Saturday, April 21, 2007
United States President George W. Bush is reportedly moving to eliminate of all family-based immigrant visas as part of measures to reform the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA).
This stand of the White House clashes directly with US House Resolution 1645, which provides for comprehensive US immigration reforms.
The measure aims, among others, to eliminate the backlog in family-based visa applications, especially for spouses and unmarried children of legal residents, or the green card holders, 21 years old and younger.
Jon Melegrito, executive director of the National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity (NAFVE), warns the White House move will have severe repercussions for the Filipino-American community and their families in the Philippines.
Stephen Legomsky of the Washington University School of Law told a hearing of the US House subcommittee on immigration, citizenship, refugees, border security and international law Thursday afternoon, "these separations virtually invite illegal immigration".
Melegrito accuses Bush of "playing politics" with the proposed immigration reform package by offering to scrap family-based visas. Many see it as old-fashioned DC horse-trading to prod hard-line Republicans to support the reforms.
Curiously, much of the Bush package such as a guest worker program and allowing undocumented workers to stay in the US after paying fines, have drawn wider support from Democrats than from his own party.
Republicans have taken the tack that prevention and intensified enforcement - like building a wall across the Mexican border - was the way to go. There's an estimated 250,000 undocumented Filipinos in the US and they would obviously be anxious about any fresh crackdown on illegal aliens.
Muzzaffar Chishti, Director of the Migration Policy Institute, testified, "With very few options for entering legally through employment-based visa categories, intending immigrants could try to enter through the family-based categories...but the wait list for many of these categories are prohibitively long."
"In the absence of legal channels, immigrants entering our labor market have come to rely on illegal channels," Chishti told the solons.
The pressure is only sure to mount as so-called Baby Boomers near retirement. This and a combination of normal attrition and economic expansion are expected to create 65 million new jobs by the end of the decade, a demand the local workforce can barely fill.
Filipino-American groups are joining a large immigration rally on May 1, dubbed the "Great American Boycott."
Organizers are asking protesters to stay off work and shopping malls and march on the streets of D.C. The divergent immigrant groups are driven by their own agenda and priorities.
For the Fil-Am community, protecting their right to bring spouses and children here is top on their list.
"Families should be together as soon as possible, and they should shorten the time between applying for the visa and getting it here," explained Rozita Lee, vice chairperson of the umbrella National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA).
On the other hand, migrant workers group Migrante International opposed the move saying it is the right of a person to travel and migrate to US and other parts of the world.
Migrante International regional coordinator Ritchie Nellas said that the move might have to do with the September 11 attack for the US to control and monitor the people who are migrating to the country.
"It might be part of their anti-terror war for them to control and know who are entering their country," he said.
Nellas said that eight to ten millin Filipinos have migrated to the different parts of the world and the biggest part of the number went to the US.
At present, he said that there are some 2.5 million Filipino migrants in the US, which makes them the third biggest foreign nationality in number there.
At present, about 60,000 new Filipino immigrants enter the United States annually, making Filipinos the largest immigrant group from the Asia-Pacific region.
Nellas said that many anti-government and anti-Bush groups from other countries have also entered the US.
He cited Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or Bayan, which has also formed a chapter in the US.
"Many groups are against the US policies. Bush wants to restrict the entry of foreign nationals to their country not only to prevent entry of terrorists groups but also other legitimate groups," he said. - Wenna A. Berondo with abs-cbn.com / NLQ
NEW YORK, NY, April 20, 2007 — FIND, Inc. is appalled at the nightmarish event that occurred on March 14, 2007 as a Filipina Catholic-school girl was heavily beaten on a New York City MTA bus and was further ignored by the bus driver who insensitively told her to "Go talk to a priest." 17-year old Marie Stefanie Martinez was attacked by 13 African American teenagers after stepping onto a B82 bus in Brooklyn. After being taunted, being called a "Chink" and being pushed around, Martinez finally decided to fight back and that is when things took a turn for the worse.
Martinez recalls, "They were pulling my hair, pulling my hair, opening my book bag!" she said. "I said, 'Leave me alone. I'm not doing anything to you… That's when they started to crowd around me. [One] boy punched me twice in my face and my mouth."
Fortunately, a man in his 30s currently on the bus intervened and took Martinez away from the group of rowdy teenagers, although afterwards she was thoroughly bruised and battered. After notifying the bus driver of what had happened to her she was shockingly told to "Go talk to a priest" without any other effort being done to ameliorate the situation.
After talking with the Martinez family, Martinez's lawyer Rosemarie Arnold stated that the family has decided to sue the MTA. "How did the bus driver let this happen?" Arnold said. "You have 13 kids making a commotion. This guy just turned a blind eye to it.
FIND Inc. National Chairman Steven Raga stated "This attack on Marie Martinez was a blatant act of anti-Asian racism, but not just by the assailants. As the MTA bus driver is responsible for the rights and welfare of those in the vehicle, it is shameful that his cavalier attitude towards this serious matter serves as representation for the New York City MTA. FIND Inc. fully supports Marie Martinez on her lawsuit and hopes for her full and quick recovery."
Please spread the word about this incident as anti-Asian hate crimes such as this are not to be tolerated. FIND, Inc. would like to encourage you to please review and take time to sign the petition linked below targeting the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) for accountability.
Thank you for your time in helping in this course of action. For more information on future FIND Inc, programs or events, please visit WWW.FINDINC.ORG.
Steven B. Raga
National Chairman; Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue
National Director, D3; Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue
(917) 392-4546 / (631) 821-4485
(ABS-CBN News) SURIGAO CITY - A 64-year-old Korean businessman married to a Filipina has joined local politics and is running for mayor of the seaside town of Basilisa in the newly created Dinagat Islands province.
Sangkil Ham Park, a naturalized Filipino, registered himself as "Chairman" in his certificate of candidacy (COC) and is running as an independent.
He is the Chairman-Founder of the Philippine-Chason Charity Foundation.
Park claimed he has been staying in Basilisa town for 10 years and six months prior to the May 14, 2007 elections, according to records obtained by THE STAR from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
Park was born in Seoul, South Korea on Jan. 10, 1943. He currently resides at Purok 8, Barangay Tag-abaca, Basilisa, Dinagat Islands.
He is married to one Susan Busmeon, a native of the islands.
In his certificate of candidacy, Park told the COMELEC that he will try to create jobs for the people of Basilisa by inviting foreign investors to set up industries and factories using the island's natural resources. He also wants to develop the town's agriculture sector in order to provide food security.
Park plans to construct a well-equipped municipal hospital.
He will also prioritize the improvement and development of the town's favorite tourist-destination areas like the beautiful Lake Balalu, and scenic Hagak-Hagakhak island.
He said he will also provide computers for Basilisa National High School and for each of the 27 barangays of Basilisa.
In his platform of government, Park said he will provide manpower training for the increasing number of out-of school youth left unattended by the government to prepare them for employment in the various industries he plans to invite in Basilisa town.
He also claimed that once elected, he will initiate the construction of a children's park and recreation center for the town's growing number of senior citizens.