An Immigrant Bright Spot On Memorial Day


Now and then, I like to look for
bright spots in the immigration disaster that has
overwhelmed us in the last three decades.


Memorial Day
is one of those times.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans
have

died
to preserve our great country and traditions.
None of those who lost their lives defending democracy
and freedom ever imagined that the United States might
one day be delivered

gift-wrapped
to Mexico—compliments of the White
House.

So this weekend is a particularly
good occasion to remember that—albeit
unintentionally—some good has come of the nation`s
relentlessly reckless immigration policy.

I`m thinking of my Vietnamese
students from ten years ago. Those adults who learned
English from me are now US citizens who have steady jobs
or own their own businesses.

And their children—some of whom were
my high school teaching aides—have graduated from college
to become nurses, teachers and bankers.

Of course, there`s a dark side to
Vietnamese immigration that the usual happy-face media
coverage ignores. Some adults remain trapped on

welfare
. Some children are sucked into

gangs
and drugs.

But there are

success stories—
more among the Vietnamese than among
many other groups.

And, to their great credit, some
brave Vietnamese have now joined us in the battle for
immigration reform.

Vietnamese refugees simply do not
understand how their sacrifices as they traveled along
the

treacherous
and

bloody
path to American citizenship can be equated to
Mexicans illegally crossing the border "seeking
a better life
."

How, wonders Vu Nguyen, can the US
government be so casual about granting amnesty and
eventually

citizenship
to illegal aliens?

"Illegal immigration is wrong,"
Nguyen told me. "Everyone is hurt by it."

Nguyen was a Lieutenant in the

South Vietnamese Navy
before being rounded up by the
North Vietnamese in 1975 during the communist takeover.

Once captured, Nguyen spent ten
years at hard labor in a

Communist camp
and fully expected to die there. But
in 1985, under pressure from the UN, the Vietnamese
government released most of its prisoners of war. Nguyen
spent four more years in a refugee camp in the
Philippines before coming to California. He is now an
American citizen.

Although Mexico would like you to
believe that the self-inflicted hardships endured by some
of their citizens to

illegally enter the US
should automatically qualify
them for a green card, none of their stories compares to
Nguyen`s.

Le Quan Hoang, Director of

Vietnamese for Fair Immigration,
thinks the
Vietnamese sacrifices have been forgotten in the rush to
appease Mexico.

When Hoang read a typically
tendentious plea for "earned residency" for
illegal aliens in the Denver Post, written by

Hispanic apologist
and University of Colorado at
Denver

professor
Estevan Flores [Send
him mail
], she bristled.

In her response to Flores published
in the Denver Post on February 29, 2004, Hoang
wrote:


"Vietnamese immigrants fought

on the U.S. side
against global Communism, losing
500,000 of our relatives in the process. We also lost our
homes, country and everything we owned in this fight.
Then we had to escape Communist Vietnam in

small boats,
where another

200,000 Vietnamese died,
and were made to wait for
years in refugee camps before being allowed into the U.S.

"To Vietnamese, this is what `earned residency` means."

[Earn
your citizenship
, Denver Post
]

Hoang also took umbrage at last
year`s infamous

"Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride."
On October 9, 2003
the Santa Barbara News Press printed Hoang`s
observations that included this statement:

"We are
offended and insulted by their misuse of the word
immigrant, as what they really want is amnesty for

illegal aliens.
Calling illegal aliens `immigrants`
or `undocumented`
attempts to make these criminals who are a net drain on
Americans equal to law-abiding Vietnamese immigrants who
greatly

benefited America."

What Hoang insists on is a

fair US immigration policy
—not one generous and
all-forgiving policy for Mexico and another different
policy for everyone else that rigidly enforces existing
immigration laws.

To that end, the

goals
of Vietnamese for Fair Immigration are similar
to those of immigration reform groups across the nation:

Among them are:

  • Enforce all immigration laws. Illegal
    aliens residing inside the U.S. should be deported. 
    Businesses should be required to check the validity of
    new employees`

    Social Security
    or work permit numbers.

  • Local and state

    law enforcement officers
    should verify the
    citizenship and immigration status of

    everyone they apprehend.
    Every illegal alien they
    apprehend should be detained and transferred to the
    Homeland Security Departments ICE division for
    deportation.

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    should double the number of interior enforcement officers
    and detention facilities.

  • The U.S. should not allow amnestied illegal
    aliens, anchor babies, and anyone sponsored by both
    groups to sponsor any more of their relatives for family
    preference immigration.

Again, there are limits to this
alliance with

American immigration reformers.
Vietnamese for Fair
Immigration lobbies for more immigration from Vietnam—but
not more immigration overall. The organization is acutely
aware of the zero-sum nature of immigration policy.
Immigrants from one source

crowd out
immigrants from another. Above all,
Vietnamese for Fair Immigration recognizes that illegal
immigration wrecks everything for everyone who obeys the
law.

I spoke to Vietnamese for Fair
Immigration Board of Directors member Tim Brummer who
told me:

"More
than 200,000 Vietnamese are stalled trying to come to the
United States legally. Some have been waiting 12 years.
Unlike Mexicans, Vietnamese cannot come illegally. The
government won`t issue a visa unless someone puts down a
$30,000 deposit. There probably aren`t more than 200
Vietnamese illegally in the US. But all those

amnesties
and

anchor babies
just slow down even further the efforts
of the Vietnamese who are waiting to legally join their
families. We only want what is fair."

As I told my

students
, "Remember, most of you will live many
more years in the United States than you ever did in
Vietnam. Think of America as your home."

This posting by Hoang on her website
reaffirms what I told them:

"We are
Americans first and Vietnamese second, and want what is
best for America. We don`t want to impose any additional
burdens on the American people who have gratefully given
us a new home in the land of freedom."

I don`t know of any other recent
immigrant organization that takes such a reasonable
position. ("Mexicans For Immigration Reform"?)

So, while this alliance with other
immigration reformers may be limited, it is real.

A complete overhaul of

federal immigration law,
ensuring among other things
that the perceived

interests of Mexico
do not rank

higher
than those of others, is the best way to
pursue the fairness that Hoang and the rest of us
seek—and to preserve the freedoms that Hoang, and so many
others, fought for.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.