On Feb. 12, Immigration Practice associate Olivia Serene Lee delivered a workshop on immigration law and immigrant communities at the 2011 Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Retreat held in Folsom, Calif., with University of California, Davis, students.
The Asian Pacific Islander Leadership Retreat develops student leadership within the Asian Pacific Islander community by enhancing self-awareness and personal growth. The retreat provides students the opportunity to learn about issues concerning API communities, develop a stronger bond within our communities and gain leadership skills that last a lifetime.
Lee’s interactive workshop focused on identity, community and the idea of pan-ethnicity, with a particular emphasis on immigration law and immigrant communities. She led discussions on the xenophobic movement in the 1800s that sought to drive every “Asiatic” out of America, U.S. Supreme Court decisions preventing Asians from acquiring U.S. citizenship, shifts in immigration and naturalization laws and the misuse of immigration policies in the name of homeland security.
The two dozen students attending the workshop shared personal stories reflecting the variety of their backgrounds, including those of Hmong descent and those with families from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines and across the U.S.
Lee discussed race as a social construct, the DREAM Act and a task force started in UC Davis that revealed 60 percent of undocumented students were of AAPI descent. Of those undocumented AAPI students, 40 percent were Korean. There was also a discussion about the proposal to allow food trucks and carts in San Francisco’s Chinatown and how that might impact immigrant communities.
Lee’s workshop was an example of the ongoing contributions by Minami Tamaki attorneys in service to our communities.