Jose Vargas

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?

Two reasons.

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.

Jose Antonio Vargas
Jose Antonio Vargas

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.

What’s fair?

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1344 Posts)

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.

Live in the Philippines Consulting


  1. Loren Pogue says

    I can see where Jose should not be deported having lived here in the USA most of his life. On the flip side, whether or not he gets a work card and has to get in the back of the line to get citizenship, he is stopping some one, some where, from getting to go to the USA legally. My sister in law a Philippine Citizen, was on the list to get her visa for over 30 years. Every time she got to the top of the list the government would have some kind of amnesty program and she would be set back years. Last time she got with in a few years she died. There is no good answer to the problem but at some point something must be done.

    • says

      To me, Loren, the law is that he should be deported, and he should. If he is not treated the way the law describes, then it blocks other Filipinos who use the system properly. How many of us have had it take years for our wives to be approved. Why should somebody like Jose be allowed to jump in front of the line by using illegal methods?

      • Dave Herlihy says

        Bob, I’m a long time reader and first time responder. I like many of the articles on your LIP and read often. I find a great deal of beneficial in formation here. My wife is from Dipolog ZDN and I have spent a little time in there although nothing like living there for a considerable time.

        I’m not a lawyer, but my job requires that i understand a bit about the law. I have read articles here (perhaps from John M. and yourself) regarding the differnce in law between the PI and US so. My point here is to mention that, law is about facts, context, and intent. I respectfully find you’re not comparing apples to apples when you contrast your hypothetical situation with Jose’s real life dilemma. The difference being that you went of your own volition at a legal age and if you were to become illegal you would be knowingly violating the law. Jose, evolved from a minor to an adult and into a situation he did not cause. In other words, it was not his intent to become illegal. So, i guess his only alternative to being illegal would have been to self deport as a young adult back to PI where maybe he had no means of stability. Going purely on speculation, I’d guess that self preservation was at work.

        Keep up the good work here.

        Dave Herlihy, Florida

        • says

          Hi Dave, thanks for finally jumping in with a comment! Happy to hear from you.

          It is a toug issue, as I have said, with heartaches on every side. I can see your point, but I still feel the law should be enforced.

  2. Tom Ramberg says

    What is fair is plain and simple. Laws are written in the US by the legislative branch and are supposed to be upheld by the executive branch. Congress is the legislative branch and the office of the president is obligated to uphold the laws since it is part of the executive branch. The refusal to enforce laws on the books should be an impeachable offense. If you do not agree with a law work to change it but to openly violate the law is wrong. To march around in open contempt of a law is even more shameful.

  3. Neal in RI says

    The problem is the US doesn’t have the Balls to back up the laws they make.
    If these laws mean anything they should be enforced fairly and consistently across the board. What ever happen to “Whats good for the Goose is Good for the Gander”

    Deport him back to the Philippines.

  4. RandyL says

    He actually came out last year (June 2011 I think) in hopes the spotlight would shine so brightly on him that he would become part of a “protected” class of illegals. His timing and his successful calculation assured hime that the “support network” here in America would protect him and would work in his favor. It means now he can begin living a different kind of reality. It means going about his day without fear of being found out. He is here to stay and also confirms how “broken” America has become. Nobody in their right mind (politically speaking) would touch him now. It would be just insensitive and inhumane, and an outright career disaster to anyone who pursues any political correctness in this matter. All character and integrity aside, nobody has the balls to deport him. It’s sad to say that America is quickly becoming the land of imperious narcissism.

    • says

      Hi RandyL – I can’t argue with any of your points, you are right on every one of them. Without a doubt, Jose is a very intelligent guy, and because of his intelligence he has been able to play the system and play events to his advantage.

  5. roselyn says

    Hi Bob: The problem with illegals in the U.S. is that they can receive aid from welfare programs in my state. These programs can range from food stamps (in some states can also buy cigarettes and liquor), free housing & schools, and going to the emergency department of the hospitals for treatments, and even scholarships in colleges. In a financial broken state as my own, this is a very big problem. In the Philippines, there are no welfare programs nor free scholarships to avail to. With the Obamacare that passed this morning, another estimated 30 million people will be added to the free medicaid program (welfare). The working middle class will have to pay for this. Our paychecks are already less than last year’s. This is troubling for many of us who are trying to save for our retirement, especially in the Baby Boomer crowd. It has been reported that there is huge number of baby boomers who have no savings at all. I don’t partake in recreational alcoholic beverages, but I might start if cheap “tuba” is available to sedate myself. Dag-ang salamat sa imong sinulat.

    • says

      Hi Roselyn – Where do I sign up? 😆

      Actually, there are scholarships in the Philippines, but private ones for the most part. Also, some politicians sponsor scholarships too.

      Daghang salamat pud sa imong pagkomentaryo. Ayo ayo.

  6. Ricardo Sumilang says

    Why even fight it, or try to influence legislation (DREAM) that would allow certain illegals to become legals under certain conditions in the future? Set aside the U.S. immigration laws for a while, and there you have an exemplary American in Jose Vargas. But merely proclaiming yourself an American DOES NOT an American make you, especially when you have knowingly engaged in falsifying documents (a felony), with the help of public officials, no less, (his high school principal among others) to obtain official documents (his driver’s license from the State of Oregon). With his credentials, Jose Vargas has a bright future in the Philippines, if he were to return there. Why fight it? Trying to use the Jose Vargas example to influence a change in Philippine immigration laws, however, is a long shot. It ain’t gonna happen, as you say.

    • says

      Ah, you misinterpreted my article to an extent, Ricardo. I don’t believe that US policy should influence Philippine Immigration laws. I believe that what the Philippines is doing is what the US should do! But, for the Philippines to talk about reciprocity while supporting the actions of Vargas is hypocrisy.

    • RandyL says

      Ricardo, I’m sorry to disagree with you, but anyone who cheats and deceives in the interest of ones self does not fit into the “exemplary” category. IMO

      • Ricardo Sumilang says

        Randy, if you notice, I prefaced that statement with, “Set aside the U.S. immigration laws for a while …”

        • Paul Thompson says

          I believe Jose has followed your advice; he set aside U.S. Immigration Laws for quite awhile. Should all visitors to the Republic of the Philippines follow Jose’s shining example?

  7. David says

    Bob – Another good article! I agree. If the executive branch will not enforce the laws we have, then there should be some consequence. Maybe not impeachment, but definitely firing the Attorney General. He, and DOJ, are charged with upholding the laws. It’s time to get the bleeding hearts to look at their wallets; there lighter & lighter because of this particular problem. It takes a long time and a lot of money to get our spouses registered and citizenship. Who pays the bill for processing Jose’s paper? That’s right, the American taxpayer…….You & me. Argh, caught in the wallet again. At least we can rest easy knowing we have done things the right way.

  8. Erie says

    Bob, I agree with you! I’ve been researching a few countries for retirement. I haven’t seen any that allow free entry, unlimited medical, and educational benefits. Some countries like Panama require you show your income from retirement or have monies on deposit in the bank to assure you can pay expenses. I don’t buy into this “undocumented alien” concept somebody dreamed up – they’re illegal and they should be deported, no trial, no drama…..

    • says

      Hi Erie, you surexare right that there do not seem to be any other countries out there who open the doors to all and hand out goody sacks to all who enter! :-)

  9. Jerry O'Bryan says

    Only a slight disagreement, Bob. Since Mr. Vargas was not of an age to understand the significance of his acts, and indeed he was unaware that he entered the U.S. illegally, and since he has lived a productive and law-abiding life while in the U.S., I can’t see where it would make sense to deport him at this point. It would be economically impossible to deport everyone who is here illegally, so it makes sense to prioritize and deport those who cause trouble.

    • says

      Hi Jerry, I have to say that this is a tough call for me too. Vargas is a smart guy, and I believe he is a productive person too. He seems a relatively respectful person as well. In the end though, I say the law should be followed.

  10. Tom says

    Lets make FIlipinos in the US live under the same laws that US Citizens have to live by in their country restrict them from owning business, becoming citizens, owning land, voting, owning a firearm and participating in politics.

    If they do not like the change just say they are guests in the USA and it is not their country and if they do not like the laws they should return to the Philippines

    What fair for one should be fair for all


  11. Jaime says

    Although our President, President Obama, has come out on record saying he is in favor of amnesty for certain people, it is by no means a done deal. It would have to be approved by Congress. More people have been deported under the Obama administration than under any other administration in the past 50 years.

    Obama is in favor of granting amnestry to people who were brought to the U.S., before turning 16 years old, and who graduated high school in the U.S.A. I think Jose Vargas would fall into this category.

    Something that makes America so great are the rights given to minors (children) by our Constitution. Children born on U.S. soil are automatically citizens.

    • says

      Hi Jaime, actually, Jose Vargas does not qualify under Obama’s plan, because he is over 30 years old, and the Obama plan includes only those under 30.

    • Tom Ramberg says

      Actually there is a debate because it was supposed to be children born to citizens on American soil are automatic citizens.

  12. Jamie says

    That would exclude a lot of people who have lived practically their whole lives in the U.S., like Jose Vargas.

      • Ricardo Sumilang says

        That is precisely the point. Since he is not eligible under the Obama plan, why is he even wasting his time promoting the passage of the DREAM Act when he knows it would not be grandfathered to include him, unless he is deluded into thinking that, because of his achievements in America, perhaps a Jose Vargas bill could be introduced in Congress which would waive his non-inclusion in the Act. Jose Vargas is a young, talented Americanized Filipino who would command a high salary in Philippine broadcast or print media, if he goes home. I am not understanding at all his reluctance to just pack it in and go home, instead of waiting around until someone in the U.S. government decides to deport him to make an example of him. To be deported from the U.S., or from any country, for that matter, would inevitably produce a stigma of undesirability, rightly or wrongly, while going home on your own free will does not. He should just go home while he’s still ahead.

        • PapaDuck says

          Ricardo, Bob,
          The reason he just won’t go back to the philippines on his own is because he is too americanized, plain and simple. The illegal problem is so enormous, it’s impossible and very costly to control. I see illegals come in the back door of the jail everyday i work. Mostly for No DL. ICE will put i hold on them if they do not post bail first. If they do allow some undocumented aliens to stay, they should pay heavy fines/fees, learn english and have no criminal record whatsoever. Have a nice day.

          • says

            Hi PD, nice to hear from you. I agree with both you and Ricardo on this. He should self deport and he would be very successful here if he did. On the other hand, it is doubtful that he feels Filipino.

        • Katrina says

          Given that he is a major in Journalism, I am dead sure that GMA, ABS-CBN and TV 5 will compete to have him.

          He will be a superstar in the Philippines while in the US, he is demonized.

          And he could freely cross dress in the Philippines! (This is a joke)

  13. Tim Sharky says

    Yep it seems like a case of double standards in the Philippines like the people are special or something and should be exempt from laws that would apply to foreigners in other countries. Hypocritical deportation laws, buiness and land ownership etc are just some of the few double standards that exist. And what business is it of any Filipino politician to discuss the US legal system. I wonder how he feels about foreigners in Philippines regarding deportation?

      • roy says

        Hi Bob, double standards will come into play only if two items/situations are similarly circumstanced. So in the US, there is a Jose Vargas who entered the US in the manner which you described, he was educated by US public schools which eventually landed him his Pulitzer prize and job at the NYT. Meanwhile, a John Smith in the Philippines entered the Phil exactly in the manner which Jose Vargas went to the US. Same age, same MO. He was also went to Phil Public schools, and also got himself a job at the PDI and got himself a Pulitzer or a prestigious award in journalism in Asia. Now he goes around saying he’s an american illlegal in the Phil. If he IS deported by the Phil govt while Jose Vargas is Not being deported by US govt on account of Phil politicians demanding leniency to the US, only then can we say that there is a double standard here.

        • says

          There is a double standard, Roy, in my eyes. No doubt about it. If you choose to believe that it is not, that is your opinion, as what I see is my opinion. I have no problem with that. But, Vargas is there illegally, and should suffer the consequences of the law. Otherwise, why have a law at all?

          • roy says

            Bob, it is very obvious from your answer that you make no attempt to reason what is being argued about. You just end it with your catch-all phrase “it is my opinion & that is your opinion, no problem with that”. You argue that there is a double standard. How can there be a double standard when The standard you talk about is not applicable to both countries. The standard according to you is that it is correct to deport Jose Vargas (The Jose Vargas) because he violated the law. I ask you is there an american Jose Vargas (Exactly like Jose Vargas but American) in the Phil who also violated the law? Furthermore, is the US “standard” being challenged by the Phil govt by interceding in behalf of their Jose Vargas that the US applies leniency to him while at the same time the Phil Govt applies the same standard to the american Jose Vargas because the law is the law? if so, then the phil govt is guilty of double standards.

            In any online discussions about immigration, there’s an overwhelming majority of anti-“illegal”rants. What makes this discussion special is the reaction seems to hold that the Phil Govt is actually putting pressure to the US govt Not the deport Vargas. The fact that most of you who hold that position are there makes the whole thing “interesting.”

            I am an American citizen but I don’t feel “American.”. I don’t feel like I am supporting these “illegals” with my hard-earned money. They don’t owe me anything. I pay taxes because I enjoy many things the govt provides me. So what if these benefit the “illegals” too? I do not feel a cent poorer because of that. Besides I know that when they shop, they also pay the sales tax which in Chicago is one of then highest. Anyway, before I became American, I waited for 16 years. It could have been 4 years but then my father became a US citizen and that set us back 12 more years which was an irony that should not escape you. Even with this background, I don’t look at “illegals” as people that need to be deported because hello, that is the law. Americans especially during these hard times look at immigrants (& that includes this American citizen hahahha) with some sense of noblesse oblige on their part.

            • says

              Hi roy – So, if anybody is against illegal immigration, they are “ranting,” but if they are pro-illegal immigration, they are “reasoning?” Well, I’m sorry, my friend, but you are starting off from a biased position if that is your argument. You say I have no reason, you say I am “ranting” – sorry, it doesn’t wash with me.

              I do not know if the Philippine Government is applying pressure to be lenient with Vargas. I do know that they say those kind of things in the press here, I just don’t know if the mouth the words to US Government officials.

              • roy says

                Hi Bob, I describe online discussions on illegal migration as rants because they are just that-rants! They complain about illegal immigrants and tie it w/ anything i.e., Obama, illegals getting their jobs, etc without even bothering to support their claims. Just like you do. You talk of “double standards” when you cannot even apply the same set of facts in the US to the Philippines. There is no American Jose Vargas there in the Phil that is faced with the same situation Jose vargas is faced in the Phil. You don’t even know as you just admitted if the Phil Govt is applying pressure to the US so Vargas won’t be deported back to its home country. I do hope that you notice that I am being redundant here and that’s because that’s the essence of double standards which you guys pointed it out. The same sets of facts must be applied to the similar items/situations. Your failure to do those and instead dismiss my issue with you with “that’s your opinion, this is my opinion” “reason” makes your claim as just rants.
                For the record, I am not pro-illegal immigration. It is something I don’t want my friends to get into because being an illegal immigrant is hard. Just look at the online discussions here. If these are the opinions of Americans living in the Phil, what more could be the opinions of Americans living here?

              • says

                Hi Roy – This is an online discussion about immigration, so what you are saying is that I am ranting, since you say that online discussions about illegal migration are “just that – rants”. Well, I disagree. I have mentioned nothing negative about President Obama, have I? I have not really talked about illegals “getting our jobs” or anything else you describe. I only say that the law should be enforced, or changed. I see nothing “ranty” about that, my friend.

                I am just wondering.. if I am only ranting, why do you keep engaging me in conversation? I don’t personally feel that the conversation here has been very harsh, in fact mostly it is pretty restrained, IMHO.

            • roy says

              No you did not mention anything about Obama nor complained anything about illegals taking your job. I engage you in a conversation here because you said there’s a double standard and I asked you why is there a double standard. You did not address my issue why there is no double standard so I think you are ranting, complaining about nothing, complaining about double standards when there is no double standards to speak of.
              You know what, if you had addressed my first message squarely, I would have stopped. You seem have the trouble to focus on the issue and yet kept on jumping on other things that I pointed out by way of explaining.
              Admit it, Bob. You do not know what double standard means. You do not know its elements and the need to test it.
              If you think that the discussion here is not harsh, then that’s your opinion. Like I need to tell you that. But I do need to tell you that the reasoning “you need to be deported because the law has to enforced” very revealing. Good day Bob!

              • says

                Roy, I choose not to argue with you, so you win. I hope we can be done with it. I would never imply that you are too stupid to understand what a double standard is, as you did to me.

                Enough. Enjoy your life.

  14. John Leick says

    It is complicated Bob. There is a long very different history between our two countries. The RP was colonized by the Spanish, then the US and finally occupied by Japan. No wonder the Filipinos are so nationalistic; they want to control their borders, do not want foreign military bases, and do not want foreigners owning land. And being an island state, it is pretty easy to control aliens. The US was grown on immigration, and the inscription on the Statue of Liberty pretty much tells the story; it is who we are. Here in the US we all came from somewhere, and these roots run deep. Those coming across our Southern border want to live their dream too. There are so many jobs here that Americans simply will not do. I don’t know what the answer is, but we have a unique problem and it will take a unique solution. It is about time to put politics aside and solve this like reasonable compassionate people.

    • Tony says

      In reply to John Leick, the line about jobs no American is willing to do is simply reheated nonsense. I have always felt no job is “beneath” me if it keeps me off government aid and feeds my family. While millions have no problem living off the tax burden placed on their fellow citizens millions more will do any job to keep their self respect.

      • John Leick says

        Tony, I wish more were like you and I could not agree more. However, generally speaking, there are jobs many will not touch here. Just in my home state of Wisconsin, you should see who shovels the s**t at the dairy farms, and picks the crops.

        • Tom Ramberg says

          When I was younger I did jobs like that to improve my condition. The real reason that illegals do such jobs and ordinary povs do not is because of socialism. Americans are given the choice of work hard at any job for survival or come down to an office and sign up for a check. If the illegals could manage the same thing (some have) then you know which they would choose to do.

    • says

      Hi John – Jose Vargas is a journalist who has worked for major news organizations like the Washington Post and others. I am sure there are American Citizens who would love to do those kind of jobs! 😆

      I certainly agree about putting politics aside. Either enforce the laws that are on the books, or change them.

      • John Leick says

        I agree, we need those good journalist jobs! My son loves writing and it is almost impossible to find those jobs anymore.

  15. ScottF says

    Bob, this is one article that seems to have stirred up a bees nest of sorts. I do, however, agree with your viewpoints. For one simple reason, the law is the law. Depsite the fact that Jose came to America as a child and thought he was a legal resident, he is not, and the process in place should be carried out to the letter of the law. And this should be the same for ANYONE from ANY country. Having had to go through the trials, tribulations, and costs of bringing my Filipina wife to the United States, I find it troubling, to put it mildly, that someone has snuck into the U.S. I have gone through the red tape, and legally brought my wife to the U.S. to be here with me. We have done everything we are supposed to do. So, why should someone who has snuck into the country be allowed to stay? They didn’t incur any costs to come here, as I did. They didn’t ask permission from the government and prove my ability to support ourselves. They didn’t undergo any kind of criminal background investigation. They didn’t receive the vaccinations required to come through customs.

    I cna continue on and on about what was not done, but what is more important to me, is the things that are not being done to correct the problem. If you’re here illegally, they need to be removed from the country. There are procedures in place for them to come here. Apply and wait like everyone else that does so under the legal means that we have created.

    I am a law abiding citizen. My wie is a law abiding citizen. Jose Vargas, I assume, is an otherwise law abiding citizen. The difference is, I have a right to be in the U.S. by birth. My wife has a right to be in the U.S. by permanent resident. Jose Vargas has NO RIGHT, and should be deported. Or, Jose Vargas, should go through the proper channels and become a citizen legally by any other legal means within our laws. If not, he needs to go to the Philippines, where he is a citizen by birth right.

    • says

      Hi ScottF – Well.. not sure if I would agree that it has stirred the pot too much, things still seem to be fairly calm, as of now. But, it has the potential, that is for sure!

      I agree what you say.. the law is the law and it should be enforced. If we don’t want that to be the law, we can change it, but either change it or enforce it.

  16. Jamie says

    It is very complicated. Historically immigration in the U.S. has been biased according to race. About Jose Vargas, if the Dream Act passes, I would think that could open the door for him. The age thing is a technicality that an immigration judge might be able to be flexible on, for Jose and others.

  17. says

    Hi Bob – Whilst I agree that an illegal alien is just that, the Filipino makes a sport out of visiting the US and going T n’T or playing hide and seek with the immigration authorities. It’s always nice to read that someone who does this kind of thing can become a success despite the odds against them.
    I would not like to personally judge in this case but surely the Philippine government cannot intervene in this issue as the immigration laws of the US have been broken by one of their citizens and if the shoe was on the other foot I’m sure the US citizen would be deported or worse. In Mr Vargas’s case his defence is, he was brought to the US as a child and had no say in the matter and has remained law abiding during his entire stay to date.
    I just read this morning of a Filipino who at the age of 102 years has just become a citizen of the USA.

    • says

      They sure do make a game of it, Jim. A lot of Americans are tired of the illegals making such games, though, much as many Brits are against the Polish doing the same. There is no doubt in my mind that the US Citizen doing the same as Jose Vargas would be either deported or jailed in the Philippines. Fair is fair… right?

  18. Jamie says

    OMG! Tim, where did that come from? Breathe. You are in the Philippines. All is beautiful. Close your eyes. You are in paradise.

  19. Hudson says

    Hey Bob,
    I know my asawa and I are really angry about this. We have paid thousands of dollars to lawyers and to Homeland security in fees, spent hours doing all the necessary paperwork, three years later, we are still in the que for her permanent visa. This guy is getting a free ride. It makes me so mad I want to spit!

    • says

      Exactly my point, Hudson! Why should you and I and our wives have to spend money and do it legally when the others seem able to just walk in. It doesn’t make sense.

  20. pureblue0229 says

    Hi Bob. You touched on a hot bed topic here. It another case of the powers that are in office abusing the oath of their office. Obama and his administration only enforce the laws on the books that they want to enforce. Their job requires them to follow and enforce all the laws. If it was you or i or another one of us little guys we’d be fired or prosecuted. I’m not just picking on Obama, G. W. Bush also did not pursue the illegal immigrant problems of the U.S. It sends a bad message to the people about where the morals and integrity are. Mexico is against our policy’s but if you look at their immigration laws which are enforced they have no leg to stand on regarding complaining about ours. Enforce the laws already on the books Mr President and Mr Holder and stop playing politics. Its your job.

    • says

      Hi Pureblue0229 – Yep, I knew this topic would touch off some heated discussion, no doubt! 😆 You are right, the President is supposed to enforce all of the laws. I won’t comment directly, but we all know that is not what is happening now.

      • Paul Thompson says

        Term Limits;
        6 years for president
        6 years for the senate
        4 years for congress
        When a person has to talk out of both sides of their mouth to keep their job, plus spending most of their time in office trying to get reelected. Accepting vast amounts of money from people with their own agenda to pay for their election are some of the reasons the system is failing and dragging what was once a shining star in the world down to a tarnished star. History has proven that democracies have around a 200 year lifespan; I pray that the US of A will be the exception to that rule.

  21. Brian says

    One big point lost in all this is those that come illegally make other WE want here legally harder to come in. My wife has 4 brothers and a sister. An illegal comes here works of the books so taxes aren’t taken, gets many programs to help them and free healthcare. Now wouldnt it be better to have one of my brother in laws come and work on a visa, stay with us, has had a health check and background check come for say 6 months to help pick crops or work at a ski area. Then someone illegally here. I told my wife I want to live in PI I really hate the US now. They stripe search you at the airport just about but the borders are wide open. Lets see a bioweapon on a plane or walked acrossed Mexican border

  22. Val Menne says

    Nowadays, being homosexual, illegal alien and minority have all advantages to get all the bennies from US government. i.e. scholarship grants, free medical, food stamp, welfare money, sect. 8 housing subsidy, WIC, etc….etc…Boy, how I wished that I’m a Pinoy homosexual illegal alien in U.S.A. Unfortunately, I joined the NAVY in Subic and has to do 20 years service in order for me to pay my dues to become US Citizen.

  23. says

    Jose Vargas in a related video said he’s willing to abide on what will be the U.S. authorities decision on the matter. He came to America when he was a child and doesn’t know was illegally living there until he accidentally discovered it when he was applying for a driver’s license. I can imagine how he felt devastated when he learned of it. Perhaps he knew he couldn’t keep it secret forever, so he told his teacher, his principal and his other school’s officials about it. These school’s officials already knew, but for some reason they kept it just among themselves and didn’t report it to proper authority (perhaps for sympathy to the guy). Later Jose Vargas even confessed it to his superior in Washington Post, but then again was not reported to authorities. I’m not familiar with U.S. laws, but If there’s a law which specifically prohibits obstruction of justice, then perhaps these Americans violated some laws too. What do you think? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in defense of Jose Vargas, IMHO I think he violated a U.S. immigration law and rightly so should be meted the corresponding penalty. But hey the guy is waiting for what would be the consequence of his act and to accept it. There have been advices for him to marry a citizen making him a naturalized citizen or have someone to represent him in his case. But Jose Vargas said he came out in the open not entirely to protect his own ass, but more so to expose that this immigration issues do exist. He is resigned to what might be the U.S. government’s decision on this case. He said he loves America and willing to stand in the line again if need be and pay any penalty, while at the same time professed misses her mother should he be deported here in the Philippines. If I were in Jose Vargas shoes, I would heed Ricardo Sumilang’s advice above, but the guy maybe has his reasons for staying. Anyway the decision is in the hands of the U.S. administration and rightly so. As for the comparison of Philippine laws and U.S. laws, again John Leick above perhaps has eloquently cited some points for consideration.

      • Brent Johnson says

        Bob, I would disagree that there are no consequences for Vargas. By remaining in the US illegally, he is not able to legally work, so he will be marginalized his entire life here as he scrapes by on hand-outs from friends and charities. That is a very real “consequence.” He is choosing a life of poverty in the US over the potential to do something more in the PHL. It would probably cost me more as a tax payer to deport him (have you seen the cost of plane tickets to Manila, lately?) than let him stay here. As an “illegal” he is NOT eligible for social programs or this so-called free health care the anti’s so frequently spout-off about. I do agree that we did pay for his “free” education as an illegal, but the Supreme Court has ruled that this is required, so until the Court reverses that ruling, so be it.

          • Brent Johnson says

            Bob, now that he is”out” as an illegal, there aren’t any news organizations that will hire him since he does not have work authorization. The only work he can find now is agricultural and other jobs that traditionally only the Latino “illegals” fill under the table. You really think the New York Times would employ him now? I don’t think so. With that being said, I agree with many other posters it would be in his best interest to self-deport back to the PHL, he’d probably already have a gig lined-up upon his arrival. I wonder, does he speak Tagalog, or only English? He might be like so many of the Latinos brought here as children who don’t even speak their parents native language.

            • says

              I am sorry, Brent, but you are incorrect. Vargas continues to get regular freelance journalist jobs. As recently as this month, he wrote an article for Time Magazine. Also in 2012, he has worked as a filmmaker, producing four documentaries entitles “Is this Alabama”. Farm work.. I don’t think so.

              • Brent Johnson says

                Bob, if that’s the case, than it is clear to me that immigration authorities are targeting the wrong part of the problem. If employers don’t hire “illegals” than they will have to self-deport. Crap, I sound like the whack-job Romney. I suppose the employers skirt the issue by claiming workers such as Vargas are “independent contractors” and therefore they don’t need to check papers.

  24. Mike Coyne says

    Bob are you enjoying this? You lived here long enough to know what is really behind this mess. To me this is the sad state this country has gotten it self into. Doing what will insure that you are elected instead of inforcing our laws or simply doing what is right for the people that have elected you in the first place. I have gone from being proud to be American to discusted with the whole system and the puppets that run it. If it was not for our kids being intrenched in their lives I would be out of here already. Keep on stirring the pot it can be fun!

  25. roselyn says

    Hi Bob: I discussed your article with a colleague and an interesting avenue came up for situations like Vargas. In the University that I teach, we have an ROTC program and there are many young men and women who are training to join the arm forces who came in the U.S. illegally as children so that they can qualify for their citizenship. Many are of Mexican descent. I believe that Vargas can do the same if he is sincere about earning his citizenship in the U.S. Just my two cents.

      • roselyn says

        Hi Bob: The ROTC program that I mentioned, existed already before Obama took the amnesty situation this year to get the Hispanic votes. There is an avenue to get citizenship if you were taken to the U.S. as a child and came in as an illegal. This is nicknamed “backdoor amnesty”. The United States is a compassionate country, but our politicians have abused situations to benefit themselves. As a result, it will be very difficult to retire comfortably for those of us born after 1955. Philippines will definitely see a surge of Balikbayans and their spouses in the coming years.

          • roselyn says

            Hi Bob: The “backdoor amnesty program” is probably not that known, but to those directly affected by the illegal immigration issue. I got reminded of this program after discussing Vargas’ interview with Fox News and your article with a colleague. Thanks for your article, it invites all types of opinions.

  26. Bastos says

    I have gone to the trouble of bringing my wife legally from the Philippines to both Japan and the United States. That this conversation doesn’t simply end with jail followed by deportation at non-compliance with the immigration laws of the country a person enters is beyond me. To echo a sentiment voiced earlier in this thread, I have gone from being supportive of the US government to abslutely appalled at the lack of integrity and character demostrated by those running the country on immigration among other issues. I look forward to my eventual move to the Philippines LEGALLY and decry anyone else who simply won’t follow the rules. And no, there isn’t a reason for not following immigration rules.

  27. Katrina says

    But, why would Filipinos, including Philippine Government officials, believe that Jose Vargas has a “right” to stay in the USA? Frankly, he does not.

    I agree. As a Filipino immigrant to the US, I find it very unfair that we who are here legally have gone through painful paperworks and sometimes terrifying consuls and medical exams and all those fees, but we are NOT complaining or asking for freebies but rather working our asses off. But these illegals (in the case of Jose, if we were to believe his story, included FRAUD) scream for “freebies”.

    I am sure, as a US expat, if the same thing happens (foreign illegals suddenly asking for freebies from the Phil government) I am sure you will feel the same.

    One more things about these illegals is that rather than being FINED for staying illegally, they are getting freebies!

    If Obama wants to grant them amnesty, they should be FINED, just like how the Philippines fined the illegals staying here, mostly Chinese. No freebies at all.

    • says

      Hi Katrina – I think that what it comes down to is that the Government of the Philippines does a much better job of enforcing it’s laws than the US Government does!

  28. Bastos says

    My wife speaks Hiligaynon(along with some rockin Japanese, Spanish and Tagalog of course),but only a little Cebuano. We will be living in Bacolod. When we visit Canlaon and Dumaguete the Cebuano would be helpful. I will work on that when I get there.

    • says

      Hi Bastos – I can’t speak Ilonggo at all, although I recognize a few words. Some of my nieces and nephews speak Ilonggo as their primary language, but it is not widely spoken in Davao where I live. Good luck!

  29. Katrina says

    I also want to add that fraudsters like Jose’s family is what makes hard of Filipinos who are willing to go by the hoops to immigrate to the US. I often joke with my Filipino buddies that it’s better to take a vacation to Mexico then sneak by the border! Saves time and money. Hahahaha

    Sure, he will have his greencard/immigration but it will have more effect on law abiding Filipinos because screening Filipinos will be stricter.

    How selfish now are these illegals? They should play the game fair!

    • says

      That’s true, the more from the Philippines that commit immigration fraud, the harder it is for other Filipinos to legally go to the USA. So, what Jose Vargas and others like him are doing is causing trouble for his kababayans.

  30. Katrina says

    I think the US can follow the Singaporean model. They take in all kinds of workers to work and live there from menial to professionals but they take those who break their laws, immigration included, immediately. A quarter of Singapore’s population are foreigners, higher than the US

      • Katrina says

        I think the US politicians are too politically correct to clamp down on illegals whom majority are non-whites. There is the stigma of being accused as racist just because one enforces laws.

        Oh well, it’s votes after all? Notice how Obama has suddenly pushed this really really a few months short of election when he could have done it in 2009? 😀

        I am glad that the Philippines isn’t too politically correct on that. Whether Chinese, American, French, Dutch, Aussie, Korean, they deport misbehaving “guests”.

  31. Katrina says

    You know what Bob, one of my friends messaged Vargas regarding the Amerasian issue and provided links to more information and you know what his reaction is?

    “I am sorry I did not know”

    If he really is a journalist and compassionate, he would have taken interest and investigate about the issue (given that he is a journalist, it’s surprising that he does not seem interested)

    After that, the more I am convinced of his SELFISH reasons pushing the illegal issue.

    He cannot even sympathize with Children of US citizens (mostly military) who cannot even step on the land of their fathers (or mothers).

      • Katrina says

        That’s the ironic thing. It’s an unspoken issue, sadly. Not that I am trying to blame the US government for this but I find it ironic that someone who aggressively proclaims himself an American despite multiple felonies, does not care America’s “dirty secret” when presented to him. Especially to someone who has a journalism background. Not even curious?


  32. Ken says

    Bob, I’m a long time reader of LIP and rarely blog. This immigration “executive order” is purely a political play by the current administration. Vargas is taking advantage of the upcoming election and playing to the fear that grips our politicians. I’m afraid Paul is right, they are selling out the USA for votes, and could care less what about what makes our country great.

  33. Freddie Mercury says

    Want to talk about what’s right?
    How about the provisions for citizenship by descent in the USA?
    The fact is there are hundreds of thousands of illegitimate but nonetheless biological children of Americans, scattered right across Asia (including the Philippines) who have no right to natural justice under US law. Unless the father willingly puts his hand up and signs all the required documents (which he cannot be forced to do), the abandoned child will never attain US citizenship. Is that fair?
    Clearly NO.

    This virtually free flow across the southern US border has gone on for decades. So has the provision of state welfare to illegals. To then hold the children carried in their parents arms across the Rio Grande responsible for the actions of their parents cannot be seen as a morally correct choice. The line has to be drawn somewhere. If you take your argument to it’s logical conclusion Bob, you are advocating a full scale sweep of the USA for illegals, followed by mass deportation of the whole 10’s of millions of them. Anything less is more unfair than singling out someone like Vargas, for having a public profile, let alone waiting until someone gets busted for petty crime. This is what it boils down to. How would Americans react to a mass call up to prove they are legal? (Good luck with that!)

    The situation is a hell of a mess.

    On the other topic/ the very different situation in the Philippines.
    A friend of mine, shell shocked after Vietnam, disappeared into the Philippine woodwork. 16 years later something happened with regards to his processing US citizenship by descent for his 2 teenage daughters. Somehow my friend’s illegal status was fed back to the Philippines authorities, who promptly arrested him and put him in immigration detention. He was offered immediate repatriation to the USA. He refused. 6 months later he was released by a judge, with immigration having accepted several hundred thousand peso in back visa fees/ granted a 13a. A tough road, but not automatic deportation.

    • Christopher says

      “To hold the childern responsible for the action of their parents”? Just because their parents put them in that situation shouldnt give them the right to stay in the U.S. Is it punishment sending them home to the county of origin? Punishment would be charging them with a crime. By your logic, if a family buys a home and can’t make the payments and the bank forecloses their children should be allowed to live there so they won’t be punished for their parents actions (failing to pay the mortgage) . That will never happen.

    • Val says

      To Freddie, we don’t need border fence, nor gather or hunt down illegal alien for deportation. Just enforce the curent law. Deny them all the benefits i.e. free education, free healthcare, food stamp, job, deny anchor baby, disallow rental properties, buying properties, punish heavily harboring illegas, etc… etc…Punish severely US company hiring illegals. Now if any medical emergency arises, take care of them and bill their embassy or consulate.

    • Katrina says

      This is what I actually was complaining about. I know a few of this people and some have gotten in touch with their long lost fathers and help them processes citizenship, some even tried to have them visit the US via visitor visa but in most cases — denied citizenship or even visitor visa.

      The first step here is to to amend the birthright citizenship. Limit it to legal residents who give birth while their visas are legal, otherwise, no US citizenship. I believe that amending the birthright citizenship will help loosen the very stringent requirements for those born abroad to a US parent.

      Next step is to sort out the criminals. Deport the high risk. FINE the ones with low risk. My beef with the amnesty package here is that the qualified illegals are getting freebies and welfare for being illegal. Dang it, FINE them! They’ll even be a contributor to the treasury!

      Third. Implement e-verify. Require employers to verify their employees identities. Those who hire illegals shall be persecuted.

  34. Freddie Mercury says

    Ok then, call a “General Muster” of the Citizenry and boot out or shoot everyone who doesn’t show, or shows but is illegal. Boot the whole lot. I dare you to do what is fair and legal.

  35. jonathan says

    I don’t know if it’s true, but, there’s a perception that the reason why many Filipinos are denied their US visas is because of undocumented Filipino aliens in the US. So, they jumped ship not knowing the effects of it with their other kababayans.

  36. Gerry Gambone says

    Things are not always black and white, each case should be taken on its merit, I assume that there is a right to appeal. Then depending on the circumstances that should decide on the fate of the individual.

  37. Freddie Mercury says

    Yeah a few million Supreme Court challenges! There’s a good idea! We’ll just chuck it on the credit card. Oh, that’s already maxing out! Some people just can’t follow logic. i am amazed the USA lets any tourists in from any poor country, really. Down here in Oz, forget that. If you are not sponsored and you are Pinoy, Vietnamese, Mexican, Zimbabwean, etc, (ie. from any place where life is that much harder that becoming a first world illegal looks pretty good)/ you will no way known get a tourist visa.

    Fact is the USA stuffed it’s immigration policy badly over a very long time. Probably the US should have subsumed Mexico when they had the chance, during the Franco-American war. That border is a real problem, it’s just too long. Panama would be the ideal place for a more enforceable border.

    The fair thing has to be either what I have said, round them all up and deport them, no right of appeal, illegal is illegal right? Or: a general amnesty on short notice to prevent a flood, followed by a dead set hard border and immigration enforcement; part of which is no more tourist visas for poor people.

    The left/ green alliance who would like to see all first world countries open their borders and all economic migrants classed as refugees if necessary to fit the paperwork requirement…. let’s just say they are misguided. There is a flood building up, a flood of refugees and economic migrants masquerading as refugees, literally billions of people eagerly wanting to come to Australia, the USA, Europe etc, to have the better life. They don’t understand the fact is it’s just not possible to have billions living the American dream; hell most Americans already can’t live it, less every year. Allowing this flood of people in is the surest way to make sure our countries become 3rd world also. Are those advocating such a policy looking forward to a 12 hour day, 6 day week for the $5 to $10 a day which represents the world’s median wage? I don’t think so.

  38. says

    Amen Roy, amen.
    Even if president Obama legalases all illegal filipinos in USA , it will be a very ,very small price to pay for what is do to the filipinos for what they deed in the american -filipino war in 1899.They killed between 1 and 3 millon filipinos 90 percent civilians, one of them my ancester, big contributer to the building of Santo Tomas University , the population of filipinas at the time was about 7.8 millon.As the comander of the american forces once said , adresing his officials “As far I am concernd the more filipinos you kill the better”The jews population in 1939 was about 12 millon ,the germans killed 6 millon . “The ollocaust”All german governamets have ask to Israel for apologies , and economic compenation have been given to Israel . It is time that president Obama does the same.Amen.

  39. Jamie says

    If the U.S. isn’t giving economic reparations to the Native Americans (American Indians), after decimating their populations, they sure won’t give economic reparations to the Filipinos. I think giving Filipinos their independence after WWII is all that can be expected from the U.S. government. I’m not even going to get into how mexicans have been historically treated by the U.S.A., after the U.S. took Texas, California, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico from Mexico.

  40. Jeff R. says

    Good article. I just wrote my Senators a letter regarding this very issue when President Obama issued that illegal Executive Order to halt deportations for illegal aliens who fall into a particular category. You ended your article with the question, “What’s Fair?” I’ll say what is not fair. It is not fair to let people who broke U.S. laws get a free pass when so many immigrants followed the law, paid, the money, did the work and waited the time. You also mentioned the folks who talk about illegal aliens having a right to stay. I always get a laugh from that crazy idea. A visa does not give a person the right to stay in the U.S. It doesn’t even give a person the right to enter the U.S. It does nothing more than give people the privilege of appearing at a port of entry. A conditional resident does not have the right to stay in the U.S. The USCIS web page states that even a permanent resident’s right to live in the U.S. can be terminated by committing actions that would make them removable under immigration law. It is not possible to have a right to stay in the U.S under illegal status when no such right is extended to those who follow the law. I’m not familiar with immigration laws in the Philippines but I’m guessing this works very much the same there. All politics aside, fairness for those who follow the law is deportation for those who don’t follow the law. There simply is no right to stay. This is not my opinion. This is the law. Thank you for these good articles. Keep them coming.

    • says

      Thanks, Jeff. What you say is factual, but the practices of the US has really changed. It’s election time, after all. Problem is… it’s always election time.

  41. Jeff R. says

    I couldn’t agree more. You are right. The practices have changed. The politicians are ignoring the law for the purpose of getting votes to stay in office. This is wrong. All of those politicians swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution yet none of them seem to have any regard for it whatsoever. If they think our immigration laws are so bad than the correct thing to do is change them. However the law must be enforced until it is changed. Thank again.

    • says

      Hi Jeff – I feel like if something is the law, it should be enforced. There are laws that I don’t agree with, but if they are laws on the books they should be enforced. Like you say, if it has been determined that the law is unjust or outdated, it should be changed or eliminated. It’s that simple.

      Thanks for commenting!

  42. Freddie Mercury says

    So Bob, are you saying that Vargas should be arrested and deported? Because he is illegal, or because he dares to have a public profile and admit he is illegal? You do realize there are at least 20 million illegals currently in the USA and there could be many more than that? What makes Vargas more illegal (therefore more subject to arrest) than the Jones’s gardener and cleaning lady down in the Hamptons?

  43. Freddie Mercury says

    I will tell a little story about a Pinoy friend of mine, currently 3 years illegal with his family in the USA.

    This man initially went to the US to study in a bible college, Pastor degree.
    One of his 4 children developed a horrible bone disease called ‘Brittle bone syndrome’ where her legs had broken over a dozen times by her 7th birthday. She had over a hundred fractures in total, hips, arms, ribs, jaw, skull. Really bad situation for this kid and her family.

    Anyhow, whilst in the USA, the little girl was able to get some medical sponsorship, for some radical surgery involving putting steel rods in her legs to stabilize her and reinforce the bones. The rods are threaded and she has to have surgery every 6 to 8 months to adjust the rods, as she grows.

    Meanwhile, my friend’s visa ran out. He tried for a church sponsored employment greencard and was refused. He was averaging half a million dollars a year as a donation collector, living off a small percentage of this, granted by his church.

    He was faced with the choice: surrender and take his family (including now 2 more children born as legal US citizens/ healthy) back to the Philippines, and watch his now 10 year old daughter with the illness die, or to stay as an illegal in the USA where she can access the treatment she needs to survive.

    So, what do you guys coming over all legalistic think of that one? Should this family be rounded up as well? Fair is fair isn’t it?

    It is notable that none on that side are prepared to say a thing about the Amerasian issue. This is a big hole in the moral argument. Currently there are still men travelling around conning and impregnating young women in poor countries all over the world, with these women and their children having no rights at all under American law. The fact that a border jumper has many rights while children of irresponsible Americans have none, is a blatant unfairness.

    • says

      There are sad stories in any direction you look. The people of the United States cannot be responsible for everybsicknchild in the world. There are doctors in the Philippines too.

    • says

      By the way, this person is your friend. How much money have you given to help his child? As it is, I am forced to support him through my tax dollars and I don’t even know the guy.

  44. Freddie Mercury says

    That’s funny. You still pay tax to the USA. That shows how confident you really are deep down about the future of the Philippines. Why would you pay tax or medicare or whatever to a country you have no intention of returning to? The guy I am talking about is supported by his church, doesn’t get government help.

    • says

      Nothing funny about it. US law is that every American Citizen must pay tax regardless of where they live. That is the law.

      Sure, your friend gets government benefits. Does he use roads, bridges? Does he drink tap water? These, and thousands of other things are paid for by taxes, which I am sure he does not pay. As I said, how much money have you sent to support the child?

  45. Freddie Mercury says

    Why are you wanting to keep doing that? Seems a high price to pay for having a US address on your ebay and paypal accounts. Especially when you have the right to become a Philippines Citizen.

    • says

      What citizenship choice I make is a personal choice, and not really your business. This article is not about me, it is about Jose Vargas. I note that you have yet to answer my question, so I assume that your assistance is zero.

  46. John Miele says

    Bob: honestly, I’m somewhat torn on this…

    I sympathize with the guy. Brought to the us, not his doing, finds out he is illegal, faces deportation from the only home he has ever known. Gets really bad advice.

    That said, he’s known for 15 years. Ow and only recently undertaken to change his status(or try)

    As to some of the people commenting above, illegal immigrants do contribute to the economy and they do perform jobs that most Americans won’t do. Last summer, the WSJ ran a series of articles about vegetables rotting in the fields because no one was willing to pick them after the xenophobic Alabama immigration law passed. Alabama told the farmers that the state would make up the shortfall of labor using prisoners, parolees, and those receiving welfare and unemployment benefits. These were NOT low-paying jobs. The Mexican laborers were earning $25 per hour…. But it is hard, back breaking work. What happened? The crops rotted and food prices spiked.

    I can also state that when I worked in restaurants, we had a hell of a time hiring dishwashers. We paid $7 per hour fully unionized (every benefit in the world)…. Could not fill the positions, and this was 20 years ago.

    I agree there is a major problem, but there are no simple or easy solutions, regardless of whether or not the existing laws are enforced. As long as the immigrants see a better life, they will continue to come, and take the risks, deportation, prison or not.

    What bothers me more than anything else is how xenophobic and downright hostile the us has gotten…. One of the reasons I refuse to live there again. When laws like arizona’s and alabama’s are passed that allow people to be stopped at “random” to check status, it is too much like a dictatorship for me (I don’t like the fact that my wife could be singled out because she is brown… What if she were there on a green card and forgot to carry i.d…. It has nothing to do with who is president or what administration is in power. This happens every time the economy has gotten bad, back to the days prior to the civil war). Perhaps I’m just fed up with all governments… Anarchism sounds good to me….

    As to comparing to the Philippines, you really cannot draw the comparison…. The sheer scale of the problem dwarfs anything here. Lack of land borders and generally lower living standards mean that the BI can appear more effective in enforcing the laws, since immigration is such a minuscule issue here, requiring far fewer resources / manpower.

    • says

      Hi John, my point is that the USA should enforce the law. If enforcement is too complex, the law should be modified. I don’t think it is reasonable to bring up the “they do jobs that we won’t do” argument… Vargas is a pulitzer prize winning journalist, not a lettuce picker.

  47. John Miele says

    Bob: further to the point, there are tens of millions of illegal immigrants spread across vast distances… I think that immigration in the us is forced to focus on those who are the biggest threats due to limited resources (criminals and so on). Guys like Jose are simply not on their radar. This is why I think you cannot compare. He Philippines has perhaps 500,000 people living here illegally, mostly Chinese and Koreans. An illegal westerner here tends to stick out and be far more visible than an illegal Filipino in the us

    • says

      Yes, the situation is different, which makes the point even more that the USA should examine its laws and modify them to the point that they can be reasonably enforced.

      • John Miele says

        Bob: I would agree with you that if they cannot enforce the law then they either need to fund the enforcement properly or modify the law. I highly doubt that any candidate, republican or democrat, has the political will to do so.

        Going strictly by the law, he should be deported. Do I want to live in a police state where citizenship papers are demanded at random or that my wife is singled out because she looks “foreign”… No way.

        • Ricardo Sumilang says

          John, funny that you mentioned “foreign” looking because I was just pondering the very same thought this afternoon while driving through several jurisdictions in northern Virginia while doing some errands. I happened to drive through an old section of Alexandria called Arlandria where I used to live in the 60s. My first time back since that time. Back in the 60s, a Latino in the neighborhood is almost unheard of. While Alexandria proper is home to the yuppies, today’s Arlandria looks like a sleepy, little town in Central America, generally characterized by people just milling around in front of Hispanic-owned stores seemingly without purpose. A man in cowboy boots and wearing a ten gallon hat is seen walking down the litter-strewn street as old lottery tickets and other debris swirl about like tumbleweeds blowing across the prairie. A few miles east of Arlandria, an obviously more educated and affluent ethnic group – the Koreans – is congregated in a town called Annandale. You can drive for miles on the main thoroughfare and be amazed by the abundance of Korean-owned business establishments lining the avenue. Here, the signs, without exception, are in Hangul, the Korean script. Finally reaching home in Ashburn in the evening, I stopped at the local Taco Bell for dinner. I wasn’t really surprise that the store was fully staffed by Indians, speaking in that unique accent of theirs that is difficult to understand. It is pretty common around here to see most service establishments run by immigrants. What surprised me was that I was the only Filipino in the store – the rest of the customers were Indians and their families. My son’s neighbors to his left and right, and across the street, are Indian professionals. The point in all of this is that this scenario is replicated all across the country and the time is not that far off in the USA when the WASPs are the ones who will end up looking “foreign”, not the brown skins like Rebecca. This is the changing face of America, whether one likes it or not.

          • PapaDuck says

            It goes to show you that the US is still an enticing place to live for many foreigners, no matter how many problems we have here. By the way did your son lose power from the storms? My niece and her husband lost power, which was restored Monday evening. Have a nice day.

            • Ricardo Sumilang says

              Papa Duck, at my son’s neighborhood, power was not affected by the severe storm that blew through the area Saturday night. But the other jurisdictions were hit hard. A lot of trees were uprooted, and some gasoline stations, supermarkets, and convenience stores were put out of action. Non-working signal lights along a busy highway were a problem. If police was not present to direct traffic, drivers had to treat a non-working signal light as if it were a 4-way stop sign, yielding to the car to your right. Not enforced, but a common courtesy observed by everyone. My wife, who just left for a 2-month vacation in the Middle East last Sunday, just called me tonight. People in the West Bank had heard of the storm that hit the DC area. You’re right about the U.S. having that special quality that many people from all over the world find enticing. Enjoy your July 4th, as will I.

        • Katrina says

          This sounds harsh but to make the deportation on illegals less costly is to amend the citizenship law. It should be restricted to LEGAL immigrants. ILLEGALS, OVERSTAYING and TOURISTS should be excluded just like how diplomats are excluded here.

          With that, it would be easier because there would be no more US citizen kids with illegal parents. It would become, an illegal is an illegal.

          It does not take much money to cut down the “stress” on illegal immigrants, it does take a lot of guts though.

    • Tony says

      It’s plain john m. that you show your contempt for the USA by addressing it as us, you at least manage to capitalize the Philippines.

      • John Miele says

        What contempt? I addresses the political process and gave my views. Not liking the politics is not the same as showing contempt for the country. Perhaps the steady stream of political propaganda you have been fed over the years has impacted your critical thinking and logic abilities?

        • Tony says

          My point was merely about using small letters rather than caps when you say US or USA. It was about your lack of respect not your political views.

  48. Cheryl says

    In a perfect world there is true black and white situations. This is obviously NOT one of them. I STRONGLY believe he should be allowed to stay in the United States as long as he now goes through the process.

    The guy grew up AMERICAN, he did not know he was illegal until the age of 16. And while he is here illegally I do believe the circumstances merit him NOT being deported…as long as he does NOW what he needs to do.

    I want to point out one other issue….I can FREELY go to the Philippines any time I want to. However, most filipinos cannot freely come to America (even to vacation) without jumping through hoops that MANY MANY other foreigners, including 18 terrorist on 9-11 did not have to jump through.

    So if this guy slipped through the cracks and the United States government has decided not to pursue him, I have no problem with it. I find it EXTREMELY offensive that because a person is from the Philippines that they are treated MUCH differently than most other foreigners in coming to America…even to visit.

    Thankfully, the Philippine government is MUCH more hospitable to foreigners than the American government….if they were not many of us would probably have not found out how terrific the Philippines can be.

    In a black and white world, he should be deported. But this is NOT a black and white world. Not even close.

    • Alan B says

      As my Sociology 201 professor said many years ago, “If you have no absolutes, if everything is relative, you end up with anarchy.”

    • Val says

      That was not the case during sixties and seventies. Due to availability of fake birth certificate, fake baptismal certificate, fake college diploma, fake NBI clearance, fake marriage certificate and all sorts of fake document available at RECTO ST; placed the Philppines to list of the most distrustful country from all over the world; and significant numbers of those who fortunate to received VISA did not return back home. Then they demand they called “rights” for free health care, free education, free housing, free foodstamp, and all sort of freebees; and demand recognition their culture by holding fiesta and parades. If we dont…’WE ARE RACIST”!

    • Val says

      Because American follows the process of immigration. You don’t see thousands of American illegally staying in the Philippines and demanding free education, free health care, free welfare, free healthcare and all sort of freebies paid for by taxpayer. They should make US election mandatory for all American and put a checklist provision int he ballot that would ask you suppot the illegal alien staying in USA. If you do, you will be required according to your income to pay for the illegal alien social support and expenses or require you to provide shelter for them. That, i will salute and consider you outstanding citizen.

  49. Ken says

    Bob, I couldn’t agree with you more “the law is the law” and it should apply equally to all. In my humble opinion that is what makes the US an attractive place for people of all backgrounds to succeed. The common citizen elects officials to represent them by passing laws in the best interest of the majority. I’ve been visiting the Philippines since 1975 and by contrast the politicians, the wealthy, and the well connected are the ones who manipulate the law and police to their liking. The poor cannot get a head. I do not want the the US to digress to that form of political blackmail.

    • says

      That’s very true, Ken. Some people say it should be reviewed on a case by case basis, which to me is unfair. The law should apply equally to all… if it doesn’t then that means some are favored over others. Equality is what the USA is supposed to be all about.

  50. Ron says

    Hi Bob,
    I am late to the conversation as we are in Miami this week and a lot less computer time. Laws give us a sense of security and expectation of others behavior. We are either a nation of laws or we are not. Its is damaging when laws become selectively enforced. In addition I paid thousands of dollars and countless hours processing administrative requirements to bring my family here. Where is the fairness in that process? You are a man of words so please consider. Immigration is never illegal. That under the definition of the word is impossible. What we have is an invasion of law breakers. I know that sounds harsh but that is exactly what it is. There is an emotional side to all of this and that is what makes it so difficult. I wonder if your readers would be suprised to know what Mexico’s position is on illegal invasion of its borders by those that have broken its nation’s laws to enter its borders and steal from its national capital. Ron

  51. Katrina says

    I think the problem with US laws take on immigration is that it is not passing any law that addresses the real issue. AZ law is too harsh. I doubt any legal immigrant has his greencard always at hand.

    What should really be done is to punish businesses that hire illegals, birth tourism clinics and amend the birthright citizenship. These would not even take as much money as AZ immigration law. What the US should do is have laws that discourage ILLEGAL immigration. At the present state, it’s more enticing to be illegal because of the “freebies” that come along as compared when you do it the legal way.

  52. Ricardo Sumilang says

    I have wondered about the feasibility of a world body like The Hague International Court of Justice implementing and enforcing a universal law, ratified by a UN vote, that would hold each country of the world responsible and liable for the illegal actions of its own citizens against another country insofar as illegal immigration is concerned. Instead of placing the responsibility of policing illegal immigration on the country into which undocumented aliens have immigrated, the onus of responsibility and liability would be placed on the government of a country from which the illegals have originated. Each country of the world must be made to bear the financial burden its citizens have incurred in another country as a result of illegal immigration and deportation expenses in the form of tax levies against their government. Enforcement could be by way of freezing assets, trade embargoes, and other economic sanctions against the offending country. If the onus is placed on the offending country to police its own citizens from crossing borders illegally, instead of the country into which illegals have immigrated, there is probably a better chance that illegal immigration could be minimized, if not curbed. The onus could motivate an offending country into instituting measures that would discourage its citizenry from jumping to the other side of the fence where the grass is presumably greener. Such countries would have to utilize their OWN resources to erect and monitor their own border fences, just like how the East German government maintained the Berlin Wall. Such measures could also provide the impetus for making their OWN grass greener and keeping their government in order to help keep their citizenry happily living within their borders. But, for those who want to leave the country anyway, that option should remain on the table and must be done legally.

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