More than any other nation on earth, the United States of America has a long history of immigration and even integration policies. Its primordial townships and cities were all a product of European, primarily English, immigration to the New World. On the other hand, the African-American population, were forcibly emigrated from the deserts of Africa to serve as chattel for colonial and American landowners to tend their cotton and corn fields. At present, different kinds of races from the world over has populated the different cities of the US, which includes Chinese, Japanese, Middle Easterns, Hispanics, Malays, and Filipinos.
They have entered the US mainland in search for the American Dream, leaving behind their usually poverty-laden countries in pursuit of a better life in the United States. While various races walk about the streets of cosmopolitan areas and even the rural countryside in the US now, this study is particularly interested in the immigration of Filipinos to the United States and the particular integration policy which the US government affords them, because of their home country’s continuing colonial and post-colonial relations with the United States.
The Philippines, unlike the other countries and races mentioned above, is different because it was once the colonial pride of the United States in South East Asia. Even after its nominal independence in 1946, the United States even continued to exert influence in Philippine politics and economy due to several trade agreements signed in the last century, notwithstanding treaty agreement that ensured the continued operation of US bases in the Philippines, including Subic Naval Base which at one time was the largest naval base outside the continental United States. (Constantino, 1987)
As a result, the United States offered many privileges to Filipinos who wanted to flock to the United States in search of a new home and livelihood. According to Migrante International (personal communication, 2007), a non-government organization supporting Filipino migrants abroad, the United States, for the longest time, was very generous in granting citizenships and even green-cards to Filipinos, especially professionals in the field of engineering and healthcare, notwithstanding giving the brightest Philippine military cadets scholarships to prestigious American military academies such as West Point in New York.
At present, Filipino nurses, and even doctors, have relentlessly immigrated to the United States, to fill the unceasing demand for foreign nurses, nursing technicians and caregivers in thousands of hospitals in the US. While this immigration of healthcare professionals has been detrimental to the Philippine healthcare system, it has given tens of thousands of previously underpaid Filipino healthcare professionals the opportunity to receive adequate compensation for their work in US hospitals.
The United States government, on the other hand, even if generous in providing citizenships and green-cards to Filipino professionals, have been utterly strict when dealing with illegal Filipino immigrants, in the same manner that Border Patrol agents continuously crack down on illegal Mexican immigrants.
According to Migrante International (personal communication, 2007), Filipino illegal immigrants have a very hard time securing employment, usually contenting themselves with odd jobs, as they do not possess the required federal licenses for employment, such as the Green Card, to the extent that these illegals face immediate deportment once found to have overstayed in the United States. Nonetheless, the US government still affords adequate integration measures for legal immigrants to live a normal American life as they have access to free public education and even healthcare services.
Being true to the democratic ideal of equal opportunities, no formal-legal discrimination exists between natural-born citizens and naturalized citizens such as Filipino immigrants. More so, the right of Filipino communities to organize themselves and form societies for their benefit, unity and enjoyment is also protected by the US government as part of fundamental democratic rights afforded by the US Constitution. As a result, countless county-, city-, and even state-wide organizations have been set-up by Filipinos to consolidate themselves to be productive force in American society, economy and even politics.