Filipinos hope Obama's SOTU touches on immigration

By Steve Angeles and Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Jan. 27, 2014

LOS ANGELES – On Tuesday night, many eyes will be on President Barack Obama as he delivers his fifth State of the Union address. For Filipinos and their community leaders living in the U.S., there’s one pressing subject they hope to hear him — immigration.

“Obama needs to push for immigration reform. There’s a lot of Filipinos that can benefit from it. It’s about time undocumented immigrants become citizens so they could vote and give back to the community. There’s a lot of talented Filipino-Americans,” Fe Koonz, a community leader and journalist said.

Noel Wychico, another community leader, added, “Immigration is most important because I’m also an immigrant and I want to make sure Filipino-Americans receive the right treatment from our U.S. government,” said Noel Wychico, a West Covina community leader.

Since President Obama assumed his second term last year, there has been buzz that the long awaited immigration reform may happen. The reform began to materialize as a “Gang of 8” senators began work on an immigration overhaul which eventually passed the Senate. However the momentum seems to have slowed down as House Republicans instead are opting for a more step-by-step approach to tackling immigration issues, motivating some Filipinos to continue taking action throughout the year.

Besides immigration, a new report by the Pew Research Center showed that more people in America want President Obama to tackle fixing the economy during his SOTU. No wonder it’s a big concern. According to a FOX analysis, workers are taking home the smallest part of U.S. income on record. While the U.S. annual economic income stood at $15.8 trillion, workers don’t benefit much from it Instead, corporate profits get the biggest share.

Related to the economy is income inequality, another topic Americans want President Obama to discuss. A recent report from Oxfam cited in the U.S., the wealthiest one percent got 95% of post-financial growth since 2009, while the bottom 90% became poorer.

Another big issue for Americans is raising the minimum wage. Lawmakers in at least at least 30 states are sponsoring or are expected to introduce measures to raise the federal minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.

Meantime, as President Obama prepares to deliver his SOTU, he got slammed with a new poll that showed lower approval ratings on him, compared to a year ago. A new CNN non-partisan poll stated that Obama’s approval rating stood at 44%. A year ago, at his second inaugural, his approval rating stood in the low to mid 50s.

It remains to be seen if Tuesday’s SOTU could turn things around for the president, with millions of people in America monitoring how he will set the agenda for 2014.

For more information, you may contact Steve Angeles at or Henni Espinosa at for more information.

3 Comments on this post.

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  • JD
    28 January 2014 at 7:07 am - Reply

    Hey ComOn, Filipinos wake-up the only reason, Obama might talk about immigrations is because of the votes for the white house ? Some of the filipinos leaders they not telling the truth, they say are a lot talented filipinos from philippines, ComOn why filipinos from philippines has all the dumb jobs ? Or they have to go back to school because they come from a 3th world country ? Who are you all trying to do make the filipinos look dumb ?

  • catholic_against_idiots
    28 January 2014 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Hey JD, you make the Filipinos look dump! If what you are saying is true, then it is a very weak case to spend that much money on immigration when immigrants can’t even vote right away. They have to become a naturalized citizen of this country and that take years. It is easier to spend money, campaign and sway the majority of population than to focus on mere small percentage of immigrants.

  • noz
    28 January 2014 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    the immigration reform of BO is amnesty to buy the votes of the hispanics, and the amnestied to be a lifetime voters of the democrats. amnesty is detrimental to the US economy, now in the 12th place globally. INS laws do not need reform, what it needs is enforcement by the federal government in particular the POTUS, who have not done its jobs for decades to deport illegal aliens, to currently reach a total of 30 million illegal aliens, who have illegally crossed the USA borders, and the illegal aliens overstayed with expired visas, now crying injustice if amnesty are not granted, my foot, costing hardworking income taxpayers 33 billion dollars a year should make citizens PUKE sick to their stomach. the reform, the INS laws badly needed is for individual states be given power to enforce the INS laws of deporting illegal aliens, for sure will get rid of millions of illegal aliens. america have not closed its door to welcome legal aliens. its the illegal aliens, level headed americans want to weed out on this very, very, very bad economy. yes its the economy fool, not the illegal aliens american people are concern about, but the concern is to actively deport illegal aliens.