Trump “is doing what he usually does, which is speaking without thinking,” said Mike Guingona, a councilman in Daly City, where a third or more of the 104,000 residents are Filipino Americans or of Filipino descent. “For someone to make such a broad and sweeping statement without any evidence is unacceptable.”
Speaking last week at a rally in Portland, Maine, Trump said allowing even legal immigration and tourism from countries plagued by terrorism is “pure, raw stupidity.”
Since last year, Trump has called for Muslims to be barred from entering the United States, and said last month that his position has “gotten bigger ... I’m talking about territories now.”
While he declined to say what nations would be included in a potential ban, he listed the Philippines as an example of where a resident legally moved to the United States and was arrested and sentenced last year to 25 years in prison for terrorist activities. However, there’s no evidence Filipino terrorism has permeated the U.S. — it’s a homegrown movement that generally stays there.
“We’re letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn’t be allowed because you can’t vet them,” Trump said. “You have no idea who they are. This could be the biggest Trojan horse of all time.”
But while it’s one thing to talk about banning immigration and tourist visits from countries like Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Somalia and Yemen, which Trump also did in his speech, putting the Philippines in that group is something entirely different, especially for the Bay Area.
A 2013 study by the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice found that Filipinos are the largest Asian ethnic group in the state, with 1.5 million residents, just ahead of the Chinese. More than half of those residents were born in the Philippines. In 2010, the Bay Area alone had nearly 500,000 Filipino or Filipino American residents.
For Democratic Alameda Assemblyman Rob Bonta, the state’s lone Filipino American legislator, Trump’s statement is nothing more than “divisive and hateful rhetoric.”
Trump’s proposal “is a direct attack on the Filipino community,” said Bonta, a former Alameda city councilman who was brought to California as an infant. “It’s a really important issue for the Filipino American community to focus on.”Photo: Stephen Lam, Special To The Chronicle
In many ways, the concerns of the Philippines resemble those of Mexico, a country Trump has slammed for allowing millions of its residents to enter the U.S. illegally. Immigrants from both countries maintain close ties with relatives in their home countries, regularly traveling back for visits and celebrations. Both countries also depend heavily on remittances, money U.S. immigrants send to relatives in their native countries.
“I know people who go back and forth to the Philippines a couple of times a year or more,” Bonta said. Restrictions on travel in either direction would be devastating for families, he added.
Limitations like those Trump proposes would be disastrous for the Filipino community in Daly City and elsewhere, said Guingona, who is running for San Mateo County supervisor.
“It would be cutting what keeps us together,” he said. “We’re not just talking about immigration, but about people coming here to visit friends and relatives.”Photo: Stephen Lam, Special To The Chronicle
Ressie Gilla moved from the Philippines to join her family in the Bay Area in 1996. On Friday afternoon, she was working in the back of Tselogs cafe on Mission Street in Daly City, helping to put together lumpia, a popular Filipino dish.
“My in-laws are still back there, my friends, my classmates,” she said. “I have a big, very close family, and I want them to visit.
“Besides, without Filipinos here, who would make the lumpia?”
Reaction to Trump’s call for tough immigration restrictions in California and other areas with a large Filipino population has been harsh.
“Donald Trump has expanded his bigoted attacks to include Asian-Pacific Americans,” said Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance (Los Angeles County), who was born in Taiwan. “It is more than just offensive. It is dangerous.”
“Donald Trump’s latest rant suggesting we ban immigration from countries like the Philippines that are helping us fight terrorism is another example of his reckless rhetoric that’s based on fear and division,” said Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, where people of Filipino descent make up about a quarter of the population.Photo: Stephen Lam, Special To The Chronicle
There was even more outrage in the Philippines itself, where one Filipino legislator has filed a bill in the country’s House of Representatives seeking to bar Trump from entering the country.
“Maybe (Trump) is speaking in broad strokes and he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about,” Ernesto Abella, a spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte, said in an interview with a state-run radio station.
Philippines Community Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in an Aug. 5 statement that it was unfortunate Trump mentioned the Philippines in his anti-immigration speech.
Trump “has even professed his love for the Philippines during the (2012) launch of his 57-story luxury apartment” building, Trump Tower, in Manila, Andanar said. “He did say, ‘I’ve always loved the Philippines. I think it is just a special place.’” The building in Manila licensed Trump’s name — he was not the developer.
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The GOP nominee wasn’t entirely wrong about the Philippines’ long-running problems with Islamic terrorism, however. While the country is overwhelmingly Christian, an estimated 6 percent of the population is Muslim, known locally as Moros.
Since the 1960s, the Philippine government has been involved in an off-and-on conflict with Moro fighters, who have called for an independent state on the island of Mindanao. In recent years, a number of the various Muslim groups have joined the Islamic State group and pledged, at least outwardly, allegiance to it and its Middle Eastern leader.
U.S. antiterrorism experts reportedly have worked closely with the Philippine government to battle the homegrown Islamic groups, which have generally confined their activities, including the kidnapping and murder of foreign visitors, to their own country.
But the country’s internal problems don’t warrant a broad-brush attack on the Philippines and its residents, Assemblyman Bonta said.
“There’s a Muslim insurgency in the Philippines, and we need to be sensitive to that reality,” he said. “But let’s see it for what it is and for where it’s happening and not put out sweeping statements that characterize an entire nation.”
To view a video of Daly City Councilman Mike Guingona talking
Source : http://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Trump-upsets-Filipinos-with-proposal-to-block-9140093.php