Chinese for Affirmative Action

Project: Comprehensive Immigrant Rights Advocacy in AAPI Communities

CAA’s immigrant rights work occurs through two key and integrated areas: budget/legislative advocacy and community education/leadership development.

Our community education efforts allow CAA not only to connect individuals and families to muchneeded services, they also help CAA identify promising leaders who can be trained to be spokespeople and grassroots organizers.

The 2012 American Community Survey indicates that there are approximately 300,000 Asian Americans in San Francisco, and more than 170,000 are Chinese.

It is estimated that 32,000 Chinese residents are immigrants eligible for naturalization, and according to the Migration Policy Institute there are 10,000 undocumented Chinese immigrants in San Francisco with approximately 1,000 eligible for the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and 3,000 for expanded deferred action programs when they are implemented.

For 2016 and 2017, CAA will be implementing a citywide project to reach and engage with as many of the 10,000 undocumented and 32,000 naturalization-eligible Chinese immigrants as possible. Community education and outreach will be but one means to the end of building greater civic participation and political engagement in the Chinese immigrant community.

CAA’s community education focuses on the underserved and hard to reach portion of this population. Our predominant client population is extremely low-income and monolingual or limited-English proficient (LEP). An indication of the difficulty in reaching this population is that fewer than 5% of Chinese immigrants in California eligible for DACA have applied since the announcement in 2012.

CAA’s success in reaching low-income, LEP immigrants is based on various platforms. These include culturally competent and linguistically accessible immigration workshops at service centers and organizational sites of our long-time community allies; peer-to-peer engagement by grassroots leaders who have undergone CAA’s leadership development program; coordination with major San Francisco institutions such as the San Francisco Unified School District and City College of San Francisco to reach youth and their families; and media events with Chinese-language radio, TV, and newspapers.

Our direct contact with thousands of immigrants each year informs our advocacy to ensure that systemic changes we recommend have a meaningful impact on people’s lives. CAA’s budget and legislative advocacy for systemic immigrant rights reform occur at the federal, state and local levels. Our advocacy work takes the form of policy and budget analysis and dissemination, media engagement, multiracial coalition work, and organizing stakeholders to meet with elected and administrative officials. We advocate for fair and inclusive budget allocations to support immigrant communities, and we prioritize and push for policy reform that keeps immigrant families together and that protect worker and civil rights.

CAA was founded in 1969 to protect the civil and political rights of Chinese Americans and to advance multiracial democracy in the United States. Today, CAA is a progressive voice in and on behalf of the broader Asian American and Pacific Islander community that advocates for immigrant rights, language diversity, and racial justice.