Texas Bill Banning Chinese Citizens From Buying Land Is Gaining Steam
Feds vow to fix mistake that left two women named Jieun Kim with the same Social Security number
“Asian Americans recorded the fastest population growth rate among all racial and ethnic groups in the United States, study finds.”
While this statistic may seem optimistic, there’s more to the story. The growth of the Asian American population in the U.S. has occurred in tandem with increased reports of discrimination and violence since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
As our community grows, we are getting louder, we are telling our authentic stories…and we are making news headlines.
Welcome to Crushing the Myth, a weekly newsletter that breaks down the latest AAPI news & newsmakers.
🏆 The Headlines
Texas Bill Banning Chinese Citizens From Buying Land Is Gaining Steam — Advocates say this is another example of Asians in the U.S. being scapegoated for the actions of China.
Texas state Rep. Gene Wu; Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Reps. Al Green and Sheila Jackson Lee, join a protest in Houston against a bill that would forbid Chinese nationals from buying properties in Texas, on Feb. 11.
In December,a bill targeting immigrants from certain countries was introduced in the Texas state Senate — and unfortunately it’s gaining steam.
Senate Bill 147, written by Republican state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, would ban people (or businesses) with Chinese, North Korean, Iranian or Russian citizenship from owning a home or property in Texas. For the record, federal law extends the right to home and land ownership to individuals regardless of citizenship status.
Republicans who support the bill believe it is a matter of national security, according to NBC News.
Last month, GOP Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted his support for the measure, which he has claimed would prevent people from countries with “hostile interests” — China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran — from “buying up” farmland.
Now, many members of Texas’ Chinese immigrant community — who they say no longer feel welcome and safe in the state — fear for their future. Activists and politicians who deem the proposed legislation xenophobic say that it’s reminiscent of America’s tradition of using Asian communities as scapegoats during periods of heightened political conflict. These attitudes have always existed in the U.S., dating farther back than the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which prohibited Chinese migration for 40 years.
Feds vow to fix mistake that left two women named Jieun Kim with the same Social Security number — "The first thought that came to me was, 'What a relief','" said one of the women.
The two South Korean immigrants whose new lives in America were thrown into chaos after they were mistakenly assigned the same Social Security number are getting some relief from the federal government.
Less than a week after NBC News reported on their plight, the Social Security Administration announced that it will allow Jieun Kim of Los Angeles, 31, to keep the number that she was assigned in 2018, and give Jieun Kim, who lives in a Chicago suburb and is also 31, a brand new number.
“I am glad and relieved that the SSA has resolved the problem of having issued one Social Security number to both of us,” the L.A. Kim told NBC News on Tuesday.
The Kim who lives outside of Chicago, in Evanston, said she, too, was elated after hearing from the SSA.
“The first thought that came to me was, ‘What a relief,'” she said. “Finally, SSA as a government agency is officially listening to me and taking my situation seriously.”
They soon found themselves contending with having their banking and savings accounts shut down and their credit cards blocked, and being suspected of identity theft. And it wasn’t until recently that the two Kims realized they had been issued the same Social Security number by mistake.
The breakthrough came this month when L.A. Kim went to her Chase Bank branch to find out why her credit card had been canceled. There, she discovered that the Chicagoland Kim had, on Feb. 4, left her phone number at her Chase bank branch with instructions for whomever was using her Social Security number “to contact her.”
Once the women realized what had happened, they said they got pushback from the SSA when they tried to convince skeptical agency workers that they both had been issued the same number.
Seattle becomes first U.S. city to ban caste discrimination — Supporters say caste is not covered by current protections, while opponents say the move will malign a community that is already the target of prejudice.
The Seattle City Council on Tuesday added caste to the city’s anti-discrimination laws, becoming the first U.S. city to specifically ban caste discrimination.
Calls to outlaw discrimination based on caste, a division of people based on birth or descent, have grown louder among South Asian diaspora communities in the United States. But the movement is getting pushback from some Hindu Americans who argue that such legislation maligns a specific community.
Proponents of the ordinance that was approved by a 6-1 vote Tuesday say caste discrimination crosses national and religious boundaries and that without such laws, those facing caste discrimination in the U.S. will have no protections.
The ordinance is a contentious issue, especially among the nation’s South Asian diaspora. Supporters argue it is needed because caste is not covered under existing civil rights protections. Groups opposing the measure say it will malign a community that is already the target of prejudice.
Council member Kshama Sawant, a socialist and the only Indian American on the City Council, said the ordinance, which she proposed, does not single out one community, but it accounts for how caste discrimination crosses national and religious boundaries.
Activists on different sides of the issue began arriving in Seattle well ahead of Tuesday’s City Council meeting. As early as last week, more than 100 people had put in requests to speak at the meeting. Early Tuesday, several activists braved cold temperatures and wind gusts to line up outside City Hall so they would get a chance to speak to the council before the vote. But the council restricted public comment at the meeting.
The origins of the caste system in India can be traced back 3,000 years as a social hierarchy based on one’s occupation and birth. It is a system that has evolved over the centuries under Muslim and British rule. The suffering of those who are at the bottom of the caste pyramid — known as Dalits — has continued. Caste discrimination has been prohibited in India since 1948, a year after the nation’s independence from British rule.
🍼 Giving birth…
…to baby #2 — ‘Filipinese baby #2’: Constance Wu confirms pregnancy with 2nd child
…to a new Marvel superhero — Steven Yeun Joins Marvel’s ‘Thunderbolts’
…with Chang — Disney+ has unveiled the trailer for “Chang Can Dunk” from filmmaker Jingyi Shao, one of Variety’s “10 Directors to Watch” for 2023.
…with Simu Liu & the NBA All-Star Game — Actor Simu Liu, who participated in the 2023 NBA All-Star-Ruffles Celebrity Game on Friday night, has expressed disappointment over the event's celebrity look-a-like segment in which he was compared to a random Asian spectator.
…with Utah students — Students at Roy High School will receive instruction on “appropriate behavior” — among other disciplinary action — after the fan section shouted racist slurs and barked at Asian American and Polynesian players on the opposing team during a basketball game last month.
📺 On screen…
…with more Asian leads — Given network TV’s woeful record of failing to cast Asian actors as main characters — and increased competition from cable and streaming services — there is an extraordinary number of recent shows that are making change. Recent broadcast series with Asian or Asian American leads include “Quantum Leap” (Raymond Lee), “Kung Fu” (Olivia Liang), “The Cleaning Lady” (Élodie Yung), “NCIS: Hawai’i” (Vanessa Lachey) and “Ghosts” (Utkarsh Ambudkar).
…with ‘Everything Everywhere’ star Stephanie Hsu — Stephanie Hsu is really busy — the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” Oscar nominee has been commuting from California to Australia for the past few weeks while filming “The Fall Guy” with Ryan Gosling and attending various events and ceremonies to promote “Everything Everywhere,” directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, which earned 11 Academy Award nominations.
…with Doua Moua & Hmong stories — Doua Moua talks about his 15-year journey to bring Hmong stories to Hollywood. The ”Gran Torino“ alum’s family drama ”The Harvest“ premiered at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
🍿 Coming Soon
✍️, Lea @ Crushing the Myth
Here is what Texas got wrong. In the past two years both Canada and New Zealand have passed laws forbidding OVERSEAS foreigners from buying land in their countries. Resident foreigners living in those two countries can buy land because they are part of the local community (working there, paying taxes, kids going to school, etc.). It is OVERSEAS MONEY from investors overseas that cannot buy property. Overseas investors have no real interest in the impact of their investments on the local economy or people. All they want is profit without responsibility or accountability. It sounds to me like TEXAS and Gov. Abbot are just being knee-jerk racist. I am the only non-Asian (I'm 3rd generation European-American aka White) in my immediate family. My husband is third generation Chinese-American, and our son is adopted from Korea. The mother of our grandson is second generation Vietnamese-American. (Our grandson was born here and is half Korean, and half Vietnamese - pure American who speaks only English and is learning Spanish in our local school). What I resent is overseas investors (Chinese or whatever) who buy up housing as an investment only and drive up the prices here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Often times, the housing is left vacant even as we have a serious shortage of housing here. This is not good for our local population, our economy, or our school districts which are paid on the basis of children in attendance. Empty houses mean no families, no children and falling enrollment in the schools. thus reducing the budget for educating local children. Housing has become an investment commodity, not shelter. And American corporations, such as BlackRock Properties and others are just as bad as over seas investors. They have really very "limited skin in the game."