Periodically during this year’s Presidential election campaign, attention turns to immigrants. It did again in late June when the U.S. Supreme Court’s inaction left millions of unauthorized parents and children without the short term protection against deportation that President Obama’s executive orders had tried to ensure them. Fitting that it came the morning after the House of Representatives’ more dramatic display of inaction on gun violence.
As soon as those momentary attention grabbers passed, we returned to the national dialogue which tends to be foreboding – the need for a wall, the impulse to keep Muslims out, the call to deport those living without authorized status, and a Presidential election in which all the marbles are on the table. The traditional flag waving of candidates who tout their family’s proud immigrant heritage has been swallowed whole, with not even a gulp of self-awareness.
We spent 10 weeks in six of Chicago’s vibrant immigrant communities to get a sense of some issues immigrants were dealing with on a day to day basis. We focused on issues that were specific to particular immigrant communities and that were also relevant to other immigrant communities.
As the summer of national party conventions comes and goes, there will still be the these stories from the Korean-American, Hispanic-American, Chinese-American, Muslim-American, Polish-American and Indian-American communities. Enjoy and let us know what you think.
Korean adoptees: Left behind, now fighting for citizenship by Rachel Yang
Kevin Vollmers says the lack of active support from adoption agencies and the greater adoption community is why the 2000 act had more widespread support than the Adoptee Citizenship Act of 2015, which currently sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Philosophical, articulate and stuck: The life of an unauthorized Korean-American by Jenna Lee
Even if Glohan Choi knew about DACA, it would not have made a difference. He wishes that he could be a DACA recipient because he wants to travel freely.
Perfect storm: The threat to health care for elderly Hispanics by Anika Hope Henanger
“I can’t tell you how often they sit down to just help the older adults translate their mail whether it’s bills, utilities, forms, notices. Work that is not even in their care plan,” says Illeana Gomez. “They are taking time to sit there and help them — help them manage life.”
No Se Vende: Chicago and its Displaced Latinos by Zachary Basu
For years, researchers have struggled to accurately map displacement and relocation because of a lack of reliable data. Latino immigrants, especially those who are unauthorized, tend to leave without a trace, flying under the radar with little housing protection or concern from their local government.
Chinese “Goose Mothers”: Their separation and sacrifice by Wei Wei
Ni, whose son Yuri came to the U.S. in 2012 and just graduated from a public high school this year, says children can’t get the same care from a host family as they can from their parents. She says they won’t get the spiritual support, the right food, or even the rest that they need.
New blood: The future of Chicago’s Chinese community by Yi (Julian) Cao
Jeremy Yuan-shuo Li wants to make the Lee Association like mah-jong, welcomed by both old people and young people. “Traditional activities and events are important.”
It’s all in the name: Lee and Lee Family Association of Chicago by Yi (Julian) Cao
Lee is the most common surname in the People’s Republic of China. It is the fifth most common last name in Taiwan and the second most common last name in South Korea. There are more than one hundred million people with the surname of Lee around the world.
A Muslim confrontation: Using the Qur’an to teach about domestic violence by Lauren Sonnenberg
If you count the number of assault stories we’ve documented and the number of assault stories that have actually been reported, the underreporting numbers are as high as 85 to 90 percent,” Nadiah Mohajir says.
Domestic violence: A closet for immigrant vulnerability by Nicole Bauke
“It’s not, ‘why did she stay?’ but ‘why did he abuse?’ And ‘why did we let him get away with it?’”
Polish-American cuisine: There’s more to it than pierogis by Taryn Nobil
Picture this: a trendy twenty-something couple crave an ethnic experience in the diverse urban playground to satisfy their appetites for both food and culture. They seek out recommendations from friends—or Yelp—on the best authentic Polish food, because they know Chicago has a prominent Polish community.
Digital disruption: Arranged marriages adapt for Indian Americans by Justin Deffenbacher
Psychologist Saunia Ahmad is optimistic that a shift toward the digital model is promising and believes that by narrowing the search radius, more like-minded people are going to be paired.
Arranged marriage: A tradition endures among Indian-Americans by Alexandra Holterman
Despite the initial hardships, Nusrat Halim says her marriage remained positive and comfortable, a fact she attributed to the implicit support she felt from the family members who had arranged her marriage.