POSTSCRIPT / July 24, 2016 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Opinion Columnist

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Trump anti-crime line looks familiar

FILIPINOS listening to Donald Trump’s speech accepting the Republican Party’s nominating him for US president last Thursday could not fail to notice that his line of thought seems to run parallel to that of President Rodrigo Duterte.

And the comparison continues… since Duterte’s unorthodox campaign rhetoric worked, will Trump also capture the White House by knocking long-held political concepts and practices? Not necessarily, since, to mangle an American expression, that would be like comparing Sunkist and singkamas.

This is not to imply that Trump or his speechwriter copied Duterte’s lines, reminiscent of Trump’s wife Melania being accused of plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s speech in the 2008 Democratic convention. There’s no way Melania can come close to Michelle’s delivery.

Interestingly, a CNN/ORC poll taken right after Trump’s acceptance speech showed that 56 percent of those who heard him said they were more likely to vote for him in the November election. But then they still had to hear Democratic presidential bet Hillary Clinton talk back.

Like Duterte attacking runaway crime (especially the narcotics scourge) and official corruption, promising to solve the twin problems in six months, Trump made a big issue of scattered violence taking scores of innocent lives in the US.

Trump told his cheering fellow Republicans packed in the Cleveland stadium: “Together, we will lead our party back to the White House, and we will lead our country back to safety, prosperity, and peace. We will be a country… of law and order.

“Our convention occurs at a moment of crisis for our nation… Americans watching tonight have seen the recent images of violence in our streets and the chaos in our communities.”

As Duterte promised to end crime in three to six months, Trump pledged: “The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon — and I mean very soon — come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.”

Trump cited statistics: “Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore. In the President’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone.”

But unlike a resolute Duterte promising to end crime and corruption in six months, Trump set no deadline: “When I take the oath of office next year, I will restore law and order to our country.”

Trump wants tighter immigration law

ONE POINT that raised concern among many Filipinos, whose migrant wings tend to waft them across the Pacific to the US, was the announced intention of Trump to tighten immigration laws if he becomes president:

“Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens. The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015.”

Later in his 75-minute speech he went back to it: “I only want to admit individuals who will support our values and love our people. Anyone who endorses violence, hatred or oppression is not welcome in our country and never will be.

“Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers. We are going to have an immigration system that works, but one that works for the American people.”

Deploring the violence inflicted by wayward migrants, he again mentioned “the wall” – which was so odious that even Pope Francis flying home from a pastoral visit to Mexico last February commented on it.

Trump said: “We are going to build a great border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities. By ending catch-and-release on the border, we will stop the cycle of human smuggling and violence. Illegal border crossings will go down.

“On January 21st of 2017, the day after I take the oath of office, Americans will finally wake up in a country where the laws of the United States are enforced.” (As they would say in Manila, “malabo yan.”  Even a Duterte needs six months, not one day after taking office.)

• Pinoys merge positively into US society

INTENDING immigrants, including Filipinos, need not be scared of a still hazy Trump presidency. The billionaire businessman aiming for the White House was referring to illegal entrants.

Filipino Americans, a subset of Asian American immigrants, are proud to have a good record as US citizens. Demographics show them to be – compared to other minorities – generally better educated, more productive revenue-wise and easily assimilated into the mainstream.

The 2010 census placed the number of FilAms at 3.4 million, and the State department placed their number in 2011 at 4 million. They are the second largest group of Asian Americans, second to Chinese Americans.

The number of illegal or undocumented FilAms, sometimes referred to as TNT (tago nang tago), is estimated at 200,000 to 400,000.

Per census, Asian immigrants have been the fastest growing sector, followed by Latinos. Trailing them in population growth are African Americans and Caucasians. California whose long coastline faces Asia has the biggest concentration of Asians, followed by New York.

Statistics show that Filipinos comprise the largest Asian group in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, Wyoming and South Dakota. The Chinese are the largest Asian group in Colorado, Oregon, Utah, District of Columbia, North Dakota, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of July 24, 2016)

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