Asian Americans Advancing Justice - LA

Building upon the legacy of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Taking a stand against anti-immigrant laws

Jim Shee was driving to his birthday party in Phoenix on April 6, 2010 when a police officer pulled him over and asked him for his “papers.”

“I asked him why he had stopped me,’’ recalled Shee, a lifelong U.S. citizen of Spanish and Chinese descent who lives in Litchfield Park, Arizona. “He said I looked suspicious.”

After reviewing Shee’s driver’s license and other documents, the officer let him go without a citation.

“I was burned up, mad,’’ he said. “There was no reason to stop me.”

Ten days later, it happened again to Shee, but this time with his Japanese American wife.  A highway patrol officer pulled him over and asked to see his papers, Shee said. The officer said he pulled Shee over because the windows on the car were tinted, and issued him a repair order.

Shee decided to join a lawsuit filed by a coalition of civil rights groups, including the Asian Pacific American Legal Center and the Asian American Justice Center, both members of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, to challenge SB1070, Arizona’s bill that requires law enforcement to question individuals about their immigration status if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that the individuals may be unlawfully present in the country.

72-year-old Shee, a retired real estate investor who founded the Phoenix Asian-Hispanic Alliance and serves as the vice president of the state’s Asian Chamber of Commerce, said he decided to pursue litigation because he didn’t want to see other people of color have to go through his experience.
He and his wife now carry their U.S. passports with them when they leave their house out of concern they may be detained or arrested without proper documents.
“I have two grandchildren,’’ he added. “I don’t want to see them go through what we have to go through.”
Shee urged more Asian Americans to speak out against such anti-immigrant laws, which he added has sparked anxiety among both undocumented immigrants and citizens.

“This is just not a Latino issue. It is our problem too, and is happening to our immediate community,’’ he said.  “Other Asian Americans need to step up besides me. They can tell different stories.”


Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI)
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday - Friday

For more information or to apply to DRAI, please call: 

Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese)  (213) 241-8872
Khmer  (213) 241-8877
Korean  (213) 241-8873
Tagalog  (213) 241-8874
Thai  (213) 241-8875
Vietnamese  (213) 241-8876
English/Other, Non-Spanish  (213) 241-8880
Spanish/English** (CARECEN)  (213) 315-2659
Spanish/English** (CHIRLA)  (213) 201-8700
 (213) 395-9547

*This list will continue to expand.
** Spanish assistance available through CARECEN & CHIRLA.
***We are experiencing heavier call volume than usual. We highly encourage you to call your native language phone line, the wait time may be shorter. 

Our mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society.