Hi Friends! Today’s post here on LiP could easily turn into a big heated discussion about US politics. But, I am not here to talk about US politics, and I hope you are not either.
Why could today’s topic get heated?
Firstly, today is a heated political day in the USA. At the time that I wrote this (Early Thursday morning, US time), I don’t know what the results are of the several pending events in the USA, but let’s stay off of that anyway. What are the pending events? Well, the Supreme Court will be coming out with it’s decision on the US Health Care law, the vote is being held today regarding the Contempt of Congress Charge against US Attorney General, Eric Holder, and also the weekly unemployment numbers came out earlier today. All in all, it could be a really bad day for President Obama, or a good one, depending on how thing work out.
Second reason that today’s post may become heated is because it focuses on an issue that is a real hot button issue in the USA, Illegal Immigration… Undocumented Immigrants.. whatever you want to call it, depending on your political leanings. Yes, we will look at Immigration in the USA, but the real focus on the article will be more toward the difference in how the US treats those who have entered the country illegally, and how the Philippines treats those who are here illegally.
Do you know who Jose Vargas is?
Jose Vargas is a Filipino who came to the USA at a young age, when he was still a child. His mother took him to the USA to live with his grandparents, so that he could have a better life. Jose found out, when he was 16, that he was not in the USA legally. He was, and is an illegal alien. When Jose went to apply for a driver’s permit, the people at the DMV told him that his green card was a fake. After that, Jose lived his life as an illegal alien, although he told people that he was a citizen of the USA. He had a few confidants who knew the real story, and they kept it secret.
As a young adult, Jose worked as a journalist, and even won a Pulitzer Prize for his work. Since then, he has come out in the open and announced that he is in the USA illegally. Nobody has approached him about the fact that he has broken US law. Nobody has tried to deport him. Really, nothing has happened to him at all.
Take a look at this video of Jose and see what you think:
Since Jose went public, there have been a ton of people in the Philippines who have vocally supported him. I have heard people talk about how bad the USA is because of even the possibility of deporting Jose, even though no such action has been taken. I have heard that Jose has a right to stay in the USA, even if he entered illegally. Really?
Now, let’s think about life in the Philippines for a minute. For example, myself, I am an American Citizen, and have lived here in the Philippines for the past 12+ years. I have the proper visa to live her permanently, a 13(g) Permanent Resident Visa. I keep my Visa up to date by checking in every year, as the law requires. The fact is, I am 100% legal, and I make sure that I stay within the law, as far as my visa goes.
What do you think, though, would happen, if tomorrow I came out and announced that I have been living in the Philippines illegally? There is no doubt what would happen.. I would be arrested, I would be put on trial, and I would then either be sent to jail, or more likely I would be deported. I hear about foreigners getting deported from the Philippines every day, there is no hype that “they should be allowed to stay,” and such. No, and you know what? I have no problem with it, because the people who get deported broke the law.
But, why would Filipinos, including Philippine Government officials, believe that Jose Vargas has a “right” to stay in the USA? Frankly, he does not. He is in violation of the laws of the country that he entered. He should be deported, in my opinion, just as I would be deported if I spoke out and announced that I am here illegally (which I am not).
I always hear from Philippine Government sources that immigration laws here are mainly based on reciprocity. The treatment that Filipinos get from other countries is the basis of how citizens from that other country are treated when they come here to the Philippines. President Obama recently announced that many illegal aliens will now be allowed to stay in the USA, and there will seemingly be no reprisals for those who qualify. Will Americans now be treated the same in the Philippines?
Ain’t gonna happen, friends. Ain’t gonna happen.
Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.