TCR Talks: Challenging stereotypes about Asian Americans

Saigon fell to the Viet Cong on April 30, 1975. That was the day Tuyet Le and her family left Vietnam. She was 3 years old when they came to America as refugees. Le, 42, now works to help other immigrants and Asian Americans as the executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago. She also serves on the board of directors of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Asian American Justice Center.

City Council passes moratorium on SRO conversions

Advocates for the preservation of single-room occupancy buildings earned a small victory today as the City Council unanimously passed a moratorium on permits for demolition or conversations. The ordinance was introduced last month and prohibits the city from issuing permits to renovate SROs into high-value housing for the next six months, preventing a possible spate of development and additional evictions until a long-term preservation ordinance is passed. “It is good that the city is paying attention to affordable housing options,” said Robert Rohdenburg, an SRO resident and an organizer with ONE Northside. “Discrimination and segregation are all part of this issue.”

For low-income residents, seniors and people with disabilities, SROs are the only affordable housing options. The number of units has declined rapidly the last three years.

Less time, less crime? According to one study, yes

While state prison populations across the country have been increasing during the last 15 years, three states have been reducing theirs at a remarkable rate – and crime rates have dropped as a result.
According to the Sentencing Project’s report, “Fewer Prisoners, Less Crime: A Tale of Three States,” between 1999 and 2012, New York and New Jersey reduced their prison populations by 26 percent – the highest in the country during that period. California was close behind, having reduced its population by 23 percent between 2006 and 2012. Meanwhile, the national population of state prisons increased 10 percent from 1999 to 2012, and decreased 1 percent from 2006 to 2012. During the same periods, violent crime in those three states declined at a greater rate than the rest of the country. New York and New Jersey’s violent crime rate fell by 31 percent and 30 percent, respectively, while the national rate decreased by 26 percent.

Immigrant wins illegal voting case, granted residency

A Filipino immigrant who faced deportation for illegally registering to vote and casting a ballot can now stay in the U.S.
Elizabeth Keathley of Bloomington, Ill., who came to the U.S. in 2003, registered to vote in 2006 through the “motor voter” law – even though she was not a citizen. Last week, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared her of wrongdoing, and a Department of Justice immigration judge has approved her permanent residence, the Chicago Tribune reported. The court accepted Keathley’s testimony that an employee at the DMV rushed her through the driver’s license application process, during which she was asked if she was interested in registering to vote. After receiving her voter registration card, Keathley voted in the 2006 congressional election. During a citizenship interview that December, she was asked if she had voted.