Home              Forum              Forex Rates              Archived Editorials              Contact Us


 Manila Times
 Asian Journal
 Filipino Express
 Malaya Online
 Daily Tribune
 CNN Philippines
 Philippine News
 Kababayan LA
 Sun Star
 Negros Chronicle
 Bohol Chronicle

 President's Office
 Vice President's Ofc.
 Phil. Senate
 Phil. Hse of Rep.
 Supreme Court
 Peso Exch Rate
 Buy & Sell Online
 Filipino Channel
 Phil History
 Phil Business
 Phil Basketball
 Make it Cebu
 BuWorld Online


Immigrants Are Human Beings Who Just Want a Better Life

mmigration laws are relatively new. These man-made laws were instituted long after countries and national boundaries were already in existence. When there were no immigration laws people moved freely from one place to another. Famines, wars, natural disasters, plagues, poverty, personal problems, economic reasons, political oppression, etc. are the usual reasons for migration.

Today, even with immigration laws, people still move and leave their home countries for the same reasons. They bravely risk their lives and safety, are often exploited, tolerate extreme weather conditions, face strange cultures, discrimination and local hostilities. They cope with loneliness and alienation. They go through all kinds of difficulties, sustained only by the hope that somehow they might find a better life.

Nowhere in the world is there a nation like the United States whose population consists mostly of immigrants or children of immigrants. It can even be argued that the entire population of the United States is totally composed of immigrants or children of immigrants that came here since the forebears of American Indians migrated from Asia.

Immigrants and their children from the four corners of the globe created this country. Ideas from their native lands, technical knowledge, trade secrets, new arts and philosophies, varieties of cultural ingenuity, music, and all kinds of food are now integrated into American society and culture. All these together with their skills, talents and work ethic resulted in the creation and emergence of a uniquely great and powerful nation of immigrants.

The United States is a great nation not only because of its awesome political and economic power, but also for her continuous aspirations to live up to the highest ideals of the human race: individual freedoms; the right to happiness, free speech, free thought; equal protection for all in the application of the laws; religious freedom; due process; racial equality, etc. Even if these aspirations are not yet complete realities, they are national, global and spiritual goals worth pursuing.

The United States is a country where good and evil are constantly in conflict, but where good often prevails in the long run. There are so many genuinely good human beings here and also horribly evil ones. Even the government policies of this country throughout its history reflect this constant, unending conflict between good and evil. Like a pendulum, the country’s policies continuously swing back and forth from the evil side to the good side and back again.

The demonic genocide of American Indians, slavery, the extermination of entire barrios in the Philippines, segregation laws against blacks and Asians, the internment of Japanese Americans in WWII, the dropping of atomic bombs against the Japanese civilian population, racially discriminatory immigration laws, the mass murder and napalm bombing of innocent Vietnamese villagers, the use of torture against military and political prisoners, etc. — these were the results of the pendulum swinging to the dark side.

But the swings of the pendulum to the good side rectified these moral distortions: Slavery was eliminated; Indians were compensated with billions of dollars for damages and their lands; higher education and national health care were established in the Philippines; segregation laws were abolished; a national apology and monetary compensation were provided to Japanese American internees; U.S. aid to Japan led to economic resurgence after WW II; racial and national origins discrimination was removed from US immigration laws; a friendlier relationship was established with the Vietnamese government; torture was discarded as a state policy, etc.

Immoral state policies which cause so much suffering hurt all of us in one way or another. Conversely, policies which help human beings find better lives create a better, kinder world.

With the new US administration’s harsh immigration policies thousands in immigrant communities throughout America now live in fear. The new government policy includes the hiring of around 10,000 new personnel who will hunt down out of status individuals and families and seek their speedy removal. Raids by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) throughout the US are currently being conducted. (Click this LINK to read article:)

Immigration and human rights lawyers will continue to contest the constitutionality and propriety of new policies and procedures which cause so much human suffering.

Generally, there are three groups of immigrants who come here. Group one is composed of those who are more fortunate than the others and have an easier time migrating here. These are those who have US citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident relatives who can easily file immigrant visa petitions for them; those with enough money who come as investors; those with good educations in professions which are much needed. Highly qualified professionals can do self-petitions for immigrant visas or employers can file petitions for them.

The second group is composed of refugees — men, women and children who were displaced and became homeless because of war, natural calamities and other disastrous situations. They undergo about two years of careful screening and vetting before being able to enter the U.S.

The third group is composed of out of status immigrants — also referred to as undocumented immigrants — and all just hoping for a better life. These are the overstaying: visitors (tourists or businessmen); students; workers on temporary working visas; crewmen; those who crossed the Canadian or Mexican border. Those from Mexico have a much harder time coming to the United States, often paying “coyotes” (human smugglers) to bring them here. Canadians can easily come as visitors.

Sooner or later, those who are here illegally usually find some kind of immigration relief depending on the facts of their situation. To mention a few: Marriage to a US citizen; political or some other kind of asylum; presence in the United States for more than 10 years and having a US citizen child or parent who will suffer extreme hardship if the alien is removed (deported); immigration legislation for an individual filed by a Congressman or Senator; utilization of special laws for those who arrived in the US before the age of 16 or some other fitting law that provides for legalization; etc. An experienced, imaginative and creative expert immigration lawyer can often find ways to legalize those without legal immigration status, or find ways to prevent removal (deportation).

My priority advice to those without legal status: Be aware that the protection of the US Constitutional Due Process Rights clause applies to you. You cannot be removed from the United States without a hearing before an immigration judge. If you get arrested by ICE agents, make sure you assert this right. If you sign a form paper where you are waiving this right, you can immediately be summarily deported. Be aware of what you are signing.

Also try to seek ready access to a competent and honest immigration lawyer who is sensitive and sympathetic. Someone who is out there to really help you and does not worship Mamon. How can you tell? Ask his (or her) clients about their experiences with him. Immigration lawyers, especially these days, are very busy. Access to a good honest lawyer when you need him is very important.

A situation I particular find so personally galling and disturbing are some Filipinos and others in the first immigrant group who acquired their immigrant visas relatively easily and expect everybody else to come to the United States like them. They express so much antipathy for those who are here illegally. They support harsh immigration laws and policies and even wish out of status fellow Filipinos and undocumented others to be deported. They demonize undocumented immigrants falsely, accusing them of taking jobs from US citizens or receiving welfare funds (which is not true as the undocumented are not qualified for these funds). They show no compassion for their fellow human beings.

Filipinos who are in unlawful status often work hard at different jobs and are able to provide food, shelter, health care and education to their families back in the Philippines with their regular remittances. They also contribute so much to the Philippine economy. They deserve much respect, admiration and support.

I wish that the Philippine government were more committed to helping them. How?

Many embassy and consulate personnel are well meaning, but they cannot provide the needed competent expert legal advice on immigration matters. Being in the private sector and not wishing to dictate consular policies, but understanding the immigration problems of many Filipinos in good faith, I can only respectfully suggest to embassy and consular officials to consult with competent immigration lawyers so that they know the applicable laws and procedures involved.

With this knowledge, they can better help the many who need immigration assistance. These are dangerous critical anxiety filled times for so many undocumented Pinoys. They really need help. My law office is open to provide important highly technical immigration law information to appropriate embassy and consular officials, free of any charge. If this can help to spread important legal and procedural information that will benefit many undocumented Filipinos, I’ll feel good about it. It has to do with living a meaningful life.

We do not choose the circumstances of our birth or the situations that force us to risk going to another country for our safety and survival. We sometimes need to violate man-made laws like immigration laws — as long as we don’t hurt others — in order to follow higher God made laws which call for our survival or the survival of our loved ones.

I understand the need for immigration laws. But those which I fully support are humane reasonable immigration laws and policies which recognize the pressures that cause human beings to look for a better life outside their homelands and take into consideration humanitarian issues as we are all part of the human family. Out of status immigrants should not be treated like common criminals or like animals. Our compassion for other human beings differentiates us from beasts.

The heated immigration debate that currently divides the United States is a real conflict between those who genuinely care for their fellowmen no matter what race or nationality or religion they may have and those who only care about their own selves who are engaged in the politics of hate because of their blind selfishness and irrational fears. It’s a real conflict between good and evil, between love and hate, between heaven and hell.

So many great Americans were immigrants or children of immigrants. America’s greatness as a nation is a direct result of non-discriminatory and humane immigration laws which enabled so many brilliant and good people to come here who created a great nation and a better world.

So many Americans and other people around the globe realize this, and that is why millions of Americans and global citizens are demonstrating and protesting against the new administration’s extremely harsh new immigration policies. Published 32/11/2017

Atty. Ted Laguatan is a San Francisco Bay Area based human rights lawyer and the only Fil-Am among an elite group of only 29 lawyers who have been officially certified continuously for more than 27 years now by the California State Bar as Expert-Specialists in Immigration Law. Tel 650 634 8668 Email laguatanlaw@gmail.com

Philnews.com reserves the right to select and edit comments for publication.

You can also post your comments below

TNTs Fear Trump’s Enforcement Surge

The affectionate Filipino term for a deportable alien in the U.S. is “TNT”, short for “Tago ng Tago” or always hiding. It also stands for “Takot na Takot” or very afraid. These two translations of the acronyms accurately describe their ever fearful state since President Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents began rounding up TNTs from countries all over the world in the last two weeks ... Published 2/27/2017

The Slut-shaming Misogyny of the Duterte Administration

The idea of a Women’s March in Washington, DC first arose on November 9 when a Hawaiian grandmother posted on her Facebook page that she wanted to protest the election of Donald Trump on the day after his inaugural. Her simple suggestion quickly spread like a prairie fire on social media and concrete plans for a January 21 Women’s March on Washington were laid out with the goal of sending a message to Trump and to the world that “women’s rights are human rights” ... Published 2/9/2017

LeniLeaks and the Martin Andanar Obsession

Christmas is still more than 11 months away but I have already been inundated with emails, phone calls and Facebook messages from friends begging to be invited to my next Christmas party all thanks to the “LeniLeaks” charge of Pres. Duterte’s Communications Secretary Martin Andanar ... Published 1/20/2017

Why Does Duterte Remain So Popular with Filipinos?

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte continues to enjoy the trust and support of the vast majority of Filipinos. According to the Social Weather Station (SWS), the country’s leading polling entity, their fourth quarter survey, done on December 3-6, 2016, showed that 81% of adult Filipinos gave Duterte much trust ... Published 1/8/2017

Supporters of Duterte’s extrajudicial killings (EJK) Violate US Immigration Law

In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte continues to enjoy the trust and support of the vast majority of Filipinos. According to the Social Weather Station (SWS), the country’s leading polling entity, their fourth quarter survey, done on December 3-6, 2016, showed that 81% of adult Filipinos gave Duterte much trust ... Published 12/28/2016

Happy Holidays to PHILNEWS Readers the World Over

We’ve been around now for 20 years, so we would like to take the opportunity to say a heart-felt “Thank You” to all who, in one way or another, have been with us during our two decades of online existence. To those of you who’ve sent us your comments (or continue to send us your comments), our special “thanks” ... Published 12/23/2016

Expose Duterte’s Demonic Lies and Brutality to Protect All Filipinos

When we sincerely seek to do good, when we speak the truth, when we try to prevent evil, when we are kind to people, when we help them, when we seek justice, when we seek a kinder gentler world, there are those who will still hate and harm us, even those whom we are trying to help ... Published 12/17/2016

Okay, Maybe Donald Trump Has Got It Right This Time

The On December 4, President-elect Donald Trump sent out a couple of tweets that the “liberal media” immediately pounced on as “warmongering” by an obviously unqualified diplomatic novice who will soon be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue ... Published 12/11/2016

The Ironic Twist in the Trump-Duterte Lovefest

The day after Donald Trump won the US presidency in a stunning upset, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte declared the end of his personal war with the United States. “I don’t want to fight now that Trump’s there. I would like to congratulate President Trump. Mabuhay, Mr. Trump!" ... Published 12/05/2016

Revising History: A Libingan Burial Will Not Change the Truth

As Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and the Marcos family are now realizing, a burial a burial at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani cemetery will not make former dictator Ferdinand Marcos a hero in the eyes of the tens of millions of Filipinos who lived through his brutal Martial Law regime ... Published 11/25/2016

The Good News is that Duterte will not Declare Martial Law

With I am absolutely confident that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte will not declare martial law. This confidence is based on the bountiful evidence that the Filipino people seem entirely too willing to voluntarily surrender their fundamental constitutional rights so there would be no need to formally declare martial law ... Published 11/19/2016

Ferdinand Marcos in Libingan: Where Did We Go Wrong?

With his campaign pledge on the line, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte appears to be pulling out all the stops to make sure the remains of ex-president Ferdinand Marcos get interred in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (hero’s cemetery) as soon as possible ... Published 11/12/2016

Is President Rodrigo Duterte Painting Himself Into a Corner?

With Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte digging in his heels and acting even more petulant towards the West in general and the United States in particular, one wonders, where do things go from here? Published 11/5/2016

Philippine-American Relations: Why We See Other Nationalities the Way We Do?

For With Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte making it crystal clear where he stands when it comes to choosing allies. Duterte has chosen to cozy up to the Chinese and the Russians while stretching his country’s long-standing ties with the United States to the breaking point. Published 10/29/2016

Siding With China: A Wrong-headed Decision, or Duterte’s Stroke of Genius

For whatever reason, it is now obvious that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is not a “fan” of the United States of America. In recent statements, Duterte has pledged closer ties with the People’s Republic of China, and admitted to admiring Russian President Vladimir Putin. Published 10/24/2016

Read more articles from our archives

Chinese ships allowed to survey Benham - Duterte
MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 2 - 1:52 p.m.) President Rodrigo Duterte said he had agreed to allow Chinese surveillance ships into Filipino waters, catching Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who described their presence as "very concerning," totally by surprise.

Gov't still pursuing peace despite new NPA attacks -- Bello
MANILA, March 14 (PNA) -- Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Peace Panel Chief Negotiator Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Tuesday said efforts to achieve lasting peace continue despite the recent attacks of the New People's Army (NPA) in North Cotabato and Abra.

'Hit man' Matobato to file ICC case vs. Duterte for crimes against humanity
MANILA - (UPDATE 4:34 P.M) A confessed assassin who testified to being in a "death squad" under President Rodrigo Duterte will soon file a case at the International Criminal Court accusing him of crimes against humanity, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

DFA: Benham Rise part of Philippines' EEZ under 2012 UN ruling
MANILA, Mar. 14 (PNA) -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday reiterated that Benham Rise is part of the Philippines' continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

French Embassy congratulates Philippine government for ratification of Paris Agreement on Climate Change
MANILA, March 15 - The Embassy of France in the Philippines congratulates the Philippine government and the Philippine Senate for the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Kin of father, son killed by cops in Caloocan file murder raps vs 'lowly, trigger-happy thugs'
MANILA - The family of a father and son killed in an alleged buy-bust operation have filed double murder charges and administrative charges against eight policemen and a supposed informant on Tuesday before the Office of the Ombudsman.

IMF: global economy shows more positive momentum, warns of inward-looking policies
WASHINGTON, March 15 (PNA/Xinhua) -- International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday said the global economy is showing more positive momentum, but warned that inward-looking policies and sharp tightening in global financial conditions could threaten the growth momentum.

JobStart leads youth to gainful employment
MANILA, March 15 - In the world of work, they are considered as ‘at risk,’ or young Filipinos who have the least access to productive work, and who take around two to four years to find their first regular job.

China begins new work on South China Sea island
HONG KONG -- China has started fresh construction work in the disputed South China Sea, new satellite images show, a sign that Beijing is continuing to strengthen its military reach across the vital trade waterway.

Gina Lopez can still be reappointed -– Pacquiao
MANILA, March 14 (PNA) -- Senator Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday said he was sure that Environment Secretary Gina Lopez will be reappointed by President Rodrigo Duterte even after she will be bypassed by the Commission on Appointments (CA).

Previous Headline News for this month

© 1996 - 2017 PHILNEWS.COM Privacy Policy