FILIPINOS in America are divided between two ends of the spectrum: those who believe Donald Trump is their “Messiah” who will help “reclaim” America (but from whom?) and all her glory; and those who abhor Trump and see him as a caricature, no more than a rich real estate mogul and reality star on TV who craves for attention. The way kababayans responded to Trump’s recent announcement about his plan to combat illegal immigration depended on how they view him.
Those who look at Trump as their next President and Commander-in-Chief hailed his plan, saying this is fair and just, especially for those who waited in line, came to America through legal means, and paid fees.
As the New York Times (NYT) reported, Trump’s plan is centered on three principles. The first principle states “a nation without borders is not a nation”. This calls for the United States to build a wall along the southern border, and he repeated his promise to make Mexico pay for the wall and laid out how he would do it: largely through increasing fees on border movement between the United States and Mexico.
The second principle of Mr. Trump’s proposal, according to the NYT, calls for strengthening the “enforcement arm” of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, to be paid for by “eliminating tax credit payments to illegal immigrants.”
The third principle says that “any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.”
The report further stated that the release of Trump’s plan followed his appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where he elaborated on his position to deport undocumented immigrants.
“We have to keep the families together, but they have to go,” Mr. Trump said.
When asked how he might accomplish this, especially given the cost, Mr. Trump responded with a question which resonated with many of his Fil-Am supporters as evidenced by their social media posts.
“Do you think there’s tremendous cost for the illegals that are in here right now?” Mr. Trump asked. “Do you think there’s tremendous crime being committed by illegals?”
The NYT said Trump promised to “expedite it so people can come back in” after the deportation.
“The good people can come back,” he said.
According to the NYT, Trump’s formal policy maintains what he has contended many times before that “Mexico’s leaders have been taking advantage of the United States by using illegal immigration to export the crime and poverty in their own country.”
Other parts of Trump’s plan, the NYT opined, are similar to the proposals of his rivals in the Republican race. He proposed enforcing the nationwide e-verify system, ending birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants and increasing the prevailing wage for the temporary H-1B visas.
Unlike many of our conservative/Republican-leaning Filipinos in America, those who are leaning Democrat contend that Trump’s plan is not humane, and discriminates against immigrants. They also echo Trump’s Republican opponents who are already criticizing his plans, by saying they just won’t work.
On the plan to build the wall in the southern border, CNN’s Tom Foreman stated in his report: “ If Mexico won’t play along, Trump proposes a torrent of fees on Mexican citizens, corporate CEO’s, and Diplomats who visit the US, possible tariffs and cuts to foreign aid, too. But Foreman also pointed out that Mexico is the United States’ third-largest trading partner, and that all of Trump’s plans” could cost the US as well, that was why his political opponents are not impressed”.
“This is not a negotiation of a real estate deal, OK? This is international diplomacy and it’s different,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said, according to CNN.
On Trump’s plan to deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants, the CNN report likewise explained that Trump was not clear on how to find them and how to fund deporting all of them, even if he would limit the deportation to those with criminal records.
On the issue of Trump’s policy that kids of two illegal immigrants should not automatically be US citizens even if they are born in the United States, Tom Foreman also stated in his report that there is the 14th Amendment in the US Constitution that was ratified in 1868, which stipulated that “All persons born… in the United States…are citizens of the United States”.
According to Foreman, legal scholars say Trump’s plan to end birthright citizenship would require changing the Constitution. This is not within the power of the Executive but the Legislature.
Pulitzer prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, perhaps the most popular and outspoken undocumented immigrant in America, shared his frustration about Trump’s plan in an interview with Yahoo News Live.
As The Filipino Channel’s daily newscast Balitang America reported, Vargas was among the beneficiary of President Barack Obama’s Expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, sparing him from deportation for two years, and according him work and travel permit. Trump said he would reverse this.
Vargas said if he would have the chance to talk to Trump, he would ask him, “‘How do you define American, sir?’”
Vargas added: “This is not a reality television show anymore. This is running for president.”
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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 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