When Kim Yamasaki reads the news, she thinks of another wrenching chapter in the nation’s history, when Japanese-Americans were forced into relocation camps at the onset of World War II.
“My grandfather was sent to one of these camps as a young boy. … We cannot allow this kind of history to repeat itself,” said Yamasaki, now the Executive Director of the Center for Asians United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE) and one of The Sacramento Bee’s California Influencers. “We need to ensure that immigration policy is not made at the expense of an individual’s most fundamental human rights.”
Harmeet Dhillon came to the United States as a small child from the Punjab region of India. As a young lawyer, she represented members of the Sikh community in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“California needs to prioritize the rights and interests of its citizens and legal residents first,” said Dhillon, a senior Republican National Committee official and also a member of the Bee’s Influencer series. “The large influx of low-wage workers and residents encouraged to enter California illegally and reside here depresses wages, job opportunities, and quality of life for Californians.”
Yamasaki and Dhillon’s strong emotional investment in one of California and the country’s most contentious policy debates was reflected in the responses that the Bee’s readers offered through Your Voice, the online tool capturing suggestions for this election-year conversation. No other topic has prompted as many responses or as vehement reactions from both readers and Influencers.