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 personal story.
Column of May 2010
accorded to American citizens; however, fairness and justice are part of America’s democratic fabric. We have many rules to follow, and we do
so because of their intended benefit. We drive to the right side of the road. We don’t smoke where prohibited.
Most of us wear seatbelts when we drive or are passengers. Early in life, we’re taught to be careful when we sneeze or cough. We have
compassion for others. We help strangers as well as those we may meet and never see again. Deep down, we believe in sharing good
fortune, helping those in need, and in fairness and justice.
When it comes to naturalization, we either do not think about it (unless we happen to know someone who is or might be involved) or we oppose
the entire idea because it’s someone else’s concern. Some, because of racial dislike or other reason, actively oppose the notion that
undocumented aliens should be allowed naturalization rights. In fact, some espouse denying them public-funded health resources. They fail
to realize that such denial not only disregards individual and family distress and harm, it can lead to spread of communicable diseases.
There are some who oppose providing naturalization access to undocumented aliens on their proposition that they comprise a drain on our
economic well-being, that they depend on public aid for their existence. The fact is, they contribute to our economy. Their labor is needed, not
only in southern and western states, not only as fruit or vegetable workers but also in other worksites including technical, special, and
professional such as medical and related fields, teaching, research, etc.
In Wisconsin, for example, undocumented aliens are essential in dairy farms. Dairy and other farms require a great deal of labor-intensive
attention. This is true with respect to many other occupations in Wisconsin as well as in other states.
Much can be said about the need for farmhands and related laborers.. Suffice to note that a Twentieth Century problem is the dwindling need
for non-skilled manufacturing jobs but continuing need for agricultural hands. Needed for both large-scale and family farms are workers willing
to do heavy and often boring work for long hours and minimum pay. Such laborers are in great demand, but most Americans dislike such
employment. The American Dream is quite different for most.. Other visions spur us on.
Thus, increasingly, there is wide need for laborers willing to work hard for long and inconvenient hours for minimum pay. The federal
government reacted to the outcry from those responsible for our nation’s agricultural and dairy products and arranged for short-term immigrant
stays—migrant and other workers. The immigrants came to work, found the pay to be more than they could earn “back home,” and let their
families and friends know of the situation. As a result, people came without necessary documentation—that is, illegally. Soon, the outcry was:
“They’re taking away our jobs!” Most Americans don’t want the labor-intensive, low-paying jobs, but complaints are heard.
And so it was when Chinese were invited to help our railroads. Then, the Japanese were invited. Eventually, the outcry was similar except that
the racial aspects were more stringent. People from Asian countries were denied opportunity to become U.S. citizens whether they were
immigrants with legal documentation or not. Documentation was not the criterion; race was! That barrier was finally lifted during World War II
for the Chinese and for other Asians after World War II.
Now, it is time to drop the barriers for current undocumented aliens. To allay the suspicions of those who vigorously oppose the idea because
of concerns related to security and trust, specific conditions could be established somewhat like (but more fair and humane) those
incorporated in the DREAM ACT.
Church, social, ethnic, advocacy, and other organizations should form a coalition to develop a reasonable plan for transmittal to elected federal
representatives. Perhaps, an existing advocacy organization such as the American Civil Liberties Union , which has a Wisconsin chapter, might
be motivated to put together such a coalition and lead and staff it. Why not?
This is the concluding elaboration of my concern that naturalization processes are denied to many who could very
well become U.S. citizens needed to continue the well-being of our country . Because of short-sighted racial
prejudice , primarily directed toward Hispanics who have migrated from Cuba, Mexico, and South American
countries, the future loss to our nation is blindly ignored. Such racial biases hurt not only individuals but also our
More thought needs to be taken by administrators responsible to carry out naturalization policies toward making
recommendations for changes in regulations aimed specifically to loosen requirements while guaranteed rights