State of the Union address needs rethinking
Hillary Clinton will be a president for Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders
Recently, Fox News aired a shameful segment that ridiculed Asian Americans. The piece, in which Jesse Watters ambushed unsuspecting Asians in New York's Chinatown, many with limited English proficiency, was edited to portray its targets as unsophisticated stereotypes in front of a national television audience - all for the amusement of others. Rightfully, the segment provoked outrage.
But in a way, it was an unsurprising broadcast, aired in the midst of an election cycle that has been rife with divisive rhetoric and xenophobic sentiment. Much of that sentiment has originated from a single source: the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Sadly, the so-called "Trump Effect" has brought racism roaring back into mainstream culture and into our homes and schools.
Thankfully we have a choice. On Nov 8, we have a choice between Hillary Clinton, a proven champion for families and hard-working Americans of all stripes, and Donald Trump, someone who has taken advantage of vulnerable people in his quest for fame and fortune.
I cannot stress enough the high stakes of this election, and how critical Asian American and Pacific Islander voters will be in the fight to move our country forward on issues like job growth, immigration, education and health care. I am supporting Hillary Clinton because she has a plan to help immigrant families like my own, while her opponent continually demeans and disparages us. He has even done crude, tasteless impressions of Asian stereotypes during his rallies.
My grandmother was the first in our family to come to the United States, a country that she felt provided a wealth of new possibilities. Our diverse population of aspiring citizens continues to share those sentiments. We risk a great deal if our politicians are scaring them away with harshly xenophobic rhetoric. Masters and PhD students in STEM arrive from all over the world only to leave after their studies conclude. Applicants from the Asia-Pacific region, the majority of whom are women, make up 40 percent of the visa backlog with waiting times spanning decades. This immigration backlog disproportionately affects AAPI families, many of whom are forced to wait in line for longer periods of time. Undocumented Asian immigrants in the U.S. are more than 1 million of the 11 million undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom have lived here for over 10 years.
Hillary Clinton is fighting for comprehensive immigration reform that will provide a path to citizenship for those willing to contribute to our shared prosperity. She understands that citizenship is half the battle for our communities. My grandmother didn't have an American education and had to work twice as hard to provide for her family. Hillary wants to ensure opportunities for all Americans, not just those at the top.
Hillary is also committed to improving the quality of life for hard working AAPI families. She's pushing for paid family leave so that nobody is forced to choose between a job and their family. And she's fighting for other measures critical to parents and kids, like affordable child care and equal pay for women.
Growing up, my family's income, like many families' in the AAPI community, came from small businesses. AAPI small businesses account for almost 3 million jobs and more than $500 billion dollars in sales annually. But they still experience barriers to success due to discrimination and the lack access to appropriate resources. Hillary Clinton has visited with AAPI small business owners across the country and put forth plans to make it easier to secure funding for fledgling businesses and fight back against predatory behavior. She would also expand the health care tax credit so that more employers can provide coverage to their employees
American voters will decide the direction we take in less than a month. Several states have already begun to cast their ballots as part of early voting. Our community has a key role to play in this election and in all the days that follow. If you believe that our country must do more to create opportunity, vote for someone who has plans to do that. If you want to stand firm against those who would peddle stereotypes and division, vote for the person who has embraced diversity, and continues to bring us together. Vote for Hillary Clinton.
Rep. Grace Meng represents the 6th District of New York. She also serves as a Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.