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Oct 01st
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako Is it Racial Profiling? My Take on Arizona’s New Immigration Law
Is it Racial Profiling? My Take on Arizona’s New Immigration Law PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Thursday, 15 July 2010 21:03


By Jesse Jose

A Cup O’ Kapeng Barako


Is it really racial profiling?  No, it’s not!  I agree with it.  It’s the right thing to do.  An illegal resident here in America is a criminal, a fugitive from the law.  He or she must be apprehended and deported.  No ifs or buts about it …


But before I go on, Dear Readers, let me tell y’all first this story.  It’s true.  It happened.


When I moved to Florida in the early 1980’s and was hired there as Martin County Deputy Sheriff, one of the first things I did was to open a bank account for the direct deposit of my paycheck. The name of the bank was the old Barnett Bank, the number-one bank then in Florida.


So I went to this bank and walked up to this young, pretty teller, and said: “I would like to open up a bank account.”


She looked at me (“stared” would be the precise word) for several seconds, and then she said, “Can I see your drivers’ license?  And … your GREEN CARD.” 


I’ve never had that so-called “green card,” so at first I honestly didn’t know what she meant.  Then it dawned on me that what she meant was that green card, the card that we, Filipinos, na mga bagong salta sa Amerika, eagerly long (even desperately, for some), to possess.  It’s the much-coveted pass to our journey in pursuing the American Dream.


But when this story happened, I was no longer a bagong salta or as my sons, Jon and Chris, would say, “fresh off the boat.”  I’ve already completed 20 years of active service in the U.S. Navy, seen most of America, from east to west, north to south, traveled the world many times over, and retired and transferred to the Fleet Reserve. 


In other words, I’ve been around, done this and done that and, an American citizen na.  In fact, “forced” to become one, so I could be granted a top-secret security clearance, as I was around top-secret military hardware and equipments aboard the nuclear submarine I was on.  I suppose they just wanna make sure I wasn’t a little Filipino spy for the Russians, America’s number-one enemy at that time.


So, no, I’ve never had a green card.  I became a citizen because I had to.  But becoming one, I must confess, transformed me, slowly but surely, into a believer of this country and its ideals. I became, bit by bit, a loyal warrior of America, who was willing to fight and die for my adopted country.   


Anyway … back to the bank: The only “green card” I had to show to that pretty, young teller was my Deputy Sheriff ID card and my shiny star-shaped badge next to it. 


And, as I flashed them to her face, I said, with all the Barako coolness I can muster: “Will this be GREEN enough for you, Miss?”


She blushed red as a beet.  Her pretty blue eyes opened wide. Her jaw dropped.  And she stuttered, “Yes sir, I … I … think so.”  To put her at ease, I smiled at her.  I felt so sorry for her.  She was so pretty and so innocent … and so ignorant. 


Then she asked, in a friendly, flirting tone, “When did you become a U.S. citizen, sir?


“Long before you were born, my dear girl.” I replied with a DOM smile.  She smiled back.  She was so pretty.


Now, did this young lady commit racial profiling?  Why did she ask for my “green card” when only a Florida driver’s license was the only thing needed to open a bank account?  Did that bank require green cards for people like me or for people who “looks” like me?


And, how did I feel when that teller asks for my “green card”?  Well, honestly, I felt kind of slighted.  But I saw the point why they “required” it, from someone like me.  In Florida then and today, there are lots of Guatemalan agricultural workers and most of them are illegals. I suppose to this young, pretty honey, I might have been a Guatemalan illegal worker, so she asked for my “green card.”


So, I showed her my “green card.” Was it racial profiling?  Of course, it was.  Was it JUSTIFIED?  Sure, it was. Because on matters like these, the chaff must be separated from the grain…


MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ARE IN FAVOR: Let’s fast forward to 2010 and to Arizona’s new immigration law.  As I’ve said, I agree with it.  It’s the right thing to do.


In April, the Arizona legislature voted to “discourage and deter” illegal immigrants from staying in the state by authorizing law-enforcement officers to question Hispanic-looking individuals, WHEN caught breaking the law. Like for instance, for running a red light or for any kind of traffic infractions, or for whatever infractions committed.


When an officer has “reasonable suspicion” that a person is not a legal resident, he is to ask questions and can take into custody those who cannot show that they are legal residents. These illegal residents could then be convicted of a state crime and turned over to federal-immigration agents.


What the police CANNOT do is to arbitrarily stop a Hispanic-looking individual while walking down the street, grab him and ask him for his “papers.”  There must be a crime first or a violation committed BEFORE they can ask about his immigration status and proof of his legal residency.


I don’t see anything wrong with that.  There are sizable numbers of illegals in Arizona.  There are also lots of legal and law-abiding residents. The chaff must be separated from the grain…


But President Barack Hussein Obama and his people in his White House said that they find the Arizona law “hateful,” “pernicious” and “unjust.” But 70% of Arizonans support the law. Majority of Americans all over America support the law, 69% to be exact.  In fact, in five states – South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Michigan – will soon follow this immigration policy that Arizona has spearheaded.


Within the same vein, if you’re a Filipino in this country and a “TNT,” which in our vernacular means, “tago ng tago,” and in English means, “hiding and hiding” from the law, you’re a fugitive from justice. And any person who helps hide a TNT “harbors” a fugitive … and that’s a felony, too.


Arizona’s immigration law does NOT symbolize cruelty.   


It is NOT a form of racial profiling… 

It is NOT unjust!

It is NOT pernicious!

It is NOT hateful!


It’s a long-overdue reaction to the FAILURE of President Barack H. Obama’s administration to preserve and protect the true meaning of citizenship, in America. That’s all. JJ  

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