(KHNL) - Hawaii 's multi-cultural society was created through decades of immigration. But some are worried President Bush's new plan for illegal aliens will negatively impact would-be immigrants from other countries.
It's a hot issue racing across the country that has many taking sides, how to stop the thousands of illegal immigrants from coming across our borders. Here in Hawaii , it’s quite a different story, as celebrations are taking place because of a hundred years of Filipino immigration. Many of those who came here have stayed, to become an important part of our society.
Now, under Bush's proposal, some immigrants from Mexico who have gotten into the US illegally will also be allowed to stay. "I believe that illegal immigrants who have roots in our country and want to stay should have to pay a meaningful penalty for breaking the law, to pay their taxes, to learn English and to work in a job for a number of years. People who meet these conditions should be able to apply for citizenship."
But some Hawaii Filipinos are concerned about the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have been following the rules and waiting for a chance to come here.
"I understand the waiting list for visas in Manila is 500,000, so you may have to wait 15-20 years before you're issued one." says Germiniano Arre Jr. with the Filipino Community Center.
Arre speaks from experience, after petitioning to bring his two sisters over they had to wait eleven years to be issued a visa.
Many Filipinos have flourished here in Hawaii and Arre understands that many immigrants are just looking for a chance to better their lives.
"Perhaps we should give into some of the demands of the illegal immigrants, in terms of allowing them to work here but it should come at some price."