MANY KABABAYANS who voted for President Donald Trump tell me that they support him because they believe in his fight against undocumented immigrants.
These Filipinos lament that they followed the laws, waited in line, paid their dues and it would be unfair if those who entered and are staying in the United States illegally would bypass those still in line, steal American jobs, and partake in the benefits paid for by their hard earned money.
They contend that so long as Filipinos have the “papeles” (papers), they have nothing to be afraid of because Trump supports legal immigration.
Well, think again. Trump’s rhetoric and action before the election, the people he surrounds himself with, the advisers and aides he hired, and the news media he subscribes to and believes in could very well be indicators that he may not love you as much as you adore him.
As the Trump administration rolls out its proposals to overhaul America’s broken immigration system, you now realize he is not just running after the undocumented immigrants but is gearing up to limit LEGAL immigration into the United States. Let me focus on two important issues for now.
Earlier, Trump pushed to end family-based petition, the immigration policy implemented by past administrations — Republicans and Democrats — in honor of the long-held value that family members should live together and not be broken apart. Family-based petitions make “family reunification” possible, a benefit recently enjoyed by no less than the parents of First Lady Melania Trump.
BUT Trump now refers to “family reunification” as “chain migration” and said during his January 2018 State of the Union Address:
“The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and for the future of America.”
This impacts a lot of Filipino families who rely on family members for support as they navigate their life here in America. Many lolos and lolas are the ones who take care of the young kids as the husband and wife both need to work to pay for their bills. Some need ate and kuya to help out in taking care of their ailing and aging parents.
Most kababayans also want to give their children a sense of extended family and have the grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins around just like how we place value on family togetherness and traditions in the Philippines.
These family members who are approved for immigration to the U.S. go through strict background checks to make sure they would not be a burden to society. They work or give domestic and moral support to their family who petitioned them. They also pay taxes and contribute to the coffers of the nation.
BUT NO, if Trump would have it his way, family reunification is not important and family-based petitions should go.
Another proposal by the Trump administration is to deny citizenship to green card holders — immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children’s health insurance, food stamps and other benefits could be hindered from obtaining legal status in the U.S.
Immigration lawyers and advocates and public health researchers point out that this move “would be the biggest change to the legal immigration system in decades and estimate that more than 20 million immigrants could be affected,” including many Filipinos, particularly immigrants who are working double or even triple jobs that don’t pay enough to support their families.
Also vulnerable will be families who have been victims of the deep recession caused by the greed of many capitalists and policymakers. Even those immigrants who sought public assistance for their American-born children will be at risk.
These people have been paying taxes, contributing to Social Security and Medicare, and yet just because they were in the unfortunate situation of having to rely on public benefits as their lifeline, they are now deemed as “pabigat” and should therefore be denied citizenship and have their legal status and future in the United States be in limbo?
Trump claims he is “the least racist of all people.” WHAT A LIE!
He looks down on people of color. He demonizes and vilifies immigrants. He calls them obscene and derogatory labels, questions their intelligence, values, undermines their importance in the greatness and growth of this nation. He looks at them as security risks. He discriminates against them.
He is quick to attack immigrants, people of color and those who support them, but defends white people when they are the ones who cause violence and break the rules and laws of the land. He even appointed a lot of them to office just because they are white or rich, or because they speak great things about him and are loyal to him. Many of them have been in the news for corruption, undisclosed ties with foreign governments including our adversaries, and are facing charges.
So what is in Trump’s heart?
During his trip to England and in a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump warned European leaders that they “better watch themselves” because a wave of immigration is “changing the culture” of their countries.
“I think it’s a very negative thing for Europe. I think it’s very negative,” Trump said. “And I know it’s politically not necessarily correct to say that, but I’ll say it and I’ll say it loud.”
Trump is fighting diversity. Trump is threatened by the fact that America is not as white as it used to be, and seems to live in the delusion that they, the white people, are the ones who own America when in fact, they too are descendants of immigrants and asylum seekers from Europe.
Perhaps FOX News — the cable news channel Trump doesn’t call “fake news” because they think the same way — articulated what racist people have been thinking and feeling through Laura Ingraham.
“In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore…Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people,” Laura Ingraham said. “Much of this is related to both illegal and in some cases legal immigration that, of course, progressives love.”
DO YOU SHARE THIS SENTIMENT, Kababayans? I hope you do not because the truth is, America is great because of its diversity. This means you and I — we people of color and we immigrants — make this country great through the richness of our heritage and the content of our character, and the values we hold dear. We make this country great through our vision, hard work, integrity. Never forget this TRUTH.
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos