By Ed Diokno
I think Donald Trump just lost the key swing state of Nevada when he proposed to expand his ban on immigrants to include the Philippines.
At a Trump rally in Portland, Maine, last week, the GOP candidate for President of the U.S. expanded his initial proposal to ban all Muslim immigration when he said he would stop immigration from countries where terrorists are active, including the Philippines.
Granted: Abu Sayyef with ties to al Queda is active in the Philippines, but a ban on Filipino immigration — which already has a 23-year wait list and where 90 percent of its population is Christian — would be akin to banning Oregonians from traveling beyond the state’s own borders because it is a haven for armed anti-government White supremacist terrorists.
“An illegal permanent resident from the Philippines were convicted for plotting to join Al Qaeda and the Taliban in order to kill as many Americans as possible,” Trump said.
He is most likely referring to the case of Ralph Kenneth DeLeon, who was found guilty in early 2015 by a US district judge from California of two counts of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and one count of conspiring to kill American troops and conspiring to receive military training from al-Qaida. He is now serving 25 years imprisonment.
On Meet the Press over the weekend, host Chuck Todd asked Trump if his proposed immigration ban would include countries like France and Belgium which have suffered terrorist attacks in recent years, Trump declined to answer.
Why did I mention Nevada? Filipinos make up more than half of the Asian American population, or 120,000. Although many aren’t registered voters, an aggressive voter registration drive is underway in the AAPI communities that would increase the number of voters substantially.
“We are the biggest Asian community population here in Nevada,” said Cynthia Diriquito, Executive Director of The National Federation of Filipino American Associations-Nevada.
“We are trying to mobilize the force of the Filipinos here in the United States to become registered voters, and for our voices to be heard,” Diriquito said.
“Donald Trump’s latest proposal to renew his call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., as well as ban immigration from countries like the Philippines, shows once again that he is temperamentally unfit and unqualified to be president,” said Jason Tengco, Hillary for America’s National Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Outreach Director.
“These latest comments are an insult to the nearly 18,000 Filipino Americans residing in Jersey City, 127,000 in New Jersey and over 3.4 million across the country.”
On the other side of the world, a Guam legislator asked the island’s GOP to unendorsed Trump.
The message is clear … ya’think?