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Filipino Veterans Reunification Bill Reintroduced in Senate

FilAmStar, News Report, Jun Medina Posted: Jul 02, 2009

WASHINGTON D.C. U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) has reintroduced a bill that would speed up the reunification of Filipino World War II veterans who have opted for U.S. citizenship with their children seeking to join them in America.

The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act of 2009, a companion bill to a similar measure now pending in the House of Representatives, exempts the veterans children, about 20,000 individual in all, from the numerical limitation on immigrant visas.

The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), and Maria Cantwell (D-Washington).

In seeking an exemption from the numerical limitation on immigrant visas for the children of the Filipino veterans, our bill will address and resolve an issue rooted in a set of historical circumstances that are now nearly seven-decades old, Senator Akaka said.

The proposed measure does not require any appropriation and will serve to reunite the aging and ailing veterans with their children and honor their too-long-forgotten World War II service to this nation, Akaka said.

Of the 30,000 surviving Filipino World War II veterans, 7,000 are US citizens and live in the United States. Many filed visa petitions for their children who remained in the Philippines.

Now in their 80s and 90s, these veterans continue to wait for their children, who wait 12 or more years to join their elderly parents, Akaka said.

Immediate passage of the bill would be a great gift to the surviving Filipino veterans seek to be with the children in the remaining days of their lives, said the staunch supporter of the Filipino veterans.

Last month, Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) reintroduced a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

HR 2412 or the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act proposes to exempt the sons and daughters of Filipino veterans from immigration numerical quotas that have delayed processing of their U.S. visas, leaving them no choice but to wait as much as 18 years.

Hirono said thousands of Filipinos petitioned by their veteran parents stand to benefit once the bill is enacted into law.

A staunch supporter of Filipino veterans, Hirono said about 200,000 Filipinos served with American troops during the last world war. According to her, only about 18,000 of those Filipino veterans are alive, including the 7,000 to 8,000 living in the United States, most of them concentrated in California, Hawaii and a few other states with large concentrations of ethnic Filipinos.

Related Articles:

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