Huntington Local Library in San Marino, CA.
As my parents and I were driving down to L.A. to drop me off at Occidental College, we stopped by San Marino because I wanted to see where my Dad had grown up. All along the road in the center of town hung signs honouring families that had contributed to the centennial celebration for the town. My Dad even recognized some of the names from when he grew up there over 40 years ago, but there were new names: Sun, Koo and Shi that shocked us.
A generation ago, when my Dad grew up, whites made up roughly two-thirds of the population in San Marino, but Asians now make up over half the population there. In fact, many areas in California, mainly cities in the San Gabriel Valley, Orange County, and in the Silicon Valley, have had Asian immigrants become the dominant cultural force in areas that were once largely white or Hispanic. Even more surprising is that a study released by the Pew Research Center in 2012 stated that Asians have surpassed Hispanics in terms of immigration with 36 percent of all new immigrants- legal and illegal- being Asian and 31 percent being Hispanic in 2010. Due to the influx of new immigrants, one could see how they are transforming the parts of the country where Asian culture is most concentrated. For example, some of the malls in San Gabriel feature signs with Chinese characters, and in San Marino the local library offers story time in Mandarin.
Even though so many Asian immigrants are migrating to the U.S. and changing America, much of the debate about immigration in Congress is focused on Hispanic immigration. So I have the question of why is it that other immigrant groups like Asians aren’t as featured as Hispanics in federal debates? The question isn’t saying that I think we should stop Asian immigration (I am the child of an Asian immigrant), but what makes it so we debate constantly about Hispanics and not other groups?
Please leave your thoughts on the question in the comments below.