Who's Covering that Immigration Beat? Meet Victoria Yue

January 24, 2012

      Victoria is passionate about immigration issues. Also, pizza.

Hyphen columnist Victoria Yue is a 25-year-old managing editor of the National Archive’s internal newsletter and contributor to the Pieces of History blog, an impassioned immigration blogger, and a self-proclaimed filial daughter. Long before she joined the Hyphen staff -- where she's talked about sandwiches with Jeremy Lin and taken the Cal Republican affirmative action bake sale to task -- Victoria grew up in a diverse neighborhood in Northern Virginia. Despite her wicked Mandarin skills, used daily at home, at school she “just wanted to be a white girl, and went the route of assimilating."

It wasn’t until she attended the College of William and Mary that Victoria realized how much she missed repping an Asian American identity. Being surrounded by white people all the time, Victoria felt like she had to explain herself a lot and thus, gravitated towards Asian American friends who understood her better.

And while those college friends were swell, Victoria often went home to hang out with her parents or help around the house. Not because she had nothing better to do, but because she truly enjoyed her parents’ company.

“I like my parents a lot, and I respect them a lot as great people,” Victoria says. “My parents always said that family is number one. When all your friends are gone your family will still be there.” And Victoria can’t wait to pass down these ideals to the family she will have with her fiancé. “It means a lot to have the support from people who love me, and

that’s something I want to emulate. I want to raise bilingual kids so they can talk to my parents. I want my kids to be able to get their support and wisdom.”

Whether consciously or subconsciously, her filial nature has been the driving force behind a lot of the decisions she has made. When Victoria went through a kick of activism, it had to do with immigration. Why? Because her parents are immigrants. In grad school at Northwestern University, Victoria worked with the Korean American Resource and Cultural

Center in Chicago, which fanned her activist flame. Through speaking with some of their undocumented student members, Victoria saw how tragic the story was.

“They have, like, a 4.0 at a prep school, but they can’t go to college because they can’t apply for financial aid,” Victoria said. “It’s just heartbreaking because they’re so smart and they work so hard, but they can’t do anything with it.”

Victoria has covered immigration frequently on the Hyphen blog, from the effects of Alabama’s immigration laws to birthright tourism. When Victoria had graduated from Northwestern, there were hardly any job opportunities. Itching to write, she remembered Hyphen, which she had read in her college days. She looked us up to see if there were writing positions available, and she has been with us ever since.

Victoria sees Asian American media playing an “increasingly visible role in media in general.” Though Asian American interests still aren’t mainstream, and stereotypes like Tiger Moms are hard to shake off, she believes that Asian American interests are “gaining visibility in politics as well as pop culture.”

As for her future, Victoria would love to keep writing about Asian American issues, but there are a lot of other things she wants to do as well: publish a novel and raise a family, for instance. Though she’s unsure of her future, she would love to keep contributing to the Asian American story in one form or another.