JULY 2003

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Immigrant Groups Protest Bush Policies

From Sing Tao Daily
June 24, 2003

President George W. Bush held fundraising events in New York City on June 23 to raise $5 million for his re-election campaign. Yet, as his supporters and the president were entertaining each other in a midtown hotel, dozens of civil rights groups and immigrant organizations were protesting outside. The protesters deemed that the Bush administration policies are hurting working families and immigrants such as the Chinese Americans. The New York Immigration Coalition called on New Yorkers to write reflecting New York life’s “reality check” to the president.

On the “reality check,” it wrote that Bush’s tax cuts and anti-immigrant policies in the aftermath of September 11 have caused many working families to lose jobs and to be caught in economic difficulties. The federal government’s anti-terrorist operations target immigrants, making this country unsafe for them.

On the afternoon of June 23, the New York Immigration Coalition held a press conference in front of the City Hall. The organization criticized Bush’s tax cuts for the rich as irresponsible and said that Bush should provide long-term investments for working families and unemployed individuals, help people get through the current economic downturn and provide more employment opportunities and career training to the Chinatown community.

Mae Lee, executive director of Chinese Progressive Association, indicated that while states and cities are making huge cuts in education, health and other programs, President Bush is still giving tax cuts to wealthy individuals. This shows that he does not understand the reality of life for New Yorkers or the reality of community rebuilding since September 11 and the economic recession.
“If the tax cut is for stimulating consumer ability, then what about our Chinatown economy?” said Mae Lee. According to her, 60 percent of Chinatown garment workers and 30 percent of the restaurant workers still do not have enough work. “We ask Bush to do real investment in our community.

Experts say that the economy depends on common people, so government should invest in the common people of the community.”

Since September 11, Chinatown’s garment, restaurant, jewelry and other industries together have lost about $5 billion, yet federal officials who are in charge of the rebuilding efforts ignore these problems. Chinatown unemployment is severe, and many workers plan to learn English to change their careers. However, English classes suitable for their level are limited, and the government has not yet provided them proper English classes for career training.

Mae Lee said that the level of some relevant employment training classes is not appropriate for the residents of this neighborhood. This is causing many people to have to study English as a second language before they can get into those employment training classes.
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According to Mae Lee, the number of students applying for English classes has increased sharply, and some students have to wait for about six months to get to attend the classes.
Besides insufficient employment training opportunities, aid provided by The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is not sufficient.

FEMA initially limited the eligibility to areas south of 14th street. The area was later enlarged to include all Manhattan, yet due to the lack of advertisement, many eligible applicants didn’t know they could apply. This has caused many people unemployed because of the September 11 unable to pay their rents and facing the possibility of losing their homes.

Margie McHugh, director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said that most New York immigrants under Bush administration policy are facing economic difficulties, and their civil rights have also been infringed.

New York City’s organizations of Islamic Americans, Arabic Americans, and South Asian American also protested. They see Bush’s anti-terrorist policy of secret arrest, long detention, and racial discrimination as threatening human rights.

Translated from Chinese by Michael Huang

About thirty Chinese Americans Attended Bush’s Fundraising Dinner
From Sing Tao Daily

President Bush held re-election fundraising dinner in Sheraton New York on June 23rd. Although it was as expensive as $2,000 per ticket, the big hotel was still crowed with supporters of about 3000. Among these supporters were thirty to forty Chinese Americans from the field of politics and businesses.

This was the first of fundraising events President Bush has had in New York City. Each person had to pay as much as $2,000 for the ticket, and this fee has not yet included the foods. Nevertheless, about 3000 supporters eagerly attended the event to meet the president.

Chinese Americans who attended the fundraising dinner included Bing Min Zu, a senior Asian American republican from California; Meilin Tan, vice chairperson of Queens County Republican Party Executive Committee; Song Hua Fu, chairperson of Zhan Jiang Association; Pei Wang and Gong Jun Wu, chairpersons of Asian American Republican Headquarter; and Cai Jing Chang, principal of a kindergarten school.

For Meilin Tan and Song Hua Fu, who were able to hand shake with President Bush because they were arranged to stand on the first row, felt very excited. Meilin Tan said: “my ticket can get all the signatures of President Bush, Governor Pataki, former Mayor Rudy Guilian is commendable.” She will mobilize supporters in her congress district for President Bush’s reelection campaign next year. About this, Bush expressed thanked and praised her.

In his speech during the dinner, Bush said that if he get reelected, he will continue his policy in fighting terrorists through national defense and diplomacy and in promoting world peace.

On the domestic level, he will support tax cuts and increase the employment rate. He hoped that his supporters will stand fast to one’s own position—at home to be good parents, on the job to be responsible workers ……, in education to be dedicated for the next generations. If everyone does according to ability in position, the country will be on the right track, and the world will become better.

Pei Wong, a political activist in the Chinese American Communities, indicated that Bush has paid attention to Asian Americans after his election. He said that Bush not only has nominated Elaine Chao to serve in his cabinet, but has also provided funding for the Asian American communities. Although Bush previously was hostile to China, he soon changed that attitude. Bush currently is adopting a friendly and prudent policy toward China.

As a senior republican, Bing Min Zu expressed hope that New York Asian Americans can unite together on next year’s presidential campaign. He wish through voting Asian American economic and civil rights strength will advance to another step, securing Asian Americans’ status in the mainstream society.

Gong Jun Wu said that in next year’s presidential election he hopes he can get together traditional Asian American communities, business people, and other professionals to establish an Asian American campaign headquarter. According to him, this will show the united strength of Asian American political participation.

For Cai Jing Chang, he said that he has been impressed by President Bush’s educational reform “No Child Left Behind.” As an educator, this policy fully shows him the essence and spirit of education. He hope Chinese Americans can support Bush for reelection.

 

Translated from Chinese by Michael Huang

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