Reference: Terry Valen, NAFCON President, firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) in the United States denounces in the strongest possible terms the recent inflammatory insult made by Republican Presidential Nominee Donald J. Trump at a rally in Portland, Maine last Thursday.
In his consistent fueling of anti-immigrant sentiment and Islamophobia during his entire presidential campaign, Trump labeled Muslim countries in the Middle East and the Philippines as “terrorist nations,” warning that any and all immigration from these countries poses a threat to the security of the U.S. He also slandered immigrants from our homelands as “animals” that the U.S. could not predict or control, so they must be kept out.
NAFCON considers Trump’s statements as a reprehensible attack to the Filipino migrant workers and the entire migrant community in the United States, from Muslim and non-Muslim countries alike. With more than four million Filipinos comprising the second largest Asian American group in the U.S., Filipinos have long been integral to the development of the U.S. since the first migrant workers from the Philippines set foot on the west coast aboard Spanish vessels as early as the 16th century. Along with other migrant communities and the colonial history of the U.S. and the Philippines, countless contributions have been made by Filipino workers and their families to the growth of the U.S. in various fields – agriculture and industry, health and wellness, performance arts and humanities, science and technology, public service and social movements, mass media, and even security and defense.
With all the contributions by the Filipino American community today including the descendants of the first Filipino immigrants, the United States recognizes and now even celebrates Filipino American History Month every October as mandated by U.S. legislature. To imply that immigration from the Philippines and countries alike may pose a threat to the economy and security of the nation is a slap in the face to the rich legacy and importance of Filipinos and all migrant communities in the U.S.
With the remnants of colonial legacies and the impact of globalization, over 6,000 Filipinos are systematically pushed out of the Philippines every single day. Dire poverty and the demand for cheap labor in the first world will continue to force people to migrate to the U.S. Hearing Trump’s pronouncements of myopic nationalism, founded on bigotry, NAFCON believes that he is uninformed about the systemic neoliberal policies that continue to take resources from countries like the Philippines. He only sees immigrants as competitors for jobs in the country when in fact, it is corporate America’s pre-programmed, state-sanctioned exploitation of the countries of Africa, Latin America, and Asia, including the Philippine Islands, that deprives its citizens of their own resources and capability to develop a self-sustaining economy. Our communities and people are drowning in deep poverty and are ultimately forced to seek jobs abroad in a desperate move to survive. Trump clumsily lumps immigrants and terrorism together as threats to his nation’s security, when in fact, it is the U.S.’ corporate greed for oil and other raw materials and their consistent wars of aggression that historically inflame terror attacks and human rights violations in the Middle East and the Third World in collaboration with fascist regimes in those regions. Trump, a known owner of an international conglomerate, together with other U.S. politicians posing as anti-terrorism advocates, is the epitome of imperialist hypocrisy – trying to prevent wars from reaching the U.S. shores by blaming the very ghosts that they themselves created in the homelands of so many other peoples. There is no greater threat to American humanity and the world than the possible rise of the 1%, caricatured in the likes of Trump, to the U.S. presidency.
Migrant communities must continue to challenge the immigration system that serves and follows the needs and dictates of the 1%. The inconsistent and piecemeal immigration reforms we’ve experienced have time and again treated Filipino migrant workers as mere tools who can be readily used, disposed, and deported after extracting maximum profits from their blood, sweat and tears. Even under the current administration that promised to push for comprehensive, pro-worker, and pro-family immigration policies, Filipino migrant workers still suffer from abuses such as inhumane working conditions, wage theft, trafficking, and threats of deportation, not to mention racial discrimination and indefinite separation from families, especially among the undocumented. Consistent with his track record of having deported over 2.5 million immigrants, more than any of his predecessors, Barack Obama’s final year as President has begun with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency launching indiscriminate raids and the detentions and orders of deportation of over 120 individuals, mostly from Hispanic communities on the east coast. This is contradictory to his own promise of a just pathway for legalization of undocumented immigrants who have sacrificed their lives and families to keep the economy of the country afloat for years. With Trump’s promotion of hate and fear against immigrants, and being one step closer to becoming the chief executive of the land, we fear that the vulnerability, exploitation, and oppression of Filipino and all migrants in the U.S. will reach a whole new level if he gets elected.
The history of the immigrant workers’ movement in the U.S. is a testament to the fact that immigrants can not depend on the promise of reforms by politicians who are backed by anti-immigrant corporations, let alone politicians who are corporate exploiters themselves. With the general elections nearing, it should be recalled that our protection and rights are never solely won through battles in congress or the legislature – it is imperative that we build our formidable strength as a united immigrant community to resist attacks that belittle and oppress us. NAFCON calls on the Filipino American community to link arms with fellow immigrants and people from across different communities and show the nation that the political power to achieve pro-people reforms are in the hands of nobody but the people. Only through collective action and unity amid diversity can we make America – a nation of native people, immigrants, genders, races, and creeds – truly great.
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