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There are about 14 million, or 4.5 percent, Asian-Americans in the United States, more if counting those of mixed races.

In California, Asians make up more than 12 percent of the state’s 38 million population.

While Asian-American lawmakers demand an apology from Limbaugh, some are increasingly concerned for Yee’s personal safety. Public officials have been put on alert after the deadly rampage in Tucson where U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot while meeting with constituents.

Shortly after condemning Limbaugh’s remarks, Yee said he received racist death threats to his San Francisco and Sacramento offices. The lawmaker also received a profanity-filled telephone message Thursday.

The caller, who did not identify himself, called Yee a “cry baby” and urged him to resign from office.

Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Tony Beard Jr. confirmed the Legislature has launched an investigation and is cooperating with other security agencies.

He said Yee had received similar faxes in April after he called on a state university to disclose how much it was paying Sarah Palin for a fundraiser.

“We need to stand up for civility and be respectful of one another. Otherwise the consequences are dreadful as we can already see in the death threats against Senator Yee,” said Rep. Judy Chu, a Democrat who represents a large Asian district outside Los Angeles.

Yee, who has a chance to become San Francisco’s first elected Asian mayor, said he has no plans to change his behavior because doing so would amount to “stepping down.” He said his staff has received additional security training.

“It’s just been a disappointing experience,” Yee said. “I’m not angry about it, more disappointed that in the year 2011, we still have individuals who are racist.”

Threats to minority lawmakers are not new. California state Assemblyman Paul Fong said he was the target of racist comments in 2009, when he introduced a resolution officially expressing California’s regret for the way it treated Chinese living in the state.

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Associated Press writers Don Thompson in Sacramento and Michael Gormley in Albany contributed to this report.