The Catalogue: No. 5

Friday, June 1, 2018

This week in Immigrants: We Get the Job Done.

Something that continually disappoints me about (some) Asian Americans is our deliberate amnesia about our own immigrant histories, or worse -- our willingness to exploit them for aesthetic, sentimental gain, to gain admission to prestigious institutions (more on this later).

There were thirteen Asian American Olympians in Pyeongchang this year, and though I know they are athletes and not activists, I am disappointed when they don't receive their medals with eloquent lectures about immigration exclusion acts, about internment camps, about class privileges among East Asian Americans that allow them to access shit like private skating lessons. Chloe Kim's father calls her his American Dream, and I want to sob and scream at the same time. I wonder what makes diasporic American dreams seem so much bigger, so much more ambitious and important than the dreams of those we've left behind. But mostly I'm exhausted of talking about the politicized American Dream, the weaponized American Dream, the sentimentalized American Dream, this absurd piece of indoctrinated imagination.

Today we remember a few of the times the alleged American Dream failed, and the people we leave behind.

1. #WhereAreTheChildren: How to Help
The Department of Homeland Security admitted last month that nearly 20% of the children in their custody could not be accounted for (and so to say they are "lost" is a bit sensationalized, but the gravity of the situation remains. We do not know where these children are.)
This one gets a little complicated, so here's an important Twitter thread about the 1,500 children allegedly missing, and why not knowing where they are may actually protect them.

2. Border Patrol Agent Kills Woman Who Crossed into Texas Illegally | New York Times
An unarmed 20 year old from Guatemala, Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, was shot and killed by the United States Border Patrol at the US/Mexico border.

3. Border Patrol Kicked, Punched Migrant Children, Threatened Some With Sexual Abuse, ACLU Alleges | Newsweek
From the ACLU x University of Chicago Law School report: "While in CBP (Customers and Border Protection) custody, immigrant children have reported physical and psychological abuse, unsanitary and inhumane living conditions, isolation from family members, extended periods of detention, and denial of access to legal and medical services."

4. (from 2016) U.S. Placed Immigrant Children with Traffickers, Report Says New York Times
"The Department of Health and Human Services placed more than a dozen immigrant children in the custody of human traffickers after it failed to conduct background checks of caregivers, according to a Senate report released on Thursday."

5. The Ghost of Chae Chan Ping | The Alantic
A Chinese exclusion case from the 1880s set a precedent that haunts the legal fight over Trump's travel ban. In case y'all forgot, the illegal/alien immigrant rhetoric started with Asian Americans. Collect your aunties and uncles who claim otherwise.

More soon.

With great love and greater conviction,

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