Home > Community News > Group: Asians fastest-growing population group in NM

In 2065, there will be more Asian immigrants in America, than Hispanics, according to the Pew Research Group.
According to the New Mexico Asian Family Center, Asians are the fastest-growing population in New Mexico, seeing a 46 percent increase in population from 2000 to 2010.
The nonprofit is seeing more Nepalese and Bhutanese refugees lately. Overall, its staff said the largest Asian populations here are from Vietnam, China and India.
Vietnamese business owner Thai Do came to the United States 13 years ago. He’s been running Diamond Nails for half a decade.
“Everything very cheap, easy, looking for a job,” explained Do. “And the people very nice. That’s why I love and I live here.”
He’s part of the 69 percent of Asians living in New Mexico who were born in another country. He’s also part of the 33 percent who have limited English proficiency.
For Victor Limary, of Talin Market, it’s a different story. He came to Albuquerque from Laos as a child refugee. He said there’s a lot of diversity in the Asian community.
“Some of us have been here for multiple generations. Some just arrived yesterday,” explained Victor Limary. “Some speak fluent English, some don’t. We all speak different languages, come from different cultures.”
Staff at the New Mexico Asian Family Center said New Mexico isn’t ready for when Asians become the largest immigrant group.
Executive Director Kay Bounkeua said hospitals, the legal community and schools have work to do.
“Language access is a huge piece that needs to be improved upon in general,” said Kay Bounkeua.
While some come here on work or student visas, leading people to believe Asians are the model minority group, Bounkeua said that’s hardly the case.
“We have problems with education, we have high domestic violence rates, we have a lot of people who are living in poverty,” Bounkeua explained.
Her organization works with domestic violence and sexual assault victims. It also provides interpreting and immigration support. One of its goals is making voting more accessible, so Asians will have more of a voice in our community.
The New Mexico Asian Family Center is working with Bernalillo County to locate a software system that would allow voters to see translated samples of the ballot before going to the polls. Its staff is also trying to get more Asian bilingual poll workers at sites with high Asian concentrations.