You can also view the event on this ABC 7 News Chicago telecast:
On November 20, 2014, I was filled with emotion and I cried after hearing Pres. Obama spoke about immigration, “Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law?” Eight years ago, I also joined a meeting at Casa Michoacan, a beautiful space put together by Mexican diaspora donors mainly from Michoacan, Mexico. I’ve always admired their dedication and commitment to make a difference to Mexicans from the Michoacan locally in Chicago and globally back in Michoacan. We were planning back then the big marches in Chicago that drew over 300,000 people to the streets. In 2014, I was back at Casa Michoacan and this time listening to President Obama speak about his recent immigration reform policies. I was overwhelmed by emotion when I heard Pres. Obama spoke about the United States to continue to be a welcoming nation, “Whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in.”
Filipinos in the diaspora like myself are like souls in two worlds, one living in the country you adopted, the other back in the homeland. I am sure my sense of elation and relief is shared by many of the over 1,600,000 Filipinos living in the US (Migration Policy Institute, 2013). Many people believe that Mexicans are the only ones living without papers, pejoratively named ‘Tago ng Tago’ (always hiding) in Tagalog. It’s estimated that over 50,000 Asians in the state of Illinois alone are undocumented and many of them are from the Philippines, India, Korea and China (Paral: Illinois is Ready, 2014).
However, the fight for all immigrants in the US to be welcomed is not over. There’s still a lot of work that we have to do to continue to support the people who will not qualify for this. In addition, I hope that the United States continues to welcome immigrants and refugees, as new arrivals continue to establish their lives and eventually contribute back to their diaspora homeland and help locally in their new-found home like I have.