…. Yet if we are truly the Americans we claim to be, we cannot forfeit our humanity as a nation of compassion and conscience by treating “illegals” with mean-spiritedness, and murder!
edwin a. umcad – 06/11/08
We are not the Black Mamba of the human species that would solve our illegal alien problem with the deadliest snakebite, in spite of our poisonous thinking, and the fact that we are fuming mad with uncontrollable rage.
We have to breathe calmly and refresh our emotion on fire, against those who come here – not just from Mexico but from all corners of the world — even if those “intruders” have to dare the wrath of God, the least of which is to brave the rough seas, face the end of the barrel of the gun if not end up six feet below the ground or in jail, or disregard all sorts of danger … not just flout our immigration laws and defy the anger of a nation.
From the highest tower of this great emotional hype over “illegals” from
Mexico and elsewhere, we should look at the extending panorama of our vision which includes “the other view”, and see how the other side of the coin looks like if you may.
Who knows we might be able to spare those who are caught in a state of such consuming contempt and rage – i.e. whose blood pressures are rising dangerously — from a sudden exit to afterlife. We need their brain in this immigration debate – not their cadaver which the worm if not those nocturnal winged scavengers in a beastly world have the right appetite to claim.
This outrage is understandable, especially when organized groups of immigrants that presidential candidate John McCain is showing his great sympathy, are waging a war against the government, which to me is rather a foolish way of expressing support of undocumented aliens who unfortunately are being badly treated. The Mexican organization called La Raza is notoriously known for its warlike declaration in street protests that any Mexican, documented immigrant or not, has the right to be here especially in states – i.e.
California — that the group claimed once belonged to
Mexico. This ignorance fuel the inflamed animosity of rightly angered Americans against the likes of this racist xenophobic group.
But to correct racism by being racist itself, is righting a wrong with another wrong. This is hardly seen by an angry mind that had fallen into this kind of rot. If all of us developed this attitude, we are no better than the worst of La Raza we outrageously condemned.
Anti-immigrant extremists among us whose xenophobic brains had shrunk in size to that of a Lilliputian bigot, think worse than La Raza — that only they have the right to live in this country which they proudly if not rudely claimed to be exclusively their own. No such right exists.
America does not just belong to the people of the world … it is the world itself.
To understand this seriously, we must examine carefully the history of the people of this greatest nation on the planet, especially to find out if this land belongs to any particular people or race.
The very first human beings, who came here to occupy and inhabit this land when the global geographical landmass was not yet separated by oceans, came from all parts of the world some thousands if not millions of years ago. They have all sorts of names, but “Americans” or “
America” was not one of them.
It is a great insult to historians worth their salt for any European who allegedly first came here, to claim that this land belongs to them and their descendants. It is even more nauseous and sickening for any racial group like La Raza to declare that this land belonged to
Mexico. It is not only gravely offensive, but the ignorance is even extremely suffocating.
Very much later, the pilgrims and more people from different parts of the world came as we know, and down the years until now, had created a nation what is now called “
America”. Yet even those earliest and nascent nation-builders never claimed that this land belonged exclusively to them.
For, they called this landscape the “land of the free”, not “the
Americans”. The evidence that they hold eternal showing that this land belongs to the world, is all written in the meaning of the Statue of Liberty. It invites the people of the world to come here, for it belongs to them – meaning, it belongs to those who want to breathe the air of freedom, to those who would like liberty, democracy, love and loyalty to country, the permanent abode of their conscience, meant to withstand the test of time if not forever, from the cradle to the grave.
But for anyone from any part of the world who comes to this land, the rule is written. It is not to exclude but to include them in a melting pot. This new home for immigrants is not meant for criminals, would-be criminals and wreckers of society and that rule is called the nation’s immigration law.
It is so imperative that we must have this legal control if we have to control our path towards our written destiny. We believed that violating this rule kills us both figuratively and literally, hence we let loose this unconcealed outrage for the world to see but not to emulate for fear of being accused as a racist country, or to say the least, of being viewed as “unchristian”.
This capped the rationale why Americans are sick to the pit of their stomach and literally knocks them out emotionally if not physically and mentally when they confront the problem of illegal aliens “invading” this country or surreptitiously entering the country through the backdoor.
Not that the intruding illegal aliens are literally killing them – in fact it is the other way around – but it is their outrage over the unstoppable invasion of foreigners that make the government looks stupendously inutile.
But here is the proof of the pudding: Just as our ancient forebears braved the high seas and the surviving 101 men and 4 boys first landed and settled down in Jamestown way back in May, 1607,  those foreigners crossing our borders everyday also came for a million reasons – with their chest burning with hope to live a better life — the least of which was to find a pot of gold, the route to the South Seas and the lost Colony of Roanoke, the pre-ordained objectives of the pilgrims in search of the new world.
The only difference between the newcomers of yesterday and today is that before there was no immigration law in this country that would declare them illegal aliens if they come without legal documentation. But both are not originally of this country as earlier discussed. Today’s border “intruders” are foreigners who came just the same for the “American Dream”, to work and to live in this country, and to make this land their newfound home. If in coming here they have to dig a hole in the ground or jump the fence, or catch a bullet, they still have to come or will still come, for a thousand reasons.
Ironically therefore, if we are to imagine that we have to treat our migrating forebears harshly who came here without any immigration documentation after a long, death-defying journey that only allowed a few survivors to land, just as today’s hunted “illegals” are treated like criminals and like criminals shoot them dead if they resist arrest, this strikes us with a poignant realization that this attitude goes against the grain of our American heritage, and since this attitudinal meanness is not written in the pages of our history, it is not the American solution to the problem we seek that eludes us in years, a solution we have been struggling to find like that proverbial needle in a haystack.
Because of this, I am tempted to share my latest discovery to further harness a stronger humanitarian understanding of this difficult nationwide emotional problem. My recent trip to the
Far East confirmed the position I take in this immigration debate that attempts to stop illegal immigration via approaches that are mean-spirited, and in some cases with attitudinal murder in mind, will never solve the problem, and instead will only exacerbate the seriousness of the problem that could even plunge countries to war.
This is an empirical study in the case of the
Malaysia – how these
Asia’s many-storied island nations which in the map are sharing narrow sea lanes as their common borders were caught in the vortex of their head-spinning dilemma in confronting their very contentious immigration problems.
Trip To The
Far East – The Lesson To Learn
Manila I flew to
Malaysia, then to the
Labuan via Kota Kinabalu. Tourists like myself, visited
Labuan where most undocumented residents from the southern
Indonesia are communalized in a river neighborhood where houses stood straight above the water. A placid lake that swelled with the evening tide separated the village from the main road.
It was quite a picturesque scenery commonly seen in the multicolored pages of tourist magazines, only this time it was real. It was beautiful yet so strange, as if I saw it once in a dream, a replica of yet another world by the lagoon where I could choose to see the dying afternoon sun either on the rooftops or above the heads of the village people or right in the face of the lake through its reflection in that pool of liquid glass.
I planned to write about it, and I did my background homework. As our land rover navigated us along the road opposite the watery tenements, the story of those who lived in those stilt dwellings unfolded in my mind. Those were very simple people who in a sense lived a complicated life, a life of conflict, of opportunity and hope, of joy and pathos as they earned their livelihood at the mercy of immigration authorities. Most of them were waiting for their documents to legalize their stay in
Malaysia. Until then, they were illegal immigrants.
Manila, their story is replicated, this time, the other way around. The
Manila government complains of Malaysian and Indonesian Muslims illegally entering the southern part of the
Philippines through a stretch of connecting islands in Zamboanga. Those illegal aliens are said to be coming in clandestinely to join the Muslim separatist movement in
Mindanao. The joint Philippine –
U.S. task force has been experiencing great difficulties in suppressing this perennial alien-assisted Filipino Muslim revolt.
On the other hand,
Kuala Lumpur cried its heart out in protest against Filipino and Indonesian nationals entering
Malaysia illegally thereby inundating the country of cheap labor. In
Labuan, those were the river people. The adverse economic effect on the natives displaced by foreign migrant workers was severe. Since
Mahathir’s time, leadership in the Parliament has been changing gears very often because of national clamor against the inability of the Malaysian government to stop the growing number of undocumented aliens that invaded the country daily almost at will.
National security and the economic problem that the illegal entry of undocumented immigrants from Indonesia to Malaysia and the Philippines and from Malaysia and Indonesia to the Philippines and vice versa, bedeviled those ASEAN countries [Association of Southeast Asian Nations], which lead them to cross swords more often than not.
At one time, Malaysian authorities like our Republican Congress, have had enough of those border violations and cracked down on illegal aliens. Congress proposed to criminalize undocumented immigrants, arrests them and haul them to jail. In
Malaysia, arrested undocumented aliens crowded hurriedly constructed border camps. They were to be deported … some imprisoned, others canned. Reported dead were 14 Filipinos and more than 50 Indonesian, mostly “children suffering from dehydration and disease.”
It was also reported that “the scale and severity of the crackdown [was] unprecedented… scores of illegal immigrants have been arrested; some have been sentenced to canning and lengthy prison terms." The punishment by Asian standard, considering the region’s socio-cultural sensitivity to racial rivalry, was gravely contentious, painful and deadly.
Indonesia, the world’s 5th largest country by size of population, warned
Malaysia to stop “playing with fire” by mistreating its undocumented workers, hinting that
Malaysia is a “small country” that should not bully a giant like
Kuala Lumpur, this harsh measure and inhuman treatment of immigrants entering the backdoor “ignited a political and diplomatic firestorm”. Angry opportunist politicians angling for constituent votes talked those war-like talks and debated on the threat of war, before those hotheads were calmed down by their respective heads of states, thereby averting a precipitous confrontation between ASEAN member countries. Had it come to pass, it would have been the end of ASEAN, and who knows, could have even resulted in something else more catastrophic, as its deleterious effects reach our shores, politically and economically.
In comparison, this is where we are now – talking a war-like talk, and debating and suggesting a threat to war. Unless hotheads cool off, we could be facing a problem more serious than what we are attempting to prevent.
The inhuman approach in solving illegal immigration problems proves to be dangerous anywhere in the world. Their cordial bilateral and multilateral relationship eroded by recurring border-crossing violations, the complicated multilateral differences of the three countries cited, were elevated to the regional umbrella of ASEAN authorities. Resolution of the conflict falls on the lap of the ASEAN Directors-General of Immigration forged under the 1999
Yangon 3rd Meeting of ASEAN Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
ASEAN Vision 2020 addresses similar problems. Considering that the root cause of illegal immigration is economic, the Hanoi Plan of Action has been adopted to address the member countries’ macro-economic stability, and at the same time enhance economic recovery, promote growth and reform the international financial architecture of the sub-regional configuration in order to undercut the flow of illegal migrants between ASEAN countries due to economic reason.
Here in the
U.S., we have NAFTA, which like ASEAN, could be a good diplomatic forum for solving our border immigration problems with
Canada arbitrating for political and economic solutions. But anti-immigrant militants in Congress are too angry and too busy scapegoating
Bush that they have no time anymore to even think about it.
The Democrats are also too preoccupied in attacking Bush of his alleged lack of personal leadership and his reported incompetence in handling this particular immigration problem. The Liberals are using Bush’s publicly announced presidential failure as a cannon fodder in assaulting the Republican administration, especially at this time of the year when the 2008 presidential election is just around the corner.
Worse, NAFTA is being attacked by anti-immigrant radicals while ASEAN is revered as the hope of the region. Where their similarities begin, their capacity to settle immigration disputes, ends.
The Republicans lost the 2006 mid-term election when they attempted to declare all illegal aliens in the country “criminal”. There are some 35-40 millions of them, if
McCain’s figure is correct. The Latino backlash sent them reeling down the dustbin of defeat.
Our way in solving this problem is precarious and too vindictive. When immigrant haters are booed in public, the more they become vicious in their opposition to any humane treatment of illegal aliens in the country. With attitudinal murder in mind, they show their ugly mood in many threatening manners, scaring the wit out of the confused public. The flaunted anti-immigrant argument is that, they come here illegally to take our jobs, devour our welfare system, so let’s hunt them down like criminals and shoot them dead if they resist arrest.
Ileto is an Asian-American immigrant. His murder and other similar slaying illustrate the danger of xenophobic minds out of control. The hardworking Ileto who was supporting his young family after accepting a job in the post office, was killed in
California because he took away “American jobs”.
“In 1982, a young Chinese-American named
Chin was bludgeoned to death outside a
McDonald’s restaurant in
Detroit. His killers,
Nitz, were white auto workers who cursed him for putting them out of work.” 
These ignorant immigrant slayers believed that by killing immigrants they are doing a service to the country. Their sense of history is terribly distorted and extremely dangerous, and they became a menace to society.
They also believed that white immigrants, more particularly descendants of the Mayflower and the first settlers at
Jamestown, only have the right to live in this country, to the exclusion of other immigrants who came here to take their jobs away and make their lives miserable. This is what the obsessive Ileto-Chin assassins swore in their mother’s grave. Those culprits intentionally committed their crimes in full view of the crowd for the purpose of blackmailing and traumatizing the American public.
Mean-spirited American patriots – that’s what they claim they are … “patriots” in the company of skinheads and supremacists – are on the loose as this political debate on immigration reform approaches the 2008 November presidential election. They support their argument with murder. It brings to mind the case of lettuce picker
Tobera. Anti-immigrant rioters beat up Filipino farm workers in
California, burned farms and killed Tobera with a bullet in his heart. Xenophobic killers thought mayhem, let alone murder, would stop people of other countries from coming here.
They could not figure out why to stop them that way is impossible! Millions come here for millions of reasons. No one can stop the rolling waves of immigration with a shotgun. They come here even for the food we eat that no one can find elsewhere; they are helplessly attracted to how we live, the way we talk and walk. They even covet the air we breathe, etcetera, and for good reasons.
It may surprise many of us, but the strongest reason is neither political nor economic. It is simply about God’s testimonial creation of how important human beings are to the universe. His reason for creating them defies description; it is obviously outside of any political consideration and beyond monetary or economic estimation. He just created a home for those who want to be free … free to pursue their happiness, and as human beings, to live in freedom and dignity.
The uniqueness that differentiates this country from the rest of the world is a story that has no end, only a beginning.
For example, in food hotdogs are truly American, and hamburgers for a quickie meal are synonymous to fast life that Americans young and old enjoy to live with everyday. We fight for and live our diversity yet unite at the bugle’s call to arms to defend the fatherland against any foreign invaders, against those who threatened our national security, against those who want to undermine our constitutional democracy and destroy our institutions and way of life.
The shortest and the tallest of Americans – from
Africa and the rest of the world — all walk ten feet tall, and here in this land of the free, we breathe the air of freedom. Multiply those by millions who love what the Statue of Liberty stands for, and millions more who are proud to become citizens of this richest and mightiest nation on the planet, and it is beyond our human capacity to count those millions of reasons why they kept on coming, and why millions of them are now here.
We can try to solve our illegal immigration problems [yes, why not] any way we want, any way we can. Although we have not arrived there yet, we are improving each year, and year after year in confronting this predicament. I do not need to list down a litany of improvements that impacted our lives which instead of grumbling bitterly, we should be honestly thankful, but we are not.
We have a lot of appointed and elected government officials that are known to be terribly disappointing. But we cannot deny that we also have a good score of them who are more than worth our tax money. We should not condemn this country as if it is worse than Hell, because in conscience and in all honesty, we know for a fact that this is not true. This contemptuous outburst bites us all like poisonous snakes do because each of us forms the body politick of this democratic society that when bitten, the poison travels down to the last man and drains us all.
A snake in our midst is said to be warm-blooded as the rattle snake is in summer. Saber-rattling in the serpent world at this time of the year, is to me quite disturbing.
Just because there are weaklings in the Olympus of power who like jelly fish have no backbone even to try to make an isolated wrong right for reasons political or otherwise, does not give us the right to libel public officials indiscriminately or does not bestow upon us the privilege to indulge in filthy name-calling as if we are faultless and innocent as the immaculate lamb portrayed in the Holy Bible.
It does not gives us an imagined moral authority to call others to arms to start this so-called Second Revolution or Third Revolution, to overthrow the government by violent and bloody means, and destroy our democratic society in the wink of an eye simply because with uncontrollable rage we have lost our mind. That is not the way of our blue-blooded patriots. That is the way of the angry revolutionary Left.
The many ways that we are at liberty to choose from in solving our immigration problems, are countless, and the possibilities of solving them, are limitless, so long as we do not treat undocumented immigrants, their families and children regardless of what nationality they are, who are already here, in a cruel and vengeful way that in comparison, would put the worst of Hitler, Mussolini and Saddam Hussein to shame.
We betray our humanity as a great nation if we are mean-spirited in our approach of finding a solution to this immigration problem.
Furthermore, we cannot and should not bring down the entire house out of a falsely justified personal rage. For instance, any politician who wanted to lead this country when elected president, by justifying 9/11 us our fault instead of that of Al Qaeda terrorists that killed thousands of Americans, is a clown who is definitely out of his mind. This is the kind of terror worth more than just laughing at, that we must confront more seriously than just how we handle deadly serpents in our midst to avoid a lethal snakebite because with the attendant treachery,
America could implode or self-destruct from within.
Life is very much larger and more precious than what’s going in our borders. Because obviously we are all angry, we should take a deep breath and calm our nerves down before we come to terms with what is transpiring in the serpent world at this time of the year. We have Ileto’s slaying, Chin’s brutal killing and Tobera’s murder which in comparison were a thousand times worse than snakebites.
We do not, cannot, and should not solve this immigration dilemma with murder. Only a Black Mamba out of the snake pit whose terrifying hissing sounds when about to strike are all over the Internet would do that.
Edwin A. Sumcad. Access NWS
June 14, 2008.
The writer is an award-winning journalist. Go to NWS homepage, click on the columnist button to know more about the author or you may e-mail your comment at email@example.com