May 18, 2020

All your local news, events and happenings in under 5 minutes. * “Slow Streets LA” coming to your neighborhood? *...

First Brentwood COVID-19 Death Reported

May 18, 2020

May 18, 2020

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reports one Brentwood COVID-19 death By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles County health officials...

Interview: Mike Bonin Talks Homelessness, COVID-19 and More

May 14, 2020

May 14, 2020

Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin answers questions from the community covering Westside homeless encampments, affordable housing, Brentwood zoning, COVID-19...

Tallest Building West of 405 Coming to Brentwood

May 14, 2020

May 14, 2020

11750 Wilshire Boulevard future site for 34-story project By Toi Creel Less than two years after breaking ground, the beginning...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *