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Chinese Immigrants

July 16, 1993

* I read the recent articles concerning the Chinese immigrants aboard ships off the Baja coast with sadness and anger. Being a Chinese-American, I felt sadness because history is repeating itself as in the last century when thousands of Chinese came here as laborers to mine gold and build the railroads, only to be treated with discrimination and hatred. While Ellis Island was the gate to liberty for European immigrants, Angel Island was the gate to detention, sickness and segregation for Chinese immigrants.

Instead of detaining these immigrants on an island, the Clinton Administration decided to detain them on the ships that they came on. The Administration is using the Chinese as a pawn to dramatize our border issue with Mexico. How can this Administration preach human rights to others when it so grossly ignores human dignity when it is politically expedient?

The U.S. should not pawn them off on the Mexican government. They have enough problems to patrol their own borders with us. The number of illegal crossings from Mexico to the U.S. in one day is more than all the illegal Chinese immigrants in several years. The Chinese should be brought to land and processed according to our immigration laws. Those who can show genuine fear of political persecution should be granted asylum. Those who cannot should be repatriated expeditiously.



* I can't help wondering that maybe, just maybe, aboard one of those ships carrying Chinese immigrants off the Baja coast, is someone who can figure out a cure for AIDS. Or perhaps one of those ships carries the financial genius who can get us out of the budget crisis.



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