Letters to the Editor: Equal Rights: Pay it Forward, Class Differences, Home Away from Home, We Are All Immigrants

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Equal Rights: Pay it Forward
I voted no on Proposition 8 for a variety of reasons (Voices From the Community, Nov. 21), but chief among them is this fact: All the civil rights we enjoy, we got because of the hard work and sacrifice of those who came before us. Asian Americans (and all groups who’ve dealt with institutional discrimination) have benefited not only from the early work of African Americans, but from everyone who has fought for the principle of equal treatment under the law.

We owe it to ourselves and those who have come before us, and everyone who comes after us to keep fighting for that principle. We are not fighting just for our own interests, but for the principle that all of us are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights. What goes around comes around and the blessings we have received, we must pay forward.

Venice, Calif., Nov. 25

Class Differences
Thomas Tseng’s statement, “It’s already well established that Asian Americans have the country’s highest per capita income figures in the U.S.,” doesn’t reflect my or any other refugee family’s situation (“ ‘Invisible’ Minority More American Than First Glance Suggests,” Special Auto Section, Nov. 21). Maybe it reflects his upper-class background, but a lot of Southeast Asians and a huge chunk of the immigrants from mainland China (not Taiwanese businesspeople) do not have this amazing purchasing power he speaks of.

Thomas Tseng needs to do more research into the market, so he can avoid making that kind of statement in the future.

Francesca Ngo
Los Angeles, Calif., Nov, 19

Home Away From Home
Growing up Chinese in New York, Chinatown in Manhattan always felt like home to me every time I visited (Voices From the Community, Nov. 14). That is a feeling I’ve always cherished and enjoyed. Our heritage should be preserved. I support the preservation of Chinatowns.

Fort Lewis, Wa., Nov. 25

We Are All Immigrants

The article (“Not ‘A Mexican Thing,’ ” Nov. 7) shows that being an immigrant is not about the color of your skin, since we are all equally “immigrants” and therefore deserve the same rights.

Instead of arguing about who is “illegal” or “legal,” people should recognize that placing a hard-working immigrant who hurts no one in the same category as, say, a native-born, violent criminal by giving both the label “illegal” says more about the inadequacy of our labels and the need for reform of our immigration laws than it says about the people we call “immigrants” or “illegal.”

Here’s hoping for reasonable and practical immigration reform free of labels, extremism and hate and that we recognize the humanity of the people we are labeling.

Chris S.
Los Angeles, Calif., Nov. 19

Community organizers and policy-makers rallying for undocumented students describe how ironic it is that the U.S. already brings in an educated workforce from foreign countries but decides not to educate the talented undocumented immigrant youth residing within the nation.

Initially, the cap for the H-1B occupation visas, as they are called, was set at 65,000 per year, which matches the same estimated number of undocumented youth graduating from high school every year. In 2008, H-1B visas hit the 65,000 cap within a two-day period and tech companies are pushing Congress for more visas even with the downward-turning economy.

Many of those who apply for H-1Bs to live and work in the U.S. are recent college graduates from their respective foreign country. Therefore, why can’t we decide to further invest in talented, undocumented youth currently residing here rather than importing more foreign workers?

Leticia Smith
Phoenix, Ariz., Nov. 16

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