Margaret Cho slams SNL for inviting Donald Trump to host


Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is set to host Saturday Night Live next month, a move that has left many people outraged. Comedian Margaret Cho joined the foray, slamming producers for inviting a “known racist” to participate while failing for decades to promote true racial equality.

Taking aim, Cho said:

Why has there never been an Asian-American host, cast member or musical guest on ‘SNL’ in 41 years? Forty-one years. Yet they want Donald Trump, a known racist, a known sexist, who disgustingly wants to have sex with his daughter. Who does he think he is, Woody Allen?”

“People come at me and say, ‘Oh, Fred Armisen is a quarter Japanese, Rob Schneider is half Filipino.’ Yeah, that makes three-quarters of an Asian-American, not even in one person, in 41 years.

Cho went on to suggest herself as a musical guest and Ken Jeong and George Takei as potential hosts.

“The Making of Asian America” by Erika Lee

In the past fifty years, Asian Americans have helped change the face of America and are now the fastest growing group in the United States. But as award-winning historian Erika Lee reminds us, Asian Americans also have deep roots in the country. The Making of Asian America tells the little-known history of Asian Americans and their role in American life, from the arrival of the first Asians in the Americas to the present-day.

An epic history of global journeys and new beginnings, this book shows how generations of Asian immigrants and their American-born descendants have made and remade Asian American life in the United States: sailors who came on the first trans-Pacific ships in the 1500s; indentured “coolies” who worked alongside African slaves in the Caribbean; and Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian immigrants who were recruited to work in the United States only to face massive racial discrimination, Asian exclusion laws, and for Japanese Americans, incarceration during World War II.

Over the past fifty years, a new Asian America has emerged out of community activism and the arrival of new immigrants and refugees. No longer a “despised minority,” Asian Americans are now held up as America’s “model minorities” in ways that reveal the complicated role that race still plays in the United States.

Published to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the United States’ Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that has remade our “nation of immigrants,” this is a new and definitive history of Asian Americans. But more than that, it is a new way of understanding America itself, its complicated histories of race and immigration, and its place in the world today.

Washington Post: Donald Trump meet Wong Kim Ark, the Chinese American cook who is the father of ‘birthright citizenship’

Washington Post (by Fred Barbash):

It was the fall of 1895, and Wong Kim Ark was puzzled and alarmed as he bided his time on the steamship Coptic in San Francisco Bay which had returned him from a visit to China. His papers were in order. He had seen to that. The required statement, certification from white men that he was born in the U.S. and therefore a citizen, were in order. He had traveled to China for a visit and had little trouble being readmitted.

On this occasion, however, authorities denied him entry, returning him to the ship on which he had arrived, and from there to another ship, the Gaelic, and then to the Peking. For four months, the only certainty to Wong’s life was the tides on San Francisco Bay where he awaited word of his fate.

What he could not have known was that he was about to become a “test case” brought by the United States government, egged on by a wave of anti-Chinese sentiment, in an effort to undermine the 14th Amendment “birthright” provision which made Wong a citizen in the first place as the plain and simple language of the amendment said that, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

For the Chinese in America, this was the “exclusion era,” a radical shift for the U.S., which for the most part, since its creation as a republic, had encouraged people to come to its shores. In the beginning, as America built its railroads, mined its gold and farmed the valleys of Northern California, the Chinese were welcomed as well in America. They streamed in by the thousands.

But as the Depression of 1873 took its toll on white working men, they began to look for scapegoats. Mob violence, arson, and overt racist derision swept through California, powered by slogan “the Chinese must go.” Congress enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, designed to put an end to the flow of Chinese into the U.S. But that was not enough for the building anti-Chinese wave.

Thousands of children had been born to Chinese in the U.S. and birthright citizenship was the next target, just as it is today for many Republicans, notably Donald Trump, in their campaign aimed at the children they call “anchor babies,” whose parents enter the U.S. illegally just to make sure their children enjoy the benefits of citizenship. The U.S. is “the only place just about that’s stupid enough to to do that, he has said, thus providing an incentive for illegal entry. Bills to do just what Trump is advocating have been around for years and have gone nowhere, and many, but not all, scholars believe such a change would need to confront the almost insurmountable task of amending the Constitution.


The history of Cambodian-owned donut shops


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You’re probably already aware that a large amount of independently-run donut shops in California are Cambodian-owned. What you may not know is that the donut shop industry is an integral part of the Cambodian immigration story.

In honor of National Donut day, we decided to look into the history of hardworking, Cambodian donut shop owners:


1) You won’t find a donut in Cambodia.

Well, you can probably find a few donuts, but if you thought you’d find streets lined with donut shops in Cambodia, you’re in for a let-down. While donuts are a large part of the Cambodian American culture, many can tell you that this is purely an American tradition. Allegedly, there is only one donut shop in all of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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2) It all began with a man named Ted Ngoy.

Before donut shops were associated with the Cambodian American culture, there was Ted Ngoy paving the way. He arrived in the U.S. in 1975 and two years later, he begun his own donut shop. Clearly, his legacy continued.


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3) “The American Dream” 

Ngoy is the one who found a way for Cambodian immigrants to become part of the American dream of owning their own business,” said Dennis Wong of the Asian Business Association. “Taking a loan from an Asian loaning society, Ngoy was able to buy two stores, operate them for awhile and then sell to someone in the community or a family member who wanted to buy them. That’s how they got into it.

Italian immigrants are often working with restaurants, Indians with newsstands and hotels. With Cambodians, it happens to be donuts,” he said.


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4) Running a donut shop is hard work. 

You’ll often hear about these donut shops having only a few workers in order to save money. In fact, many of the workers are family members who must find time within their day to help the family business. As a result, many owners will work long and tiring hours to make sure their shop is functional. Additionally, many donut shop owners have voiced that the long hours have made it difficult to assimilate into a new society.


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5) They have thrived. 

An estimated 80% of donut shops in the Los Angeles area are owned by Cambodian Americans. In Houston, Texas, the percentage is an even larger 90%.


Check out this link:

The history of Cambodian-owned donut shops


Indian hustle: How fraudsters prey on would-be US tech workers

Global Post:

India tech workers facebook logo

NEW DELHI, India ­— It’s a simple equation: India has millions of tech geeks who would love to work in the US.

But they need visas.

And the US issues just 65,000 of these per year, under its so-called H-1B program for high-skilled workers.

For freelance techies, the temptation is overwhelming.

And that, naturally, has opened up a world of opportunity for fraudsters.

Hundreds of small companies in India and the US claim to be able to arrange an H-1B visa — for the right price. Some Indians hand over money and never see the broker again — a scam similar to the loan brokerage racket featured in the movie “American Hustle.”

True, most H1-B visas go to Indians, but the majority of these are snapped up by big outsourcing firms like Cognizant, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys.

That only serves to amp up the desperation felt by freelance techies.

Some are lucky enough to get a visa — only to find that the promised job in the US doesn’t materialize. Then the visa holders are forced to return to India after spending thousands of dollars just surviving.

No official figures are available for the number of frauds in India, but an unclassified document released by Wikileaks showed that in 2009, US consular officials cited H-1B scams as one of the two most common fraud categories in India.

Jaspal Singh, a Delhi-based software professional, told GlobalPost that in 2010 he fell victim to a New York-based company called IT Holdings Inc.

They took $2,500 from me for visa filing, but they did not file anything,” he said. “After few months they refunded $500.”

Singh was not the only victim. Nitin Mohan, also from Delhi, lost $1,000 to IT Holdings Inc in Jun 2010, he told GlobalPost. After months spent trying to persuade them to refund his money, he eventually posted a thread on Trackitt, an immigration site. Four other people came forward with similar stories.

Although Mohan tried to file a criminal complaint, attempts to contact the New York Police Department from India proved fruitless. He has written off his loss. The IT Holdings Inc website is defunct and a phone number listed as its main contact point is not in service.

They just disappeared,” Mr Mohan said. “They could be out there acting as a different company and nobody would know.”

Techies use internet forums such as and on to post reviews of working conditions at some of the thousands of IT companies around the world.

Another victim claims to have lost $3,400 to a company that promised to file an H-1B application but vanished instead. Others say they are promised free or cheap training when they arrive in the US, but this was either substandard or never materialize.


Rajiv Dabhadkar, the chief executive of the National Organization for Software and Technology Professionals (NOSTOPS), has been campaigning for better conditions for IT workers for more than a decade.

Between 25 and 40 people write to me every week saying they would like to get to the US and asking which company we could recommend,” he said. “These companies are a major problem. The main difference now is that it has become so much more expensive to get H-1B visas. The visa process fees have increased a lot.” Immigration officials ask more questions and check documents more thoroughly than in the past, he added.

While there’s little evidence that the Indian government has pursued the matter, in the US federal officers have had some success in fraud investigations over the last few years.

  • In March 2013, the founders of a Texas-based company called Dibon Solutions were arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit visa fraud. Court documents filed by prosecutors claimed the brothers, Atul and Jiten Nanda (and four of their employees), had recruited Indian workers on the pretence they would work at the company headquarters in Carrollton, Texas. Instead, they were hired out to other companies. (Attempts to contact the company were unsuccessful.)
  • In a separate investigation, Phani Raju Bhima Raju, an Indian national based in Charlotte, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to five federal charges relating to H-1B visa fraud. His company, iFuturistics, made an estimated $13.2 million in six years by persuading Indians to pay for their H-1B visas and work in the US. “On one occasion a foreign national H-1B visa holder had paid $2,500 to iFuturistics as a security deposit for processing her H-1B visa,” according to a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman in a press release. She was promised a salary of $60,000 but “iFuturistics never provided the worker with any work assignments and failed to pay her any wages.”
  • Federal investigators arrested 11 people in 2009 on suspicion of a similar scam. Vision Systems, a New Jersey company, faced forfeitures of $7.4 million for placing foreign workers in jobs they weren’t entitled to do, replacing American workers. After a plea bargain, the two brothers who ran the firm were given three years’ probation for unlawfully hiring aliens and paid restitution of $236,250 to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.

Efforts to deal with the problem in India are limited. Data on attempted visa fraud are not collected by the Indian Government or any of the bodies that represent tech companies.

US officials in India make regular reports about fraudulent attempts to get visas. These are not ordinarily published, but Wikileaks released a 2009 paper titled “India Semi-Annual Fraud Update.”

At the time, according to the report, the vast majority of fraudulent applications came from the southern city of Hyderabad. Officers investigated 150 companies in the city and discovered that 77 percent “turned out to be fraudulent or highly suspect.”

Officials uncovered a scheme where Hyderabadis were claiming to work for made-up companies in Pune so the Mumbai consulate would be less suspicious about their applications. “The Hyderabadis claimed that they had opened shell companies in Bangalore because ‘everyone knows Hyderabad has fraud and Bangalore is reputable,’” according to the internal communiqué.

Ameet Nivsarkar, vice president of global trade development for NASSCOM, the trade association for Indian IT companies, said: “Unfortunately this does cause problems for the industry because of the way they operate. They throw the entire H-1B programme into disrepute. This is a legitimate industry that has a legitimate use of the H-1B program.”

Check out this link:

Indian hustle: How fraudsters prey on would-be US tech workers


Mapping the Alarming Decline of America’s Chinatowns


In many North American cities, Chinatowns have been home to vibrant communities of Asian immigrants since the mid-19th century. But the character of these neighborhoods is changing fast, according to a new report. Using public records and enlisting hundreds of volunteers to map land use in Chinatowns in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, the authors found evidence that Chinatowns are increasingly getting squeezed by gentrification, development, and large public projects like stadiums and convention centers.

If these trends continue, Chinatowns could eventually go extinct, said Bethany Li, author of the report and staff attorney at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a group that advocates for the civil rights of Asian Americans.

Why do Chinatowns exist in the first place? “It’s the history of discrimination,” Li said. “Chinese immigrants created these self-sustaining communities because they couldn’t find jobs or homes in other neighborhoods.” Even today, Li said, many recent immigrants depend on the resources and informal networks that Chinatowns provide.

But those networks may be breaking up.

The decline in Boston is particularly dramatic. According to Census records, the percentage of the population that claims Asian heritage in Boston’s Chinatown dropped from 70 percent in 1990 to 46 percent in 2010. New York and Philadelphia’s Chinatowns did not see big change either way by that measure during the same time period, but in all three cities the proportion of homes inhabited by families and the proportion of children in the population dropped considerably. To Li that suggests that multigenerational immigrant homes are breaking up — or moving out.

To get a better picture of what’s actually happening on the ground, volunteers in the three cities went door to door mapping businesses and land use.

Check out this link:

Mapping the Alarming Decline of America’s Chinatowns