Hatefas’ Story: Public Assistance Allowed My Refugee Family to Dream for a Better Future

    Born in Santa Ana, CA, to two Muslim refugee survivors of the Cambodian genocide, Hatefas Yop wasn’t aware of her family’s use of public services when she was a young girl. After all, her peers in her elementary school all hailed from the local neighborhood, where many immigrant and refugee families had to live in one-bedroom apartments subsidized by Section 8 housing. She didn’t understand the melancholy in an elder whom Hatefas referred to as “Grandma,” when she said her food stamps (paper at the time) weren’t ‘real money.’ “But you could use it to.... Read More

                 

    To Be Seen

    My memories from childhood are extremely hazy. Most of what I can recall are fleeting feelings: the bliss in skipping around my Kindergarten classroom as I sang about the days of the week, the joy in jumping up and down on my parents’ bed as I watched “David the Gnome,” the curiosity in having accidentally swallowed a piece of gum, the preceding anxiety and subsequent relief in remembering my steps for a dance recital. Practically all my childhood firsts are long forgotten; I cannot recollect the first book I ever read by myself, or the first tooth I lost, or the.... Read More

                 

    Protecting Southeast Asian American Families

    In a recent essay published in AAPI blog Reappropriate, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) executive director Quyen Dinh recounted what is what like for her to grow up poor and not know it.

    In elementary school, my day started with getting breakfast from the cafeteria window, where I got to choose a cereal box along with a small carton of milk from our cafeteria lady, Angie.  She had short curly silver hair and always happily provided us our breakfast, along with a great smile.

    For lunch, I lined up with the rest of my classmates to get lunch from Angie, too. Each of us carried a small envelope with our names on it.

    I didn’t realize,.... Read More

                 

    SEARAC Toolkit Sheds Light on Public Charge Proposal

    The Trump Administration has proposed broadening the set of government services considered when determining whether an individual is a ‘public charge,’ a term applied to someone who is likely to rely on government assistance for support. If a person is considered a public charge, they may be denied a green card.

    Seniors and parents of U.S. citizens are a significant, and growing, segment of immigrants to the U.S. and are critical to the well-being of intergenerational families. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of immigrants age 65 and older grew from 2.7 million to nearly 5 million. The number of parents of U.S. citizens who have been admitted as legal permanent residents more than tripled between 1994 and 2016. In making it.... Read More

                 

    National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center Host Immigration Report Briefings on Capitol Hill

    On September 26th and 27th, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) hosted briefings on Capitol Hill to help educate and inform elected officials and their staff about the impact of immigration policy on Southeast Asian American (SEAA) communities. During the sessions, the groups discussed findings from their new joint immigration report, “Dreams Detained, in her Words: The effects of detention and deportation on Southeast Asian American women and families,” and women who were interviewed in the immigration report attended the briefings.... Read More