Keun Young Bae, a New York–based senior associate who is currently serving as a Pickering Fellow with the City Bar Justice Center’s Immigrant Justice Project (IJP), authored this Justice Center News blog post.
Excerpt: “It’s because of you [expletive] Chinese people that I have to wear a mask!” This text, received by Ms. X*, a client of the City Bar Justice Center’s Immigrant Justice Project (“IJP”), represents just one of over 6,500 reported incidents of harassment and violence that the AAPI community has faced during the past year. Months after Ms. X, an asylum seeker, left her abusive partner, he suddenly unleashed a barrage of threatening messages blaming her for allegedly “causing” the pandemic.
Asians make up the fastest-growing racial and ethnic group in the United States. Stereotyped as studious, successful, and smart, this “model minority myth” renders invisible the challenges and systemic barriers many AAPI individuals face in obtaining economic stability, educational equity, and personal safety. For many immigrants like Ms. X, these problems are further exacerbated by the lack of permanent legal status. Asians represent 16% of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and South Korea, for example, is the sixth-largest country of origin for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (“DACA”) recipients.