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 part of American history relating to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and his personal
Column of January 2010
Naturalization: A privilege needing extension to would-be
The New Year is a time to look backward for inspiration and forward to plan for the future. So, that explains my backward look for five years.
Hopes for the future are not as easy to see. Fruitions depend on others. My efforts to effect change have not always been successful. One hope
I’ve had is that naturalization procedures be extended to many of those who are on the outside looking in on an
unattainable prize: American citizenship.
Unfortunately, that requires much prodding of people in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, and the President.
President Barack Obama is favorably inclined to expanding naturalization processes to many who are now excluded, such as the millions of
undocumented immigrants. However, though he could suggest and encourage change, he cannot change laws. And that is how it should be.
Our form of government is comprised of three distinct, but closely related branches – Legislative, Judicial, and Executive. Each has a role.
Thus, we have a democracy, not a monarchy or a dictatorship. So even though the process might appear to be too slow for some of us to
accept, in the long run, the sometime-tortuous path is preferable to the quick action that could take place
under a dictator, benevolent or not.
If enough people made their demands for fair play known to their legislative representative, they will be heard, and action will be possible.
Each of us has two U.S. Senators (in Wisconsin, they’re Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl) and one of the eight Congress Representatives from
Wisconsin (mine is Tammy Baldwin). All three are responsive to constituent contacts. Your congressional representative is identified by the
district in which you live. Both senators and your representative should be known to you and should be contacted periodically to assure that he
or she is aware of your interests.
Last month, I mentioned how my parents had to wait for several decades before they could even apply for U.S. citizenship. They were so
glad to be able to enter the process which was denied them because of their country of birth, Japan. They were so proud that so many years
after they came to the U.S., their wish came true. They became bonafide U.S. Citizens in 1952. The same opportunity should be made available
to many of the residents who are eager to start meeting the myriad of naturalization requirements that will take years of effort and many dollars.
The Immigration Act of October 3, 1965, ended the strongly biased national origin method of discriminating against Asians who
wanted to come to the United States. Before the Act, most of the immigrants came from Europe. After the change, most came from Mexico,
South and Central America, and Asia. The complexion of America began to change. The Southeast Asians who came to the U.S. as refugees
faced many obstacles: language, customs, laws, climate, etc. Through hard work and tremendous effort, they are making a
positive impact on American society. Many have run the gauntlet of naturalization processes and have become U.S. Citizens.
Next month, I shall review some of the problems faced by persons who came into the U.S. through the visa process to study, work in
occupations requiring special talents, etc., or through the non-legal entry to become known as illegal immigrants, undocumented aliens, etc.
Should naturalization be made available to them? My answer is “YES!” My perspective on both groups of U.S. residents will be
It’s year 2010, a decade past Y2K — the year computer programmers dreaded because of inadequate pre-
planning. It’s 2010, five years since the first issue of Asian Wisconzine. What a long. long difficult trail for
Editor/Publisher Heidi Pascual! Her valiant efforts to keep the publication going, including improvements over
initial issues, deserve commendation. I hope readers will let her know of their appreciation. Positive feedback
gives heart to editors, especially someone like Heidi who works so hard to see that Asians are not lost in the
news shuffle. I understand that her website gets many, many hits. My friend in North Carolina is among those
who read Asian Wisconzine on the web.