By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – Filipinos here are encouraged to take action by calling their local and national legislators to help push for immigration reforms. Bergenfield Council president and immigration lawyer Arvin Amatorio said that it makes so much difference if local constituents call their representatives.
“It makes us take action. Calling your legislators could be effective,” Amatorio said during a Kapihan community forum sponsored by the Fil-Am Press Club of New York on August 2, 2018 at the National Writers Union in the city.
Together with Amatorio was Atty. Cristina Godinez of the St. Francis Migrant Center. Jen Furer of the Makilala TV facilitated the forum.
Amatorio said that the US immigration law has had no real meaningful changes. “The only difference is how it is enforced. So if Filipinos called there legislators for reforms, it could actually be more effective.”
“The immigration law is broken enough, and reforms needed to be instituted,” said Godinez who described the Trump administration as “insidious” by using deportations, denials, and delays in implementing immigration policies.
Godinez added that while Pres. Obama had been reputed to be the deporter-in-chief who emphasized on law enforcement, Pres. Trump is using such policies as ‘zero tolerance’ and new memorandum on ‘notice to appear’ which effectively puts one on deportation proceedings.
Justine Calma, a press club member and reporter for Grist, said that Filipinos needed to voice out issues on immigration ‘in order to build our power’ and educating yhe communities too.
Godinez and Amatorio said that the immigration law is broken enough to create its own problems, such as the provision of the 3-10 year bar rule. This bar rule encourages people to actually over-stay their visas and wait (and hope) for changes in the immigration laws, rather than go back to their home countries.
The Mexicans currently constitute the largest undocumented population in the US. Filipinos, on the other hand, are notably known to over-stay their visas.