Saturday, February 04, 2006

SHINE LIGHT ON OUR SHADOWS

One of the biggest lies opponents of open immigration tout around is that foreigners are a threat to our “limited resources.” Hardly anything that runs our great territory comes from our own natural resources. 99.99% of everything we enjoy comes from off-island. It would be more accurate for anti-immigrant folks to say that foreigners are a threat to our “limited sources of welfare” instead of our limited natural resources. Only then would they be honest about what they’re really trying to protect.

The only reason people send their commodities down here in the first place is because they expect people to pay. Therefore, it’s only logical to conclude that if foreigners (and locals) pay for what they receive, like medical services and education, they’re adding to the economy not depleting it.

And to say that immigrants are a threat to our traditional way of life is to say that the Fa’asamoa cannot stand on its own two feet in the marketplace of ideas. It is saying that without the force of government, Samoans would abandon a system of communal cooperation that has stood the test of time, from Tongan occupation to freedom under the US flag.

If we were to really respect our traditions, we would allow our families and our matai to decide who lives or doesn’t live on our lands. For open immigration doesn’t mean imposing foreigners onto other people’s property. It means respecting our families’ right to choose instead of having this one-size-fits-all type of immigration policy.

And as Judge Ward II pointed out, our immigration laws are “putting people in positions to be exploited.” Go figure. Why seek the protection of a government that has branded them illegal? Instead, they lurk in the shadows to survive amongst the thugs and criminals. This is the same effect our drug laws are having on our own people.

I decry Senator Tuaolo’s reckless legislation to impose more restrictions on the free movement of people. Instead of shining light onto our shadows, his legislation would further engulf American Samoa into the dark.

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