Emil Guillermo: Konnichiwa? Zinke's stink a sign of cluelessness as xenophobia rises in US
March 18, 2018 10:12 AM

If you're of Chinese background, do you ever have non-Chinese people come up to you and try to score points with a well timed "Ni hao"? 

Or if you're Filipino, do you get a "Mabuhay" or two?

According to the latest Census numbers, there are about five million of Chinese ancestry in the U.S. and another 4 million or so of Filipino heritage. That's nearly half of all Asian Americans in the U.S.  Chances are good if you see a person of Chinese or Filipino descent in the U.S., you're talking to someone whose family has been here for several generations. 

Here's a friendly tip to non-Asian Americans: When you see us, just greet us with a simple, "Hello."

You don't want to seem like some cloying unwoke racist, do you?

So, ni hao? No way.

Mabuhay? Say what? 

It's Racism 101. 

We know when people try hard to address us  in some mother tongue, what they're saying is they see us as a foreigner, n'est-ce pas? 

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is the latest to display the not so innocent, knee-jerk, racist tendency. 

It happened as he was addressing the concerns of Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

If you missed it, this one was on March 15, an Ides of March occurrence worth noting. 

Zinke's previous claim to fame would be his lavish tastes in private jet travel, including chartering jets on the public's dime worth $12,000 from Las Vegas to his Montana hometown, and another between two Caribbean islands. All are excessive, but in a Trump administration, he has been spared far greater scorn because the trips apparently don't involve Russians or porn stars. 

Besides, $12,000 in charter flights is less than HUD Secretary Ben Carson's $31,000 dinette set.

And all of that still lower on the outrage scale than anything Donald Trump has done in the last 12 hours on Twitter.

But on Thursday, Zinke was back in the news for his comments to Hanabusa.


The congresswoman very pointedly questioned Zinke about a line item budget deletion for grants to preserve sites where Japanese Americans were interned during World War II.

Hanabusa referred to her own parents experience as internees on the mainland, but also to her grandfather whom she only found out later in life had been interned in a camp on Oahu. 

She wanted to know if Zinke was committed to assuring that a Japanese American confinement sites grants program funded in 2017 would be renewed for 2018.

A simple yes would have sufficed.

But Zinke, because he looked at Hanabusa and heard her accent, saw her first as a foreigner rather than as a member of Congress. And then he revealed the racism in his heart.

"Oh, konnichiwa," said Zinke in greeting Hanabusa.

It plays worse in real life. See it here.  

Hanabusa was quick with a comeback, correcting Zinke for using a phrase that generally means "good day," or "good evening," and not used in the morning.

"I think it's 'ohayou gozaimasu', but that's ok," Hanabusa shot back, using the more appropriate phrase for the morning.

Zinke, undeterred as most clueless insensitive whites are after committing such a transgression, went on to answer how the funding got lost in the Interior department's budgeting process and that he agreed with Hanabusa and would look into it.

But after "konnichiwa," did it matter? Did he have any credibility left? 

Sen. Mazie Hirono tweeted: "The internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans is no laughing matter, @SecretaryZinke. What you thought was a clever response to @RepHanabasua was flippant & juvenile."

I know Mazie from the 80's when I met her at a Democratic convention. She was being kind to Zinke. 

I know Hanabusa from my days as an editorial writer at the now defunct Honolulu Advertiser. She's got a reputation for being a real pitbull of a labor lawyer. You don't mess with Hanabusa. And as a public servant, I know her to be a fighter who never gives up.

Zinke, the former Navy Seal, got off easy.

Other Asian American groups called for no less than a public apology from Zinke, which still may not be enough. Maybe Trump will use it as an excuse to get rid of his charter flight abuser? 

The foreign language/familiarity ploy is a transgression Asian Americans know too well. It happens to all of us at some time when someone pulls out a "Ni Hao," a "Mabuhay," a "Namast,e" or an "An nyoung ha seh yo."

It's not a bridge. It's an insult. We're Americans. Talk to us in American. 

Give us a "Yo," or a "What's up, doc?"

The Zinke "konnichiwa" utterance couldn't happen at a better time to raise our awareness. Remember it was the American assumption that Japanese Americans were foreign and loyal to the Emperor in Japan that WWII internment camps were instituted in the first place.

Maybe it's a good time for Zinke's racism to come to the fore. In the U.S., there are xenophobic signs all over.

You may have seen that video last week of the Arizona moms who took their children on a hate crime lesson then posted their anti-Muslim rant. That's pretty egregious. Fortunately, society still knows that's wrong.

Of course, more cleaned up versions of the same thing are seen out in the open every day.

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An ad was seen at BART stations in the San Francisco Bay Area last week. The sentiments were straight out of 1882 (Chinese Exclusion Act);1934 (the year Filipinos lost their American national status and were voluntarily repatriated to the Philippines); 1941 (the internment year).

Foreigners taking jobs? Get the foreigners out? It's policy fueled by America First rhetoric. It comes from the same place as Zinke's stink.

California is already being sued by the Trump administration for showing compassion toward the undocumented through its sanctuary policies. And it comes as xenophobia seems to be snowballing, especially as Trump is beginning to show signs of losing it. Firing the adults in his cabinet who keep him in check?  Lying like no politician has ever lied before? And bragging about it? 

Consider how Trump puts a value on loyalty of cabinet members and staffers. How long before he begins to put a value on the loyalty of ordinary citizens?

Far-fetched? Not from President S***hole, a/k/a "David Dennison," the man who would hush the porn star. Nothing is far-fetched these days.

We'll know for sure where we stand if Trump ever meets with Asian Americans and we hear him say, "Konnichiwa." 

In the meantime, to all our real friends and allies, a simple "Hello" will do.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.

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Emil Guillermo: PODCAST - California legislator David Chiu on the most Asian American state being sued by the feds
March 9, 2018 9:34 PM

Stormy Daniels, Kim Jong Un, and trade war inducing tariffs? The Trump administration is a never-ending three-ring circus, where chaos is Trump's best friend. How can the American public get a grip on any of the really big issues like gun control after Parkland, or the ongoing Russian investigations, when our heads keep spinning daily?

For Asian Americans, the lesson during this ADHD presidency is to stay focused on our key issues, which for the moment remain immigration and DACA.

This past week, Mr. Art of the Deal didn't even bother to push Congress on DACA and the Dreamers, letting his self-imposed March 5 drop-dead date pass. Without the votes in Congress, it was the only thing Trump could do. That and blame Democrats.

For now, the courts have also blocked the administration from ending DACA, and for the time being, the program lives on. Those who are eligible can still extend their protection.

But just so Trump isn't seen as a total loser to his base, the lull in the immigration fight has given Trump's beleaguered Attorney General Jeff Sessions a chance to score some brownie points with his boss. 

Sessions showed up in Sacramento this week to file a lawsuit against the state over its sanctuary policies. The feds are particularly targeting three state laws that protect immigrant families and workers. California State Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco wrote one of the three laws and told me the state is ready to defend them against the feds.

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"Trump is engaged in an un-American war," said Chiu in a phone interview Friday, indicating the state is prepared to battle in court. 

Chiu said the laws were carefully crafted to honor federal law but also to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of immigrants in the state from ICE agents raiding workplaces without proper authority.

Chiu also clarified what "sanctuary" is and isn't. 

He said that Trump wants to deputize local law enforcement to be ICE agents. On the surface it might sound like a good idea. But immigration isn't the job of your local cop. Chiu said Trump's plan would only raise distrust among immigrants, who consequently won't report crimes for fear of deportation. 

Chiu said that's already happening in the Los Angeles area.

Chiu said that if the feds are able to get away with heavy-handed enforcement activities that trample on the rights of people in California, then ICE will make the tactics standard throughout the nation.

Chiu said in that sense, the fight in California is really a national one for the rights of immigrants.

As for his advice to those in the community who are in fear of more ICE raids, such as the recent ones that netted more than 245 people, Chiu was unwavering.

"We have your back," he said. But he added that people need to know their rights if and when ICE shows up. 

Listen to my phone call with David Chiu on this special edition of Emil Amok's Takeout.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.

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Emil Guillermo: The shape of things? Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro says keep dreaming, as ICE whips up fear among immigrants
March 5, 2018 10:55 AM

All along I was rooting for "The Shape of Water."

I do, after all, pronounce my name, "GILL-yermo."

It's my line in the sand with director Guillermo del Toro.

We disagree on how to say his first name, which is my last name. 

That's diversity for you. He pronounces it the Mexican way---the double-L in "Guillermo" as a "y." He says "GEE-yair-mo."

I pronounce the name the Filipino Asian way. Colonized by Spain, Filipinos have always pronounced it their own way: GILL-yermo.

That's "gill" as in the breathing apparatus of a fish or amphibian.  

It provides a way toward some fluid common ground.  "The Shape of Water" had me at glub-glub.

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Del Toro's movie is a fabulistic tale that brings together a mute woman, her gay neighbor, an African American co-worker, and a foreigner who happens to be a doctor/spy, in an effort to save an amphibious god tortured in a government lab.

When's the last time you saw an Oscar-winning best film use the word "vivisection"? 

But don't despair. This is really a fantasy date-night movie, with multiple love scenes.

In fact, love is the message. 

If you're an "other," no matter what species, this is the movie that will give you hope and speak to your heart.

That's about the best thing a movie can do--help us understand life--in these xenophobic and fear-mongering times.

Among all films, "The Shape of Water" led with 13 nominations and won four awards on Oscar night, including Best Picture, Best Director, as well as Original Score and Production Design.

Del Toro's best movie victory capped a night of Oscar diversity that saw historical precedents  like the first African American Oscar winner in original screenplay (Jordan Peele, "Get Out"), or the first film winner in which the main character is a transgender actress ("A Fantastic Woman," featuring Daniela Vega, winner of Best Foreign Language Film).

The  #TimesUp movement also got major play with powerful statements from warrior/victims like Ashley Judd, who uttered my vote for bumper-sticker phrase of the night: "Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, Intersectionality."

But it was Francis McDormand, Best Actress winner for "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri," who got the crowd roaring when she had all the women winners and nominees stand to be acknowledged to let powers that be know the sheer amount of talent in the room with movies and stories to tell.

But McDormand's call to action was uttering the phrase that pays, "inclusion rider." It was a not so subtle hint to studios and producers to add contract language that would make diversity a requirement for hiring on future projects.

Affirmative action? No, just good business sense in a modern world.

After prior years' complaints that the Oscars were too white, this was an ever evolving and more inclusive Oscars.  Comedian Tiffany Haddish even joked, "Are the Oscars too black now?"

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Black. Latino. LGBTQ. Women. Even the diverse Asian American community was visible in the mix with winners (Filipino American Brooklynite Robert Lopez, who with his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, won Best Original Song for "Remember Me" from "Coco") and presenters like "Star Wars" franchise player Kelly Marie Tran and Kumail Nanjani, a nominee for original screenplay for "The Big Sick." 

Lupita and Kumail.jpg

Nanjani, a Pakistani American from Iowa, presented with Lupita Nyong'o, a previous best supporting actress Oscar winner, who is of Kenyan-Mexican descent. They both spoke directly about the impending March 5 DACA deadline hanging over the heads of Dreamers.

"Like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers," Nyongo told the worldwide audience. "Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America."

Nanjani added, "To all the Dreamers out there, we stand with you."

Fortunately, the Supreme Court has backed lower court rulings that allow DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to continue while lawsuits to keep it alive are proceeding.

That means in spite of Trump's deadline, if you're eligible to renew or apply for DACA protection, you should act now.  

Still, even though Congress and the president remain preoccupied by gun control issues, tariffs, and a White House in turmoil and have done nothing, that hasn't stopped Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

ICE has raised the Fear Quotient to new heights after conducting immigration crackdowns in  Northern California sanctuary cities.

More than 200 arrests were made last week from the San Francisco Bay Area to Sacramento.

And it doesn't impact Dreamers, so much as law-abiding people of all ages, many of whom are undocumented.

"There's a war going on now between ICE and sanctuary cities," Jeff Adachi, the San Francisco Public Defender told me in a phone interview. 
He said ICE has come in and created a sense of chaos by "indiscriminately detaining people."

ICE may be looking for criminals, but they end up snaring tax-paying non-criminals. The people are often detained with no right to a lawyer and placed in custody in detention centers hours from the Bay Area, which make it difficult to get much support from family and friends.

"It's a scary time for people," said Adachi. "Everyone's at risk."

Adachi said there are 1,400 unrepresented people being detained in the San Francisco immigration courts currently. His public defenders are quickly trying to reduce that number.  They know that with a lawyer, a detainee has a three-times better chance of prevailing in one's case.

If it all feels overwhelming, like you're drowning in anxiety, it's a good time to go to the movies--especially on March 5. 

When accepting the Oscar for Best Picture, del Toro proudly said, "I am an immigrant."
del Toro.jpg

But he's also a filmmaker who travels to different countries because of his work and said he lives in a world of his own making. "The greatest thing our art does and our industry does is to erase the lines in the sand when the world tells us to make them deeper."

It's a world without walls, one that doesn't define natives and foreigners as "us and them," but as one. It's a truth del Toro discovered while following his art. 

On Oscar night, he passed along his best advice as a movie maker and humanitarian.

"Everyone who is dreaming of a parable, of using genre fantasy to tell their stories about the things that are real in the world today, you can do it," del Toro said. Then he referred to any perceived barriers in the film industry and reached out. "This is a door. Kick it open and come in."

It was an Oscar-winning invitation to inclusion, to take a deep breath, and to keep dreaming, and not just at the movies.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.

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Emil Guillermo: Almost an Asian American Winter Olympics, but no medal for NBC
February 23, 2018 8:22 AM

I wish I could have hung on to the Chloe Kim snowboarding victory and let it last the entire two weeks.


This was supposed to be an Asian American Winter Olympics in Asia, especially the way NBC was pushing both Kim and men's figure skater Nathan Chen. 

We know about the Asian American Olympians of the past from Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan. Asian American women are hell on blades. 

But would these be the games where Nathan Chen creates a new Asian American male stereotype? Would we be transported from the one-inch punching Bruce Lee to the new King of Quads in a Vera Wang costume (one that doesn't malfunction)?

Perhaps in 2022. Not quite this time.

After Kim's scintillating snowboard run that lasted less than a minute, Chen took the spotlight and stumbled in the team competition. He helped to win Bronze there, but that was well short of the goal. 

The graceless tumbling continued for the women skaters. Though Mirai Nagasu nailed an historic opening triple axel and was lauded in the team skate, she struggled in the individual skates along with teammate Karen Chen and bottomed out the top ten.

Nathan Chen tried to rally with a tremendous quad performance in his individual long skate, but it wasn't enough to medal.

After Kim's smashing start, we only had the ice dancing Shibutanis' Bronze in ice dancing to cheer. 

And what a coincidence: Alex and Maia medaled and took their star turn around the same time as the 76th anniversary of Executive Order 9066.

Asian Americans of Japanese descent weren't foreigners then or now. 

At these games, here were the #ShibSibs representing all of America.


Of course, they were third best at these games. But with the America-centric coverage, it was hard to tell. The ShibSibs tended to get more air time on NBC than the Gold medalists Virtue and Moir of Canada. (But hey, they have better health care; they will survive).

But I found how you really couldn't tell a person's nationality or ethnicity at these games without a score card, passport, or blood test.

That's for certain when it came to drugs. The official name for Putin's team was The Olympic Athletes of Russia. I added an N.O.D., for "Not on Drugs." It was quite a statement at the games--especially when a Russian curler was disqualified for testing positive during the competition itself.

Watching them throughout, they could have easily been Russian immigrants to the U.S. They were mostly all white. In these Olympics, you could be an American with dual citizenship and race for the country of your family's heritage. 

American Filipinos Asa Miller, a 17-year-old skier from Oregon, downhill skied for the Philippines team and finished 70th.

His teammate was Los Angeles-based Michael Christian Martinez, who finished 28th in the men's individual figure skating competition.

I kept wondering why  Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte couldn't place himself on the Philippine team in the Biathlon, considering his renowned shooting skills. Just try to stop him. 

The loosened rules, especially those allowing dual citizens through birth and immigration to compete, were actually a refreshing thing about these games. 

Americans competing on other countries' teams? You mean like Trump not acting on Russian meddling in our elections as if he's on Team Russia?

Can I get an "America First?"

For me, it's these little things that will mark the 2018 Olympic games. Images of VP Mike Pence in close proximity to the sister of Kim Jong Un. The North Korean cheerleading squad. And the combined Korean team playing on the same hockey team. 

The North Koreans got what they wanted out of these games. But who knows if its semi-soft diplomacy will thwart or hasten the start of a major war. 

And then there was this little colonial act by NBC.

After Sunday's closing ceremony, people will leave Pyeongchang, South Korea, and it will return to what it was called before it got Olympic ringed and played by NBC.

The city will be known once again by its pre-colonial pronunciation. 

That would not be Pyeong-CHANG, but rather the correct Korean pronunciation "Pyeong-Chahng."

As my fellow Asian American Journalists Association members put out in a video guide, it's more "Ch-AHNG," with a definite "AH," sound, the kind you'd make to a doctor if you wanted him to correct your pronunciation. 

Definitely, it's not the hard sound "CHANG," as in "you rang?"

For the last two weeks, we've been "chang"-ed to death, which is no big deal, unless you are concerned with the truth, accuracy, and authenticity. You know, the stuff journalists should care about.

Perhaps that's not as bad as getting North and South Korea confused. One is the country that makes your smart TV and Android devices.

The other is the home of Trump's "Little Rocket Man." 

But pronunciation is an entirely different matter, and it's a big deal when it comes to a broadcast medium.

It's like being in a concert and hearing the same bad note repeated over and over whenever people on NBC said exactly where they were---which, of course, was in a place no one in Korea, North or South, had ever heard of. 

It was just a clinker. More than a display of ignorance. It was an insistence on the wrong pronunciation. An act of defiance. 

It was back in November when Sports Business Journal first pointed out the inconsistency of NBC's pronunciation, noting that host Matt Lauer could go from Pyeong-"chung" (Not enough "ah," so just 85 percent correct) to Pyeong-"chang," as in bang (positively incorrect), almost in the same breath. 

Of course, that's not what got Lauer fired. 

The Business Journal's Ben Fisher asked NBC, which essentially showed how much it cared about accuracy. 

Its view came down to this: Screw authenticity. To hell with truth, NBC bought the rights, and they can bastardize the games whatever way they want. Even mispronouncing the name of the Olympic site.

Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, said NBC's official pronunciation was "chang" as in "bang" and that was that.

"It's cleaner," Lazarus told Fisher.

Cleaner. And wrong-er.

It's not a matter of being PC. Pyeongchang isn't even capitalized in the middle. 

But this is what you get when the rights are bought and sold to the highest bidder. The Olympic spirit comes filtered through a colonial tongue that chang-bangs us relentlessly. 

It couldn't end soon enough.

You wouldn't call a bronze the "brown medal," would you? 

And that gold of Chloe Kim's wasn't yellow.

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.

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Emil Guillermo: Trump keeps pushing the limits of American Whiteness
February 14, 2018 4:09 PM

Forget the orange hair. Donald Trump wants to get his white on. Or at least keep it where it's at.

There is no other way to look at it.

Trump's immigration agenda is all about stopping the inevitable in the U.S.

Every reputable demographic study knows the reality. At some point by mid century, around 2050 or so, earlier in some places, the minority will become the majority in this country.

That's just a short generation away. Barron Trump's world.

I know many Asian Americans, like Filipinos for one, have issues with the broader term "Asian American." But it is the umbrella in our political cocktail.

Without it, we're all smaller than small. With it, we're part of a group 21 million large--and growing.

In 2015, the Pew Research Center said Asian Americans will be the largest immigrant group in America, if current trends and policies continue. 
As I wrote in a previous post, this is the trend predicted by Pew that shows our dramatic rise as a community, from less than one percent in 1965, to six percent in 2015, to more than double again--14 percent of the total U.S. population by 2065. 

But you don't have to wait 40 years to celebrate. You can start celebrating now.

So consider what all the talk in the Senate over the recipients of DACA (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) specifically, and on immigration in general, is really about.

Anti-immigrant Trumpsters and Republicans so desperately wanting to stop the inevitable. 

They don't really care about the DACA crowd. But they do care about so-called "chain migration and the visa lottery.

And they want that $25 billion wall, as if that will help. If anything, it will build a symbolic anti-Statue of Liberty.

The spitting image of "We don't want your kind."

It's hateful, but Republicans have the majority and it looks like Democrats are reluctantly agreeing to some border security spending--but not a border wall--in order to protect the 700,000 or so covered by DACA and provide the compromise "pathway to citizenship."

The tougher issue is the proposed end to petitioning for mothers, fathers, or older siblings.

This is exactly how Asian American families, especially my own Filipino immediate family, built our toehold in America.

And now they want to end that?  

Even after some of us are being forced to wait for 20 years or more for visas to become available? 

Fortunately, a democracy has checks and balances.

The courts continue to block Trump on all his questionable moves against people of color and minorities. Rights are no small thing.

From the travel ban to DACA, the Trump pattern is clear. Trump tries to reverse commonly accepted norms by executive order or legislative bullying, but then gets stopped by a court's last-minute sense of judicial sanity.

We saw it again this week. 

Trump's dump of DACA was declared a no go by U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Brooklyn, who ruled that DACA cannot end in March as the Republican administration had planned.


Garaufis didn't say Trump couldn't eventually shut down DACA, but said the administration's reasons last September were too arbitrary. The judge then ordered the administration to continue processing DACA renewal applications as it had before the Trump action.

The decision is similar to a Jan. 9 ruling by U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco that DACA must remain in place while litigation challenging Trump's decision continues.

The legal battle to save DACA has been mounted by attorneys general from California, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, the University of California, New York, and DACA recipients. Trump can, as they say, hold his horses, while those cases keep fighting for the Dreamers. 

The Trump administration curtailed accepting renewal applications last year on Oct. 5. But Judge Alsop's ruling allowed anyone with DACA status on Sept. 5 the right to renew. 

That's the key point for all you DACA recipients reading this. Keep applying while you still can, as if Trump did nothing last September.

Because the wheels of justice on this issue are turning.

The Supreme Court on Friday is due to consider whether to take up the administration's appeal of the San Francisco ruling. 

The court could announce as soon as Friday afternoon whether it will hear the case. And, of course, the Supreme Court now has another conservative justice with Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch.

So where does that leave us?

Crossing our fingers. And remembering history.

There was a reason the 1965 immigration law was passed 53 years ago.

There was a moral sense of duty to do the right thing.

Quite simply, the 1965 law was the immigration reform that redefined America, eliminating the racist quotas based on national origin that allowed immigration from all parts of Europe but put a strict cap from Asia and Africa.

It was our "Come on in" moment. Why should only white immigrants be allowed to have all the fun?

And just think about how relatively easy it was to pass this immigration bill. The House vote was 320-70; the Senate vote 76-18. In all, 74 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of Republicans voted for the bill.

When do you get that kind of partisanship for anything these days? The naming of a post office?

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, society was opening up. And America was ready to change its racist immigration laws.

America was always good at race control through immigration. The hand was always tight on the spigot. Chinese immigrants, mostly male laborers, had been the largest foreign-born group in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada in 1880. But the Chinese Exclusion Act changed all that in 1882.

When Filipinos, as colonized U.S. nationals, flooded the fields in California during the Depression, it was the same thing. Brought over as a male labor force, they took jobs from whites, and because there were few Filipinas, they married white women. It started an anti-Filipino fervor that led to the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which rebranded the Filipinos as aliens and subjected them to repatriation.

Racist laws are nothing new in America.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was the way to make up for all that, ending the artificially repressed generations of Asian Americans.

And no one seems to have expected what would happen.

President Johnson was telling folks when he signed the bill that it would not alter America. Sen. Ted Kennedy on the Senate floor downplayed it: "[T]he ethnic mix of this country will not be upset."

They had no idea.

When you put an end to "immigration interruptus," we exploded.

Just look at America's population if the 1965 law had not passed:

Whites: 75 percent 
Blacks: 4 percent 
Hispanics: 8 percent 
Asians: Less than 1 percent 

That sounds like an America for the people who talk about a not-so-great wall and use the term "illegal immigrant" as an act of defiance.

If that's you, note that there are seven states where pre-1965 conditions exist at 1 percent or less Asian, according to the 2010 Census.

There's Maine and North Dakota at 1 percent; Mississippi and South Dakota at .9 percent; Wyoming, .8 percent; West Virginia at .7 percent; and Montana at the bottom with .6 percent.

Imagine the visitor bureau slogans: Go to the Dakotas, where it's still 1965 for Asian Americans!

That's where Trump and the Republicans want to take us, including our Anglo-American friends. (Thanks AG Jeff Sessions for that ad lib this week.)

If Obama's critics wanted everything undone because we were in post-racial America, Trump is heralding a new phenomenon---"pre-racial America."

Whatever you want to call Trump's vision, or anything being debated in Congress now, it is just in denial for what America has become in 2018 and beyond. 

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Emil Guillermo is an independent journalist/commentator.
Updates at www.amok.com. Follow Emil on Twitter, and like his Facebook page.
The views expressed in his blog do not necessarily represent AALDEF's views or policies.

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Feb. 25: DACA renewal and immigration know your rights clinic at Brooklyn Law School


New AALDEF guidance on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)


Remembering AALDEF board member Vivian Cheng-Khanna,1955-2017


2017 AALDEF exit poll: 2,538 Asian American voters polled in 4 states: VA, NJ, NY, MA


Nov. 15-16: AALDEF calls on Asian Americans to mobilize in DC for a clean DREAM Act


Feb. 15, 2018: AALDEF lunar new year gala honoring Preet Bharara, Linda Greenhouse, and Chan Lee


Oct. 1: DACA renewal clinic at Flushing Library


AALDEF denounces ending of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; new DACA fact sheet


Federal appeals court upholds ruling in AALDEF case that Texas election law violates Voting Rights Act


AALDEF denounces introduction of RAISE Act to restrict legal imigration


AALDEF exit poll presentations in Miami, Las Vegas, Atlanta & San Diego


AALDEF statement on the president's voter fraud commission


Screening of new PBS film "Chinese Exclusion Act" and Q&A with Ric Burns and Li-shin Yu on May 23


New AALDEF report: The Asian American Vote in 2016


AALDEF joins amicus brief in State of Hawaii's challenge to revised Trump travel ban


AALDEF condemns Trump Administration's revamped anti-immigrant travel ban


AALDEF joins Korematsu Center amicus brief in challenge to Trump travel ban in Brooklyn federal court