Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Obama’s view on immigration

    President Barack Obama visited the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in San Francisco on Nov. 25 to talk about his Common Sense Immigration Bill slowlymaking its way through the United States Congress.
    Immigration is always topical in a countrywhere most of us are immigrants even in the visible absence of its First Peoples.
    Purposeful genocide has rendered the original inhabitants almost invisible, but we know through shared ancestry, they are still here. The President is a product of historic immigrant rights, a child of Kenyan and Irish ancestry.
    He also has Asian ancestry as he came of age in Indonesia and his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro Martodihardjo, raised him to be a man who is fair, just and upright. So though we cannot necessarily see this in his genetic structure, the President is Kenyan, Irish and culturally Indonesian.
    This bill looks to make it easier for Asian Pacific Islanders and South Asians or Indians to become American Citizens and to sponsor family members. People from these nations will be eligible for work visas.
    Nothing is mentioned about Latinos or Africans or any other ethnic groups who want to make this nation legally home. There are of course monetary benefits attached to the political bundle.
    The proposed Senate Bill would “reduce the deficit by $850 billion and grow the economy by $1.4 trillion over the next two decade, adding 5.4 percent to the GDP by 2033 and create new visa pathways for immigrant entrepreneurs and investors and make key improvements to the H-1B program.”
    What this means is that it will be easier for non-American citizens to realize their American dreams.
    It is hard enough for American entrepreneurs to get capital to develop businesses, yet this bill encourages and favors Asian Pacific Islanders and Indian investors to come, invest and develop business opportunities for others.
    This bill will also “increase the number of employment-based visas and eliminate restrictions on the number of immigrants from populous nations like India and China and in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program the number of available green cards for immigrant investors would increase from approximately 10,000 annually to approximately 14,000 annually.” This bill will allow US businesses to recruit employees from outside this nation who have skills supposedly underdeveloped or not accessiblehere.
    Instead of creating a skilled pool here, the bill will skirt such development by bringing in talent.
    The bill also does not take into account the many entrepreneurs from other nations like Nigeria, Ethiopia, Haiti, Mexico and elsewhere who have educated and skilled talent pools and also have developed many business ventures. Cuba has a highly skilled population, but can Cubans immigrate here? What about Venezuelans?
    Is this Immigration Bill a way to appease China, the nation which holds the majority of the US debt? Is it a good faith gesture or trade? Are we selling out to balance the books?
    Initially recruited as laborers on the railroad, this policy tore families apart, as the ties of morale to production were not considered when telling a man he could not bring his wife or children with him. Yet, Chinese Americans preserved, just as black Americans before who suffered generations of separation through enslavement preserved and succeeded.
    “Of course, just because something is smart, fair, good for the economy, and supported by business, labor, law enforcement and faith leaders — (laughter) — Democratic and Republican governors, including the Governor of this state — just because all that is in place doesn’t mean we’ll actually get it done, because this is Washington, after all, that we’re talking about and everything is looked through a political prism.
    “And, took, let’s be honest, some folks automatically think, well, if Obama’s for it, then I’ve got to be against it even if I was, before that, for it,” President Obama admits.
    “But I want to remind everybody, to his great credit, my Republican predecessor, President Bush, was for reform. He proposed reform like this almost a decade ago.
    “I was in the Senate. I joined 23 Senate Republicans back then supporting reform. It’s worth remembering that the Senate bill that just passed won more than a dozen Republican votes this past summer.
    And some of them even forget that I’m — sometimes people forget I’m not running for office again. Michelle doesn’t forget. (Laughter and applause.)
    “So you don’t have to worry about this somehow being good for me. This is good for the country. It’s the right thing to do for the American people.”
    In response to Ju Hong, a Korean-American graduate student (and former Laney College ASLC president) who interrupted the President’s speech, and other citizens who have been separated from family members who cannot legally join them, the President waxed on about the promise of America and the fact that there are policies and laws, which he has to abide by. However, he trusts the process and welcomes all those willing to work with him to see it actualized.
    “We’re also a nation of laws,” Obama said. “That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws.
    “And what I’m proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve. But it won’t be as easy as just shouting. It requires us lobbying and getting it done.”
    As the President spoke of the 300,000 Chinese who came through Angel Island and their descendents, one of them, national hero Betty Ann Ong, who alerted the Air Traffic Control that her plane had been hijacked on the fateful Sept. 11, 2001, I marveled at the success these immigrants have had.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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