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Keith McCullough
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  • Coming To AmeriKa 1 comment
    Jun 15, 2009 9:30 PM

    In the fight between you and the world, back the world.

    - Franz Kafka


    The Wall Street Journal (9 June, "Buddhist Monk Faces Worldly Green-Card Matters") recounts the tribulations of Phra Bunphithak Jomthong, a Buddhist monk who has been living in Southern California for four years, serving a community of émigrés from his native Thailand.  In keeping with his vow of poverty, the 47-year-old Mr. Jomthong sleeps on the floor in the temple in Pomona where he leads daily rituals, runs a 24/7 family services emergency hotline, and teaches Thai language to the children of immigrant families.  He is fed by donations from members of the community and owns nothing except his begging bowl, his robes and the blanket in which he wraps himself to sleep each night.


    Mr. Jomthong entered this country under an R-1 visa, a designation created to permit religious organizations to import persons qualified to perform certain religious duties on a temporary basis.  Mr. Jomthong became popular at the temple where he serves, and they requested an extension of his visa.  The extension was duly granted by the Immigration authorities - but with a retroactive expiration date, which meant it had lapsed before it was even granted.  Mr. Jomthong, who has applied for a green card, now faces deportation because, says Immigration, he "engaged in unauthorized employment" during the period in which his visa was no longer valid.


    Or, perhaps to put it more succinctly, the immigration court asserts that Mr. Jomthong performed services for compensation during the period in which he would subsequently discover his belatedly-awarded renewed visa had been retroactively effectuated, with a prospectively accelerated term of expiry. 


    In other words: he followed the rules, as they were explained to him by Immigration, and now he is facing deportation. 


    In other other words, says a former immigration official, "we are dealing with a system in which it can be extremely difficult to play by the rules."


    What was Mr. Jomthong's "employment", in violation of the terms of his R-1 visa?  Referring to his acceptance of alms, the immigration court said he had been "remunerated... albeit on a modest, non-salaried basis..." 


    What policy purpose is served by expelling Mr. Jomthong from the US?  Even we are not so cynical as to suggest that the government fears he may be a sleeper cell for some as-yet unheard-of terror organization. 


    Perhaps the Feds fear this is a clever ruse to bring foreign talent in under the radar.  A Buddhist monk enters the US on a religious visa, without disclosing that he also has a PhD in computer science.  Once he gets his green card, he throws off his saffron robes and goes to work for a Silicon Valley start-up where he will create several hundred new jobs.  Or maybe he will move to Greenwich and run a hedge fund...


    No, this is a backlash against the offshoring of American jobs.  American citizens should come first - both as workers and as mendicants.  We applaud the court's taking a stand to protect American beggars.  There are those who claim that foreign beggars do not interfere with American beggars, because they accept pittances that any self-respecting American panhandler would spurn.  We say that Americans who toss their quarters in a blind man's cup are entitled to know that those donations are going to support American indigents. 


    The insinuation of foreign beggars into the ranks of the indigent is a threat to our society.  Now, Americans will unknowingly toss their nickels, dimes, and unwanted tuna sandwiches to smiling silent beggars who will go home and feed their children while speaking to them in languages like Thai, Hmong and Bengali.


    This will undermine the hard-won stability of this nation, a nation that has grown great on the hard work and sacrifice of generations of citizens who grew up speaking German, Greek, Italian, Hawaiian, Yiddish, Tagalog, Polish, Cantonese, Spanish, Japanese, Slovenian, Vietnamese...

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  • User 433775
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    generally these chinese/bengali speaking people are headed for atleast white collar jobs.But there will be some fools like you who will be jealous of them due to the fact that you are skill less moron.Better Luck next time.
    18 Jun 2009, 11:03 PM Reply Like
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