Observers are at odds on whether attacks on Asian refugees are rising

Are violence and crime against Southeast Asian refugees really rising? It's hard to tell. There are no reliable national statistics. So any general conclusions are somewhat impressionistic, drawn from a pallet of seemingly isolated incidents. According to Wallace Warfield, associate director of the Community Relations Service for the US Justice Department, crime against refugees is ``definitely a growing problem in all parts of the country.'' Between 1984 and 1985, he says, ``the new cases that came to our attention went up 62 percent.''

``The number of incidents is still increasing,'' says Stewart Kwoh, director of the Asian-Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles. Based on his firm's Racial Violence Monitoring Project, he says, ``It's clear that the number of violent incidents is also increasing.''

To others, however, the trend is not so clear.

Some observers say the increase in incidents only reflects the refugees' increasing willingness to report them -- a fact that shows how residents are becoming more comfortable with the US legal system.

``Our perception is that [violence against Southeast Asian refugees] has decreased,'' says Allan F. Gall, a program analyst for the US Office of Refugee Resettlement. ``The natural process of economic dislocation and disruption has settled down, and there don't seem to be many repercussions.'' Throughout US history, he notes, new immigrants have faced discrimination and violence.

While Mr. Warfield differs with Mr. Gall on the trajectory of the problem, he agrees that ``if you put it into historical context, it makes it a little less hysterical.''

The US Commission on Civil Rights also hopes to be more statistical than hysterical in its study of anti-Asian violence in 13 cities, including six in California. Says project director Thomas Watson: ``From news reports, there was some indication that it was a problem in these parts of the country.'' He says the report should be released this summer or early fall.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK