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Congratulations Judge Song Ong / 4 First woman and minority to hold the chief judge position

Bringing Power to the People / 7 APS' connection to the Asian community and celebration of Onuki’s vision and amazing accomplishments

ASIAN SUN Voice of the Asian American & PaciÞc Islander Community

Issue 4 - Summer 2018 - O

Culture Shock

PHX NIGHT MARKET 2018 PHX Rising Award Winner


Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce


Their Paths for Our Future I grew up in a single-parent household. My mother worked long and odd hours just to ensure I could receive a proper education. I will always be grateful and appreciative of the amount of sacrifices that were made for my benefit. Asian Americans are entrepreneurs. We spend countless hours doing all that we can to ensure we provide for our families. Oftentimes this means missing out on

quality time with our loved ones. However, it is this sacrifice that has allowed for future generations to become risk takers. We are seeing the benefits of our ancestors' labor come to fruition through an abundance of new, young, and savvy risk takers. Our community is growing exponentially and it shows our purchasing power (predicted to reach over $1 trillion this year). The mom-and-pop shops, the Chinese restaurants, Filipino care facilities, Vietnamese nail shops – owned and operated by those who have come before – have provided this next generation the essential skills and knowledge needed to lead us i n t o d i ff e r e n t e c o n o m i c avenues.

accomplished just that. In the tech field, if you are not constantly improving, you will be left behind fairly quickly. It is this sentiment that we, the sons and daughters of immigrants, must always keep in the forefront of our minds. We are America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. We are the American dreams of our parents and ancestors.

Being regaled with the stories from our elders, the same general refrain continuously plays out – "I want you to do more," "I want you to take all of my sacrifices and create a more abundant life for yourself and your children." These words ring true, and many from this generation have

Vicente J. Reid

So take the risk, learn to jump without wondering if the water below is too cold. Do not let the implications of fear deter you from moving forward, because your parents didn't struggle and spend countless hours working just so you could refuse to be great.

Audentes Fortuna Juvat, CEO & Executive Director, Arizona Asian Chamber
 of Commerce

This issue is dedicated to Masako Takiguchi January 5, 1932 to June 25, 2018

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Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce

TABLE OF CONTENTS Congratulations Judge Song Ong / 04 Welcome to the Chamber / 05 Meet The Chamber / 06 APS: Bringing Power to the People / 07 Culture Shock: PHX Night Market Recap / 10 Important Changes Affecting People on Visas and International Students / 15 PaciĂžc Islander Always / 18 PHX Rising Award 2018 Winner: Milk Run / 19 Hungry For Knowledge? Feed Your Future / 21


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Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce


Judge Roxanne K. Song Ong has served the Arizona criminal justice system for nearly 40 years, breaking new ground as the first Asian American woman lawyer and judge in Arizona. A Phoenix native, Judge Song Ong began her career practicing in the areas of criminal prosecution, defense, and immigration law, followed by her judicial career beginning in 1986 on the Scottsdale City Court. In 1991, she became a judge for the Phoenix Municipal Court and in the year 2000, became the Assistant Presiding Judge. In 2005, she was appointed as the Chief Presiding Judge of Phoenix and thus became the first woman and minority to hold the chief judge position. With Phoenix being the fifth largest city in the United States, Judge Song Ong began running one of the busiest courts in the country until her retirement from the court in late 2014. Judge Song Ong’s term was marked by advances in the management of DUI cases and the introduction of problem-solving courts to address cases involving populations with significant financial, psychological, behavioral, physical and other related challenges. Phoenix’s Veterans Court, Homeless Court, Mental Health Court, and Domestic Violence Court have become models for other courts in the state and country. Judge Song Ong continues to serve as a pro tem judge for other jurisdictions while teaching and speaking on topics of judicial, legal and civics education, access to justice, and diversity and cultural competency.

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Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce

WELCOME TO THE CHAMBER Mission & Purpose • To support, promote and foster business, cultural and educational relationships between chamber members and the general public. • Serve as a vehicle and resource center for our members to network and market their products and services. • Serve as a liaison between the state, county and local governments and the members of the Asian Chamber of Commerce. • Provide business consulting and technical assistance to the members of the Chamber. The goal of the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce is to include all Asian & Pacific Islander groups in our services. We are able to accomplish this task through our well-respected Advisory Board and Board of Directors, which represents virtually every major Asian and Pacific Islander group in Arizona.

Asian Sun The Asian Sun is the official publication of the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce. It is one of the most influential and pivotal publications of the Arizona Asian American community. The publication serves the important task of disseminating information to our members, the community, and the public on local and national issues that are pertinent to the Asian American community. The Asian Sun helps promote and sponsor Asian-American

businesses, corporate sponsors, important events, and special recognitions through our expansive distribution network and advertising. The Asian Sun contains content from public officials, professors, scholars, entrepreneurs, community leaders, and giants of the industry. It has grown over the years and is the largest Asian-American publication in Arizona. It is distributed statewide and in other major cities in the United States. Community organizations and businesses that join the Asian Chamber of Commerce are given the opportunity to publish their news and/or announcements in the Asian Sun to share with the public.

Contact us for more information:

You are invited to apply for membership with the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce An application can be Þlled out on our website: membership/

Board of Directors • Viet Le - Chairwoman • Gino Turrubiartes - Treasurer • Eileen Sullivan - Secretary • Tony Chanthavong - Board • Rana Sodhi - Board • Raed Hamzeh - Board • Mike Esparza - Board • Suzie Moreno - Board • Victor Burrola - Board • Vic J. Reid - Board

Advisory Board • Junelle Cavaro Harnal • Cece San Diego • Rick Lim • Marian Tadano Shee • Long Nguyen • Albert Lin • Raul Aguirre


• Vic J. Reid - Chief Executive OfÞcer/Executive Director/ Publisher • Jeanie Pham - Chief Operating OfÞcer • Shanna Fujii - Director of Communications/Co-publisher • Sunil M. Mutreja - Director of Business Development • Cindy Louie - Director of Marketing • Sophia Uehara - Director of Events Follow us on social media: @AZAsianChamber

*The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily the views of our sponsors. Editorials, news and opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reßect Asian Chamber policy except those expressed by the CEO of the Asian Chamber of Commerce and the publisher of the Asian Sun.

@AZAsianChamber Voice of the Asian American & PaciÞc Islander Community Asian Sun

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Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce


Ms. Viet Le served as the vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer for Avnet, Inc., a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, where she managed ethics and compliance programs for the company worldwide. Prior to this position, she led Avnet’s legal department in the Asia Pacific region and managed merger and acquisition activities for the region. Ms. Le was also division general counsel for the Electronics Marketing Group and Avnet Logistics, two Avnet divisions that generated over $9 billion in combined revenues. Previously, she oversaw global litigation and compliance matters for the company and regularly handled issues relating to employment, immigration, contract disputes, export and import compliance, and government procurement. Before joining Avnet, Ms. Le served as deputy attorney general in the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and a commercial litigator at Meyer, Hendricks & Bivens, P.L.C. She provided legal advice to the Arizona State Banking Department and represented the department in numerous matters before the Office of Administrative Hearings and state courts. Her private litigation practice covered a variety of areas, including medical malpractice, contract disputes, and employment law. Ms. Le also served as a judicial clerk for Judge Jefferson Lankford on Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals. Ms. Le has been involved in numerous professional and community organizations, including the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Asian American Bar Association, Association of Corporate Counsel, the Governor’s Asian-American Advisory Council, the Asian Pacific Islander Community Advisory Committee for the Maricopa County Colleges, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, The Phoenix Symphony, the Arizona State Bar Appointments Committee, the City of Phoenix Judicial Selection Advisory Board, and the Pacific Rim Advisory Council. Ms. Le was born in South Vietnam. Her family sought refuge in the United States after the fall of South Vietnam in 1975. She is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (B.S., economics,1988) and received her law degree from University of Arizona School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 1991). Ms. Le has two daughters. She enjoys traveling and exploring the world with her family. 

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Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce


JAPANESE IMMIGRANT RESPONSIBLE FOR APS BEGINNING Hachiro Onuki is certainly not a household name, but he has had a tremendous impact on most Arizona households as the original cofounder of Phoenix Illuminating Gas and Electric Company, better known today as Arizona Public Service (APS). Onuki grew up in rural Japan where he was educated by a Russian tutor who taught him a bit of English. At age 22, Onuki was offered free passage on a naval vessel that took him to the United States. Along with many others at that time in history, he traveled west to seek opportunities in the uncharted territory. His original plans took him to Carson City, Nevada, but when he arrived, he found a deserted town. After hearing of a rich silver strike happening in Tombstone, Arizona, Onuki set out to make his mark in the notorious wild west town. Upon arriving in Tombstone, he befriended two businessmen who were interested in providing gas and electricity to Arizona. They put together a plan, presented it to the Phoenix City Council, and on April 29, 1886, Phoenix Illuminating Gas and Electric Company was approved for business. The following year, the first electric lamp was installed at the corner of what now is Washington Street and Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix. From that one lamp and one Japanese immigrant’s vision stemmed Arizona Public Service, now the largest provider of clean, reliable energy in the state of Arizona, serving nearly 2.4 million customers. In April, APS and the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce teamed up to highlight the APS connection to the Asian community and celebrated Onuki’s vision and accomplishments at the PHX Night Market. Roughly 12,000+ attendees descended on Phoenix Public Market for the inaugural event that was inspired by night bazaars from around the world where food vendors, local businesses, entrepreneurs, artists and entertainers were on hand to sell their products and showcase their imagination and creativity. “It was such a pleasure to be a part of this inaugural event and see firsthand a growing and eclectic community of entrepreneurs, including a strong community of local talented Asian American-run businesses that the chamber brought together,” says Alana Langdon, senior community affairs representative at APS. “The event provided an amazing platform for members of our diverse supplier training program to meet with many of the vendors and business owners in attendance. We look forward to exploring additional opportunities with some of them and continuing to strengthen our partnership with the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce.” APS was proud to sponsor the event while also lighting up the night sky with the APS ‘moon’ balloon and a wall of Chinese lanterns. “Having APS as a partner has already proven to be fruitful as their focus on co-ethnic collaboration through their diverse supplier program is the exact sort of connections we foster through this chamber,” says Vic Reid, Arizona Asian Chamber CEO. “Their support of this inaugural event was integral and we can’t thank them enough for, quite literally, lighting up the market.”

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The New Culture of Care.

Embracing culture. Empowering health. Equality Health is the nation’s leading integrated health care delivery system focused solely on improving care for diverse communities through culturally sensitive programs that improve access, quality, and trust.

Like, Follow, Share

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Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce


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“ t P t s

Written by Shanna Fujii | Photography by Jay Estrada, André Bautista, Dreylon Vang & James Nwobu

“Many people told us along the way, 'Brace yourselves, Phoenix is just not ready for
 this kind of food. You may not
 see much of an attendance.'” —Cindy Louie, PNM co-founder


n a way, the skeptics were right. The founders of the first-ever night market in Arizona did have to brace themselves, but for an entirely different reason that, at the time, was unbeknownst to them. On April 21-22, 2018, the PHX Night Market (PNM) stunned the Valley. The inaugural event was expected to house an estimate of 5,000 attendees over the twoday period. Instead, over 12,000 people flooded the gates to eat, shop, and whether they realized it or not, take part in a monumental event in Phoenix’s history. Transforming PNM from daydream to reality was not an easy feat. The idea started as a post on Facebook back in February 2017 by PNM co-founder and owner of Snoh Ice Shavery, Tony Ce. The idea quickly bloomed into fruition after Cindy Louie, PNM co-founder and owner of Go Studio Go, reached out to Ce a week later and proposed the idea of tackling the Market as a duo. Soon after, the pair pulled in Vicente Reid, CEO of the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce, and thus formed the PNM executive team. Over the two-day event, 80 food and retail vendors from all parts of the Valley came together to fill the bellies and shopping bags of the Phoenix community. A mix of well-established restaurants, local hole-in-the-wall eateries, and virgin businesses debuting for the first time stood side-by-side in an effort to offer participants a collective of cultural bites and unique retail finds. Food vendors stemming from culinary backgrounds based in Korean, Chinese, Cambodian, Filipino, Hawaiian, Mexican, Laotian, Japanese, and American cultures allowed attendees to immerse themselves in flavors from around the world without having to leave the comfort of the desert. Crowd-pleasers like whole fried squid, chashu pork lollipops, tempura spam

Opening night lion dance

Lady La + Mahalo Made

musubi, swirled potatoes, longanisa sliders, and Hot Cheetos elote were plastered across social media—and those were just the entrées. Dessert vendors whipping up shaved ice, donuts, pastries, and boba tea tickled the sweet tooths of attendees. Local radio host, Lady La, also debuted her passion project, Mahalo Made, a Japanese shaved ice truck, and personally served the public. And if you were looking for a little liquid zing? The Sapporo Beer Garden or the Red Bull + Cobra Bar “Arcade Alley” was the place to be. On the opposite side of the food slingers was the home of retail vendors and artists. A live stage featuring performances by dance companies and DJs set the tone for the weekend’s entertainment. Attendees could also shop a variety of retail vendors selling everything from streetwear and boutique

APS lanterns

apparel, ‘hypebeast’ accessories, anime souvenirs, and quirky art prints and stickers. Graffiti artists painted murals and cars on scene showing everyone just how much underground talent lies within Phoenix. “Phoenix is booming, but it’s still considered slow-paced compared to other cities. It’s growing fast, but needs direction in where and how to grow,” said Ce. “Phoenix has so much opportunity, but no one necessarily wants to take the first step towards cultivating culture.

People would rather go to a city where culture is established. I've always thought, ‘Why not be the one to create culture?’ That's what we were hoping to accomplish with PHX Night Market.”

And accomplish they did. Not only was the festival a major hit among the foodies, PNM created a platform for new businesses to either grow, or in some cases, take the first steps to begin their entrepreneurial journey. “PHX Night Market was not just another food festival. It was an opportunity to help small businesses have a voice in a very competitive market. We had 10 start-from-scratch businesses debut at the event. For some, we were able to provide the assistance and guidance needed to obtain the permits, equipment, and funds to start up,” said Louie.

Khmer Kitchen

"After the event, many of the businesses built their conÞdence and are continuing to thrive with the new opportunities developed from the exposure and recommendations received during PHX Night Market." With the help of a few sponsors and local heavyweight business connections, certain vendors were provided financial assistance. Phoenix IDA fully funded the expenses necessary to debut at the Market to two scholarship winners, Khmer Kitchen and Good Fortune Kitchen, in addition to sponsoring the event. The Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce also granted several smaller scholarships to the PHX Rising Award winner, Milk Run, and its nominees: Pop ‘N Tea Bar, SoSoBa Phoenix, Happy Buns, Honey & Misfits, and Good Fortune Kitchen. With the sheer amount of attendance and diversity PNM brought to the community, it is safe to say the founders achieved their goal of wanting to ignite a cultural curiosity within the heart of Phoenix. As for what’s in store for next year? “After the very successful inaugural event, we plan on coming back in both spring and fall of 2019,” said Reid. “The next PHX Night Market will be held at a much larger venue with additional vendors and some very special items. We’ll be paying homage to our global inspirations by incorporating different styles and aesthetics. Once again, we’ll continue our efforts of both economic and cultural development, and focus on giving individuals opportunities that they otherwise would not have.” The first PHX Night Market would not have been such a success without the help of its incredible sponsors, vendors, volunteers, and of course, the Phoenix community. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to you.

The Tamale Store

Dos Manos Hot Dogs

Taste of Korea

Pop 'N Tea Bar

Donut Parlor

Novel Ice Cream

Q&A with Tony Ce Why was it important to incorporate brand new vendors instead of only featuring well-established vendors? There are businesses out there who are talented and have something amazing, but they never get the opportunity to share it. We created PNM so people and businesses can have that chance.

Snoh Ice Shavery

Cousins Maine Lobster

Why do you think PHX Night Market was such a success? Arizona is like a melting pot of people with different ethnicities from different states. The diversity is there, but it’s so spread out. We created one place where people could experience multiple cultures at once. Whether they wanted to show support or were just curious, people gravitated towards the idea.


Is there anything you want to say to the PHX Night Market sponsors, vendors, and community? The goal was always to build a better city, so to our sponsors, thank you for taking a chance on us. To our vendors, thanks for killing it and shocking the people. To the people of Phoenix, thanks for believing in us. Bigger things ahead.

Good Fortune Kitchen

Cobra Bar Arcade Alley

Yan Grill & Hot Pot skewers

Cosplayers at the market

Pokitrition Hot Cheetos wrap

Poke Hale Hawaiian and spicy tuna with nori chips

Steam Crow

Drunken Tiger spicy rice cakes

Genbu bubble wafĂ&#x;es

GrafĂžti mural + Red Bull cocktail




Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce

IMPORTANT CHANGES AFFECTING PEOPLE ON VISAS AND INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS U.S. immigration regulations just became a lot tougher in the last few months. While we have been hearing about the separation of parents from their children by immigration authorities at the border on the news, a couple of significant changes have been quietly put in place that can potentially have devastating consequences for international students and people on visas.

USCIS Will Start Issuing “Notice to Appear” starting on June 28, 2018 Some background may be helpful to understand the significance of this change. Before 9/11, there was only “INS,” Immigration and Naturalization Services, which handled all immigration related services. After 9/11, “INS” was separated into three different agencies: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In general terms, USCIS is the agency that adjudicates benefits applications. For example, if a company wants to petition work status for an employee, they would submit an application to the USCIS. If you want to extend your visitor status in the U.S., you apply for it through the USCIS. CBP guards our borders. The place you are most likely to interact with them is at the airport when you arrive in the U.S. after an international flight. The “immigration” officer who stamps your passport is from the CBP. ICE is the enforcement arm of immigration. ICE’s job is to apprehend and detain individuals who are in the U.S. unlawfully. All

three agencies—USCIS, CBP, and ICE—are all under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If DHS wants to deport you from the U.S., it will send you a Notice to Appear (NTA), usually through ICE or CBP. The NTA is a charging document that requires you to appear in an immigration court to answer why you should not be deported. If you are unlawfully in the U.S. and do not have any defense, you may have to concede your deportability. However, if you are unlawfully in the U.S. but have a defense, such as marriage to a U.S. citizen or an application for asylum, you will tell the immigration judge that you plan to contest your deportability. The judge will then set a date for you to have your day in court to prove your case. However, generally, once you have received an NTA, you have to stay in the U.S. to take care of your case in immigration court. Otherwise, leaving without the court’s approval would have severe consequences. The immigration judge may issue a deportation order against you in your absence even after you have already left the U.S., and you will be banned from re-entering the U.S. for up to ten years in some cases. However, when you are fighting your immigration case in court, you are not considered to be in the U.S. lawfully either. You don’t usually have work authorization. In other words, you cannot work legally and you cannot leave either. The policy memo issued on June 28 greatly expanded the USCIS’ authority to issue the NTA. You may remember that we submit immigration benefits applications

to the USCIS. In the past, if the USCIS denied your application, as frustrating as it may be, the consequence of the denial is that you do not have the benefits you sought. Whether you are rendered unlawful in the U.S. as a result of the denial depends on your status. For the most part, nothing else happens. USCIS may refer you to ICE, and ICE may track you down and issue an NTA to initiate a deportation proceeding against you, but that usually takes months, if it ever happens at all. However, the June 28 memo now requires the USCIS to issue you an NTA when your benefit application is denied. Now, not only do you not receive the benefits that you sought from the USCIS, but the USCIS is placing you in a deportation proceeding by issuing you an NTA. In the past, you could have just left the U.S. when your application was denied. However, now, you may receive an NTA. Once you receive the NTA, you cannot leave the U.S. and you are stuck in the deportation system which may linger on for years. To put it in context, if an H1B worker applies for a change of employer petition, and for any reason, it is denied by the USCIS, the USCIS may issue an NTA to this H1B worker. The worker is now in the court system. Once the H1B worker is in the court system, he/she cannot leave or find another job to file another H1B, because the court now has jurisdiction over the H1B worker. The H1B worker has to first get out of the court system, which could take months or years. The H1B worker may now be accruing unlawful presence in the U.S. and may be subject to a 3- or

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Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce

IMPORTANT CHANGES AFFECTING PEOPLE ON VISAS AND INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS 10-year reentry bar after leaving the U.S. As a result, what used to be merely an upsetting and frustrating denial of an H1B change-ofemployer petition has now possibly turned into a huge nightmare for the H1B worker because of the NTA. The policy is very new, so we do not know how often the USCIS will issue the NTA. Whether it will issue an NTA following every denial decision (which will be catastrophic), or whether it will only issue an NTA if the applicant appears to have severe immigration violation, we do not know at this point.

F-1 International Students and J1 Exchange Visitors May Now Accrue “Unlawful Presence” Starting on August 9, 2018 On May 10, the USCIS published a policy memorandum to change how “unlawful presence” can be accrued by F1 international students and J1 exchange visitors admitted for “Duration of Status,” or “D/S.” D/S means that there is no set day when the student’s status will expire. “Unlawful Presence” is a technical term in U.S. immigration law. A person who was granted duration of status may be in violation of his status but not have any unlawful presence in the U.S. For example, a person may have worked in the U.S. without proper work authorization, but he may not have any days of “unlawful presence” in the U.S. if his admission period has not expired. In the past, a person may accrue “unlawful presence” in one of three ways: • Day after DHS denied a benefit and made a formal

finding of violation of status • Day after I-94 admission record expired • Day after an immigration judge ordered removal As mentioned above, an international student is admitted in the U.S. in “D/S” status. As long as the student is going to school full time, the student is in valid status. However, if a student drops out of school or does something he/she is not supposed to, the student will have violated his/her status but does not have any unlawful presence. The reason why “unlawful presence” should be avoided at all cost is because a person who has accumulated 180 days of unlawful presence is subject to a three-year reentry bar. The reentry bar is 10 years if the person has over one year of unlawful presence. In other words, if you have more than a year of unlawful presence in the U.S., and you depart the U.S. for any reason, you are now prohibited from reentering the U.S. for 10 years. However, starting August 9, 2018, a student may accrue “unlawful presence” based only on violation of status, such as not maintaining a full course of study or engaging in any unlawful employment. If a student stays in the U.S. after his/ her program is finished, he/she may also accumulate unlawful presence. Why is this so bad? An international student may fall out of status inadvertently by not carrying a full load of studies due to circumstances beyond his/her control. A student may help a friend

with a small favor and is paid for it. But by so doing, the student now has begun to accrue unlawful presence due to unauthorized employment. The student may not even know that he/she has violated his/her status and is accruing unlawful presence, because it is not always clear when a violation of status has occurred. If a student unintentionally violates his/her status shortly after arriving in the U.S. and studies for an additional two years, the student will have accrued more than one year of unlawful presence and is now subject to a 10-year reentry bar. If the student goes home for the summer to see his/her family, he/ she triggers the 10-year reentry bar and cannot return to the U.S. to complete the studies. The consequences are extremely severe.

The Penalties Just Became a Lot Harsher One may argue that a person has nothing to worry about if he/she just keeps his/her nonimmigrant status current. This is of course true. However, one does not have full control over whether a petition will be denied by the USCIS, and whether that denial will lead to an NTA and immigration court. A student can inadvertently fall out of status due to the tiniest of mistakes and therefore begin accruing unlawful presence. Despite the ease with which someone can lose their status, these new policies have just severely increased the penalties. JARED LEUNG Partner - Immigration Davis Miles McGuire Gardner

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Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce

PACIFIC ISLANDER ALWAYS... Claudia Deleon Guerrero Fajardo Kaercher is a Pacific Islander who is of ChamorroFilipino descent from the Mariana Archipelago in Micronesia (a region in the Western Pacific). As a resident of Arizona for over 35 years, Claudia has been an active and positive contributor to her Pacific I s l a n d e r community.

Executive Director Island Liaison

My involvement with the Asian community began when I received an invitation from Mrs. Lou Ann Tampos (Hawaiian) to attend the Asian Chamber of Commerce 2003 Lunar Banquet. My husband Ted and I met Madeline OngSakata and her husband Lee, and from there on, I have been working to strengthen the Pacific Islander community as a whole. I became an active member of several civic and private organizations in the Valley and was the 2010 U.S. Census Partnership Assistant for the Pacific Islanders in Arizona which led me to create the nonprofit organization Island Liaison. Island Liaison is a resource providing awareness of locally available agencies, services, and

educational opportunities to Pacific Islanders with focus on people from the region of Micronesia, which includes the Independent island nations of the Freely Associated States (FAS) of Micronesia: The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), and the Republic of Palau. These individuals are here in the U.S. under the Agreement of Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the U.S. which allows them to live, work, and freely travel within the U.S. without a visa and with no time restraints. However, these FAS islanders are not U.S. citizens and therefore are not eligible for many federal or state services. Neighboring Islanders from the U.S. Territories of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) are U.S. citizens and do have the ability to access many federal or state-funded services. “Thank You,” si Yu’us ma’ase, m a h a l o , O l o m w a a y, K o m m o l , Mesulang, kam mangar, Kinnisou chapur, Kelangan, Kulo maluhlap, to everyone for acknowledging and embracing my Micronesian background. To learn more about Island Liaison, contact

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Written by Shanna Fujii Photography by André Bautista


f you’re an avid scroller on the ‘gram, chances are, you have seen a flurry of images highlighting local business, Milk Run, splattered across your friends’ social feeds. Known for its equally photogenic and tasty desserts, Milk Run offers foodies a variety of boba drinks, smoothies, and homemade ice cream. Milk Run opened its doors to the Phoenix community in June of 2017. Its simple white-and-wood industrial farmhouse interior seamlessly complements the menu, allowing its more colorful counterparts—vibrant milk teas, sweet boba drinks, homemade ice cream, and fresh fruit smoothies—to take centerstage. This past spring, the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce announced the start of the PHX Rising Award contest. People sent in their digital vote to decide who, out of six local Asian-run businesses, would become the winner. Thanks to its loyal following, Milk Run was voted as Phoenix’s up-and-coming business. We got the chance to sit down with Milk Run’s owner, Tho Ly, and pick his brain while sampling a smorgasbord of the shop’s iconic desserts: the taro and matcha milk tea floats, the color-changing AZ Sunset Tea, their classic Thai tea with boba, and the “try if you dare” durian smoothie. After talking with Tho, it was clear why Milk Run was voted as the PHX Rising Award winner. One interview convinced us they're the community’s crème de la crème— with a heaping scoop of homemade taro ice cream on top.

Can you tell us about your background? I was born and raised in Arizona. My family has been in the food industry so I grew up being in and out of restaurants. Funny enough, my family owns the Vietnamese restaurant next to Milk Run. Even though I was always around restaurants as a kid, I went a different route and got my degree in microbiology. What prompted the change from microbiology to the food industry? I have always wanted to run my own business instead of working for someone else. When I was a microbiologist, working in the lab every day became very routine and I got tired of it. Now that I have Milk Run, I have more freedom and every day here is different. Where did the idea for Milk Run come from? I have always traveled to California for good food and boba. The inspiration for Milk Run came from all those trips and adventures. I wanted to bring a piece of that vibe here. Is there a story behind the Milk Run name? You know when you go for a late-night “beer run” or “taco run”? That’s where the idea for the name came from. Most of our products are created with milk, so if you go to our shop, it’s like going for a “milk run.” What makes Milk Run unique? All of our ice cream is made in-house. Before we started, I learned how to make ice cream from scratch on YouTube. I watched a ton of videos, bought the equipment, and experimented with different flavors and types of milk until I got the consistency and flavors I liked. In the end, we found using premium milk gave us the thick and creamy texture we wanted. We also make all of our milk teas using real milk. Some shops use non-dairy milk, which isn’t bad, but real, whole milk costs more, and we’re proud to serve that here. We also use real fruit for all our smoothies instead of flavored fruit powder. What is one thing you think has contributed towards Milk Run’s success? Social media. While it wasn’t our main focus, we tried to create products and an environment that encourages people to take pictures. If one person takes a photo and posts it, another person sees it and wants to visit the place. Then they come in and take a photo and post it on their social media. It’s organic.

What is your shop’s most popular item? Our milk tea floats are the most popular among our customers. The milk tea floats include a signature milk tea and is served with a scoop of homemade ice cream on top. Our most popular flavors are Thai tea, matcha, and taro. Do you offer any unique menu items or flavors for more adventurous foodies? We have a few exotic fruit smoothies we make using real fruit. We have smoothies made from durian, avocado, soursop (guanabana), and jackfruit. We also serve fresh sugar cane juice made from California sugar canes. We squeeze in kumquats to balance out the sweet and citrus flavors. At one point in the past, we got pretty creative in the kitchen and served a limited run of sriracha ice cream. You were the winner of the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce’s PHX Rising Award. Do you have any words of appreciation? I would like to thank the Chamber of Commerce for giving us this opportunity. They are very supportive of businesses in the Valley, which is something I also try to do. Visiting and showing support for other local businesses and boba shops is important because it is never about competition here. To the other PHX Rising Award nominees, we want to say congratulations. We’d like to thank all our customers, family, and friends for voting for us. I also want to thank the Milk Run staff. Our team is made up of loyal, hard workers, and most of the team has been here from the beginning. Who has been your biggest support throughout this whole process? My fiancé Christine, my family, and my son. Christine is, and has always been, my support. Leaving a stable job to build something you’re not sure is going to become anything is a risk. But she told me to go for it. Her and my family are my number one supporters. My son, Owen, is my number one motivator. What is your hope for Milk Run's future? Expansion is a possibility, but for now, we're proud to have officially hit our one-year anniversary. This is just the beginning. Follow Milk Run on social media at @milkrunboba or visit their location at 1702 W. Camelback Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85015.

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At Fry’s, we believe in making long-term investments in our associates. Fry’s is a place where you can come for a job and stay for a career. We provide our associates the ability to feed their hunger for education with an inclusive benefit plan we call “FEED YOUR FUTURE.”

"Many Kroger associates can attest to the life-changing power of education, and I'm proud to be one of them. Feed Your Future supports all fulltime and part-time associates, wherever they are on their personal education journey." -Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO

T h e “ F e e d Yo u r Future” education benefit supports full-time and parttime associates with up to $3,500 annually. Associates can use $500 up front toward tuition, application fees, test preparation, testing fees, and even books. In conjunction with the “FEED YOUR FUTURE” benefit we have partnered with several universities and colleges across the valley to provide Fry’s Associates with comprehensive discount toward their tuition. Associates will be able to earn their GED, a professional certification, a

college degree, or even English as a second language. Associates will be able to save10% to 20% off their tuition to pursue a degree with any of our educational partners, which include: Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Grand Canyon University, University of Phoenix, and Rio Salado College to name a few.

WESTERN ASSOCIATES OF FOOD CHAINS (WAFC) WAFC Retail Management Certification Program

Our fast-paced food industry is in a period of change. Education can lead to success for everyone. Along with the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC) and Maricopa Community Colleges, Fry’s Associates can use their Feed Your Future benefit to work toward a degree in Retail Management. Associates will increase their knowledge of the retail industry, improve business skills, and reach professional potential. This certification is an 8-course community college program designed to prepare current and future food industry members to be ready for management opportunities and challenges of the future. Additionally, the certificate has been recognized as a part of the White House’s Upskill Initiative, and leading organizations and foundations including the ACT Foundation and the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Asian Sun Issue 4 2018  

The Asian Sun has been one of the most pivotal publications of the Arizona Asian American and Pacific Islander Community. It has produced 50...

Asian Sun Issue 4 2018  

The Asian Sun has been one of the most pivotal publications of the Arizona Asian American and Pacific Islander Community. It has produced 50...