Will Donald Trump, our 2016 President Elect, destroy aloha for all races in Hawaii? Will his White House administration profile the various races in our state? After the Republican party won the latest presidential election with Donald Trump as its candidate, many fear that Trump’s promises to deport immigrants living in the United States and to restrict entry of Syrian refugees and new immigrants, will have a damaging effect on families that harbor illegal immigrants. Generally speaking, most immigrants belong to a minority group, and here in Hawaii there are numerous ethnic groups that fall in that category: Filipinos, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Tongans, Micronesians, Vietnamese, and Samoans. Historically, three ethnic groups – the Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos, who provided labor for the sugar and pineapple industries,, have established themselves as an integral part of Hawaii’s economic development, government, and society. As for the native Hawaiians, since their population has declined, they can be regarded as a minority group in the United States. Hawaii, the “melting pot” of the Pacific, has succeeded in assimilating all of its ethnic groups into a unique culture. Now each ethnic group is respected and admired for its contribution to a Hawaiian lifestyle, and they all regard themselves as loyal Americans. Patriotism is color-blind here.
Perhaps it is far-fetched to believe that the federal government could upset our island lifestyle with its new policies. However, many residents here are entangled in situations that involve an immigrant. Many families emigrated to Hawaii to improve their life, but they were unable to bring everyone. Usually one parent or a grandparent is left behind in their Pacific or Asian homeland. Upon reaching Hawaii, they work two or three jobs a day to save enough money to buy a plane ticket for that relative. Many success stories have been heard about how a family is reunited after many years of hard work and sacrifice. And that trend still continues. Will our state be able to provide these opportunities for our citizens in the future? We must remember that newcomers provide the employees and services needed in our tourist industry, and they can contribute to the improvement of our daily life because when they strive to become successful, their endeavors spill over into our communities, enriching our lives.
Perhaps there are also many horror stories about immigrants that warrant their expulsion and rejection. It is true that our welfare system is burdened by their needs, using tax dollars that could be used to fix other problems. And there may be complaints that their habits and customs are difficult to accept, but they are struggling to fit into our lifestyle everyday. Helping them with their language problems and giving advice when needed can make all the difference. We can be good neighbors. This is where our aloha shines through, strengthening our communities.
Donald Trump will be sworn into office in January of 2017. We hope that his promises to isolate and reject immigrants will not reach our Hawaiian islands. Let us remind the new President that we are Americans, first and foremost, and that loyalty is not determined by the color of one’s skin.