State Panel to Address Challenges Facing Asian, Pacific Islander Undocumented Immigrants

California Commission on APIA Affairs to hold public hearing at UC Riverside on April 27

seal of CaliforniaRIVERSIDE, Calif. – The difficulties that Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants face in accessing services for undocumented residents will be the focus of a public hearing of the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs that UC Riverside will host on Monday, April 27.

The hearing, which is open to the public, will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. in CHASS Interdisciplinary Room 1113. Parking permits may be obtained at the kiosk on West Campus Drive at the University Avenue entrance to the campus.

The mission of the Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs is to elevate the political, economic, and social issues of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans by contributing to and strengthening how state government addresses the needs, issues, and concerns of the diverse and complex API communities.

Anil Deolalikar, dean of the UCR School of Public Policy, said he is pleased that UC Riverside will host the commission’s first meeting in the Inland Empire, where Asian immigrants played key roles in the development of the region’s citrus industry.

“One feature of the School of Public Policy is to serve as a place where, as a community, we can have critical and strategic conversations among researchers, policy makers, and practitioners,” Deolalikar said.

Phong La, commission chair, said commissioners hope to determine what services are not available or are difficult for Asian and Pacific Islander – and other – immigrants to obtain, and make recommendations to the Legislature.

“Although the State of California has passed laws permitting undocumented immigrants to have driver’s licenses and access to Cal Grants, we’re hearing that undocumented immigrants are still having trouble getting access to both” he said. “We want to know why. We also hope to learn what the state can do to make it easier to access higher education and other services, especially health services and make sound recommendations to address these issues.”

For example, some undocumented Asians might find it more difficult than other immigrants to provide identification from their home countries that is required to obtain a California driver’s license, explained Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate dean of the UCR School of Public Policy and a professor of political science and public policy.

Ramakrishnan was appointed to the commission last year for his research expertise and service to the community, including the establishment of AAPI Data, a UCR-based data-gathering and analysis project focused on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the National Asian American Survey, a scientific and nonpartisan effort to poll the opinions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“The Asian and Pacific Islander population is one of the fastest-growing in California,” he said. “There is more immigration to California from Asia than Latin America, and there is also substantial growth in the undocumented Asian population. Asian undocumented immigrants are not as visible, and we don’t know if they are being served by existing programs. It is very fitting that the commission is taking on this topic.”

One of those who will testify at the hearing is Ana Coria, program coordinator for Undocumented Student Programs at UCR, who will discuss API undocumented students in higher education and how their experience in accessing resources and information compares to Latino undocumented students.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-7847
Twitter: bettyemiller

Additional Contacts

Phong La

Karthick Ramakrishnan

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