One Of Those Grateful Refugees – Pacific News Service`s Andrew Lam
And the winner for the 2002 “Most Nauseating
Immigration Enthusiast Op-Ed” is…Andrew Lam
“Letter to a Vietnamese cousin: Should you come
to America?” appeared in the San
Francisco Chronicle, December 22.
Let`s stand in unison to give Lam a rousing round of
huzzahs for soaring above a very competitive field with
his entry. To leave in the dust the other drivel that
immigration comment is no small feat.
Maybe the problem is that, according to Lam`s
biography, his real love is writing fiction. His
Chronicle column had plenty of it.
Idiotic immigration-enthusiast commentary crested
throughout 2002. At the end of each week, I would say,
Wall Street Journal
will be tough to top for illogical reasoning,
misinformation and bias.” But, without fail, another
piece came along the very next week to take over first
As much fault as there is to find with Lam`s
editorials, his true agenda (which you will soon learn)
is even more distasteful.
To begin, a little background on Lam: as the child of
a lieutenant general in the South Vietnamese army Lam,
then 11, was among the
first refugees to
come to America. The Lam family went from Vietnam to
Guam to Camp Pendleton to Northern California.
If the Lams were like most other Southeast Asian
families I know, upon arrival in the U.S. it immediately
received the full spectrum of comprehensive and
costly social services.
Lam`s childhood in America consisted of, in his
“Disneyland, Tahoe, and my father`s first American car.”
Eventually, Lam was able to parlay his K-12 education
(no doubt receiving special language instruction along
the way) into a 4-year ride at the California taxpayer
subsidized University of California at
Berkeley where he studied biochemistry.
As you are reading this, you may be observing that
Lam was a lucky young man who made the most of the
opportunities America afforded him. And you may also
think that a modicum of gratitude is
in order. No need to grovel, but a “Thank You
America” would not be amiss.
Here, instead, is what Lam warns his cousin “D” about
America: immigrants are “scapegoats,” immigrants
can “lose jobs” for not being citizens or “if
he speaks his opinion, [an immigrant] can very
well be fired.”
Lam also says
“I know many Muslims are
now afraid to pray at their own
mosque for fear of
FBI surveillance. I`ve seen feeble old South Asian
women whose hands trembled at the airport when they give
their green cards to immigration officers, fearing of
sudden arrest and deportation.”
Then we have the “minor infractions” category.
According to Lam, to be deported for failing to comply
with the terms of your visa (like reporting address
changes) is “cruel and unusual punishment”
especially if you are “an
Iranian or Syrian refugee fleeing from a vindictive
The funny thing is that, if I were fleeing the horror
that Lam implies, I would consider satisfying the terms
of my visa of paramount importance and not in the least
So Lam offers up the same old stuff. We all know that
no immigrant/illegal alien has been fired for
“speaking his opinion,” that the Muslims in the U.S.
aren`t afraid of anything and that feeble (and not so
feeble) old (and young) people of
all races and creeds are uncomfortable with current
airport check-in requirements.
More importantly, we know that the immigrant Lam has
prospered in the U.S. beyond his wildest imagination.
Lam is currently an associate editor at the Pacific News
Service, a regular commentator on N.P.R. and producing a
P.B.S. film about Vietnam.
Under no circumstances would he consider returning to
But here follows the truly interesting part of our
story about Lam. A friend and VDARE.COM reader sent me a
copy of a Letter to the Editor he submitted to the
Chronicle objecting to Lam`s editorial:
To the Editor:
RE: "Letter to a
Vietnamese cousin: Should you come to America?” by
Andrew Lam ", Dec 22, 2002.
Poor, poor Mr. Lam. He is
so disheartened about life here in America for
immigrants. He hesitates at having his Cousin D. join
him and the millions of others who have fled Vietnam…
At the same time he laments that unless his cousin join
the yearly floodtide of 1.3 million immigrants, America
will not be "reborn" or "renewed".
First a question for Mr.
Lam. Could the prosperity you found here have anything
to do with the efforts of the 250 million Americans who
are not immigrants?
And a suggestion for Mr.
Lam. Please urge your cousin to remain at home. With 34
million people and growing by half a million each year
because of immigration California is full. Have him take
that mythic energy that immigrants possess and channel
it into "renewing" Vietnam.
The Chronicle chose not to publish my friend`s
perfectly reasonable letter but instead forwarded it to
Lam. And here is Lam`s amazing e-mail reply (copy on
>thanks for the note.
I am here in vietnam
>to faciliate my cousin`s arrival to the US.
>In fact, he`s bringing three children and
>hopefully many more will be born in the US.
>It`s really great to see so
many asian faces
>in california. I hope by
the time it`s 50 million,
>you will half of it will be asian with
energy to spare.
Why do the elite hold a stone-cold racist like Lam in
such high esteem? Why should Lam`s voice be broadcast
over N.P.R? Why did KQED profile Lam in 1996? Was Lam
really worthy of the
Society of Professional Journalist`s Outstanding
Young Journalist award in 1993? Why would any newspaper
print his opinions? Why should P.B.S. fund Lam`s
documentary about Vietnam?
The simple but sad
answer: since Lam is an immigrant, his views are more
valued than yours and mine – no matter what
contributions to the country we may have made.
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.