Beyond current travel ban proposal–Are Asians and Asian Americans next?


If you’re Asian American, you may have your head down and not be paying attention to all the new proposals on immigration and border security.

But a new proposal could impact Asian Americans and their families and friends.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has proposed this idea: to collect private social media from Chinese visitors entering the U.S. on tourist and business visas.

National security is again the stated fear, even though there’s little evidence to justify such an invasion of privacy.

This unfair scrutiny based on race and national origin could result in unjust harassment, and detention. It should be a chilling reminder to Asian Americans, whose ancestors were the first major group to be targeted and banned from the U.S.


“These types of actions do affect Asian Americans,” historian Erika Lee, director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota, told me on the AALDEF podcast, Emil Amok’s Takeout. “Asian immigrants are the fastest, not only immigrant group in the United States, but the fastest growing undocumented immigrant group in the United States. So they are directly impacted by these interior enforcement and border security propositions and policies.”

Collecting information from Chinese business and tourist visa holders could just be the beginning of a greater overreach by the government.

On the week when a new revised travel ban is expected, Lee warns: “If any of our international relations with Asian countries get even more rocky, who knows who will be added to the travel ban.”

Lee adds: “I don’t think that class status or national origin protects new Asian immigrants from these policies. But certainly as Asian Americans, whose families have lived through the consequences of previous bans like the Chinese Exclusion Act, the need to act up is imperative. The need to talk about solidarity, and show solidarity couldn’t be more clear.”

For more, listen to the AALDEF podcast, Emil Amok’s Takeout.

Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
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The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF’s views or policies.
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