On May 24th the White House hosted a reception celebrating American contributions by Asians and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).
President Barack Obama spoke at the event, noting the contributions of the many peoples originating from AAPI.
Mrs Mumtaz Haq, President of the Michigan Chapter of Asian and Pacific Islanders was among the invited guests.
President Obama spoke on the May 24th event about â€œthe promise of this country–a nation that welcomes … all peoples, all colors, all creeds.â€
â€œYour role in Americaâ€™s story has not always been given its due,â€ he said.
The president touched on immigration reform as well, a major issue that has been in the news in the wake of Arizonaâ€™s controversial new anti-immigrant law. I â€œhave been fighting and will keep on fighting for comprehensive immigration reform that respects our nationâ€™s heritage.â€
â€œWe have to respect our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.â€
Actually the president hinted at a future modified kind of amnesty with illegal immigrants being granted citizenship after â€œtak[ing] responsibility,â€ by â€œpaying a fine and back taxes, learning English, and going to the back of the line so that they take a legal path towards citizenship.â€
Perhaps this is not a kind of amnesty, but certainly it is inclusive rhetoric designed to invite immigrants in through legal means, rather than the challenging and hate-filled rhetoric that comes from the right on issues of immigration, where the conversation usually begins with â€œleave the countryâ€ and ends with a threat.
An important mark of the presidentâ€™s sophistication with the Asian community is his recognition of the diversity of the community. â€œPeople get lumped into one category,â€ said the president, â€œbut as you know, beneath the label of AAPI are dozens of communities, and each is facing their own unique challenges.â€