To draw the energy inward, your energy, is to commit to self-preservation and its moral necessities.
Im/migrants have only this energy to hold on to when the going gets rough, I suppose.
For im/migrants trying to come to terms with the definitions of the American dream when im/migration questions are big questions, the energy ought to be drawn inward, much of it.
In the basic binary of migrant life over here, there are only two terms: the 'ligal' and the 'illigal'.
There is no in-between, no gray areas.
With these big issues of migrant life being tackled with political undertones by both the U.S. Congress and and the Immigration Services, and with both sides interested to come up with an honest-to-goodness immigration program for this country, some 'ligal' Filipinos who are desperate to get to the 'green card' stage are wishing, Sana, sana, nagtago na lang ako, naging illigal para makasama sa amnesty.
This is not amnesty, we tell them. This is a guest worker program, and there are no blanket guarantees here.
Mas mabuti pang naging illigal ako, they would counter-argue. There is despair without a name here.
Silence would set in when conversations like this become some kind of an either/or, a Kierkegaardian choice like that of Abraham's offering of his son to his Yahweh.
Because the popular notion--and in a way it is true--is that when you get the green card, all the doubts and worries of migrant life would be erased.
That wish is unfounded, as a matter of fact.
The 'ligal' can not qualify in this new experiment on what is loosely understood as 'a guest worker program' courtesy of President Bush the son, this one who presided over the invasion of Iraq to counter-act the terrorist ideology of all the enemies of democratic life.
So there, more energy needs to be drawn inward.
Last night, we heard a discussion. If one were on an employment-based immigration process, you need eight years before you have that card that says you are a registered resident alien.
Or ten years if fate is not so much on your side.
But the waiting is worth it.
In the meantime, there is not much choice for the Filipino migrant worker on a working permit: he has to stay here for all the years until he gets that card of deliverance, that green card that is no longer green.
It is that light pink plastic card of hope with your picture and your name and your alien number and the ten-years of expiration date, assuming that in between its issuance and the tenth year, you shall have decided whether you want to become the next president of Malacanang and only Malacanang and never your own people and country, or sing the "for the land of the brave/and the home of the free".
A. S. Agcaoili
June 19, on Rizal's nth b-day anniversary, finished June 20, 2006