Science + Technology

UCLA Research Focuses on Crime in Asian America


Amerasia Journal, the leading research journal on AsianAmericans in the nation, announces the publication of "Deporting Our Souls andDefending Our Immigrants," a special issue on crime in Asian America that, forthe first time, gathers together the perspectives of scholars, researchers andex-prisoners.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, many Asian Americans — includingSoutheast Asians and South Asians — have become especially vulnerable tocriminalization and have been legally, politically, economically or culturallyostracized and discriminated against.

Bill Ong Hing,professor of law and Asian American Studies at the University of California,Davis, and the author of "Defining America Through Immigration Policy," saidthat this Amerasia issue "gives us a picture of thelevel of criminal activity in many Asian American communities, the lack ofre-entry programs across the country, the voices of offenders that providetroubling insight into why some individuals have turned to crime, and howracial‑political forces have plotted to criminalize many Asian Americans."

A central focus of this special issue is the recent deportation of Asiannon-citizens to their countries of birth. Hinginvestigates how alleged criminality and criminal acts can lead to the unfairdeportation of Asian Americans who have grown up in the United States. High crime rates incertain Asian American communities, together with the non-citizen status ofmany Asian Americans, are a "recipe for disaster," according to Hing. Common criminal acts plus aggravated felonies canlead to permanent deportation. Young Cambodian and Vietnamese youth who hadsurvived the trauma of the war in Southeast Asiaare especially vulnerable to falling into lives of petty crime and possibledeportation on criminal grounds. Many Asian American families, according to Hing, "confront poverty, school issues, role reversal,family disruption, and culture clash."

The 200-page issue, guest-edited by Hing,features research and essays on:

           How after the Sept. 11 attacks Arab and Muslim communitiesare being targeted and criminalized by the media, the state and the courts; byLouise Cainkar and Sunaina Maira.

           How data on Asian and Pacific Islander youth shouldbe analyzed; by Thao N. Le and IsamiArifuku.

           Re-entry issues of Asians and Pacific Islanders; byAngela E. Oh and Karen Umemoto.

           Asian and Pacific Islander re-entry issues in New York; by Michelle Tseching Fei and Gerald P. Lopez.

Together with the above essays, Richard Kim's first in-depth interview ofChol Soo Lee and K.W. Leeexplores the case of Chol SooLee in the 1970s and 80s. Chol SooLee's case became a rallying point for both immigrant and American-born AsianAmericans who identified with the immigrant youth's conviction on false groundsand subsequent death row sentence. K.W. Lee, a Korean immigrant himself andaward-winning journalist, first met Chol Soo Lee in 1977 andpublished a two-part investigative series in The Sacramento Union.

In addition to this interview, Chol Soo Lee shares with Amerasiareaders "A Silent Plea," a poem written in prison.

Other articles, memoirs and essays include writing by DucTa, Mia F. Yamamoto, Andrew Thi and playwright PhilipKan Gotanda. Writers on war and incarceration in thisissue also include E. San Juan Jr., Ramsay Liem andSetsuko Matsunaga Nishi.

Individual copies of the issue and class textbook orders are availablefor $15 plus $5 handling, or $35 for annual individual subscriptions to Amerasia Journal, from UCLA Asian American Studies CenterPress, 3230 Campbell Hall, Box 951546, Los Angeles, CA 90095‑1546. For e-mailorders, contact the business manager at To order by telephone,call (310) 825-2968.



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