Editor's Note: As a continuing tribute to our beloved late columnist, Paul Kusuda, who passed November 2017, we are
re-posting his past columns, which are timeless, informative, and very educational. We will always miss Paul, our number
one supporter and adviser. Through his columns, we know that our readers would learn plenty about contemporary issues,
as well as part of American history relating to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and his
Column of February 2010
Selective Service draft status was summarily reclassified from 1A to 4F - ineligible to serve in the Armed Services. A citizen has both rights and
responsibilities. I was so put out by the negative change in my status (loss of civic duty) that I wrote to the President. I received no answer; he
was busy with other important concerns. Citizenship is a prized possession that too many take for granted and assume it cannot be
diminished. It’s a privilege that should be made available to many who are currently barred.
The steps required of aliens to obtain U.S. citizenship are specified in the regulations that lead to naturalization. The process, though arduous
and expensive should be made available to more than those who are now able to pursue the opportunity.
Recognizing the many deficiencies in the current system, I favor relaxation of barriers so that the privilege be extended to specifically qualified
legal immigrants and undocumented (so-called illegal) aliens. Three groups come to mind: children of undocumented immigrants, those who
entered the U.S. legally through the visa avenue, and those who entered through other means.
Immigrants who entered the U.S. using the visa documentation process came to study, teach, work in occupations requiring special talents,
etc. Their stay was assumed to be temporary; they were to return to their home country after their visa time limits expired.
Academic institutions and employers have the authority to ask for visa extensions. Visa holders do not have that option; thus, in effect, they’re in
a next-to-untenable position of being dependent on someone’s say-so to stay in the U.S.
The alternative to the dependency status would be naturalization; however, that is not a viable option because the initial assumption is that the
visa holder would return to the country of origin and not stay indefinitely in the U.S. Accompanying the visa holder is often a spouse and
children. Their status depends on the visa holder’s status. The spouse is not allowed to work; the children, however, can be
educated in the public school system.
Many who entered through the visa portal changed their minds and would like to remain in the U.S. Many would like to become naturalized U.S.
citizens, but they’re not permitted that privilege. That is also true for children and spouses. Federal legislators have been acquainted with many
of the problems faced by those who would like to be permitted to enter the naturalization process. Thus far, the
group is barred.
Federal legislators developed an important shift in immigration laws to enable undocumented students to go beyond high school graduation
to possibly achieve U.S. citizenship. The vehicle (S.729) was introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives but was not
passed in 2009. It is called the DREAM Act of 2009 — Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.
Current requirements include the following: Must be between 12 and 35 when the law is passed, have arrived in the U.S. before the age of 18,
resided continuously in the U.S. for at least five consecutive years since arrival, be a high school graduate or have a GED, and have a “good
This is but a part of the solution; however, it’s one that should be supported. I’ve already communicated with Senator Russ Feingold and
Representative Tammy Baldwin. Both have supported the Bill and will continue to push for it through both Houses of Congress. I recommend
strongly that you contact your two senators and representatives to encourage their strong endorsement of S.729, the DREAM
February is remembered by members of the Japanese American Citizens League and others because on
February 19, 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a Presidential Proclamation, Executive Order 9066, enabling
military authorities to forcibly move 120,000 persons of Japanese descent from the states of Washington,
Oregon, and California to what were called Wartime Civilian Control Centers and then to more-permanent
War Relocation Centers (referred to by some as concentration camps).
About six weeks later, the War Department stopped allowing West Coast Japanese Americans into the Armed
Services. Thus, a citizenship responsibility was taken away purely on the grounds of race. I was 19 when my