The Asian Law Caucus, which bills itself as the oldest civil rights organization for Asians in the United States, on Thursday celebrated more than three decades of advocacy on behalf of Asians and Pacific Islanders. "And it has done this the past 34 years without taking steroids," caucus board member Larry Lowe, senior counsel at Apple Computer, told a crowd of about 600 gathered at the Marriott hotel in San Francisco.
Caucus leaders used the event to announce plans for a new home at 53 Columbus St. in Chinatown and to honor two stalwarts of the Asian community in the Bay Area: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman partner Kevin Fong and UC-Berkeley professor Ronald Takaki.
Caucus chairman Monty Agarwal described Fong as "the godfather of the Asian bar" — Fong became the first Asian-American partner at what was then Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro in 1987, and has served as president of the Asian Pacific Bar of California and the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area.
Takaki, meanwhile, took aim at the recent Congressional push for immigration reform. Some 1 million Asians are in the country illegally, Takaki said, with many having entered legally but then finding it impossible to negotiate the INS bureaucracy when their visas expired.
I would like to see immigration reform include reform of the immigration bureaucracy," Takaki declared.
The immigration crackdown was on the minds of many caucus leaders. "The debate by any measure has been destructive," said Agarwal, a partner at Bingham McCutchen.
— Scott Graham