Washington, D.C. (May 18) – Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai’i) today reintroduced the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act, H.R. 2412, aimed at exempting the sons and daughters of Filipino World War II veterans from immigration quotas that have delayed the receipt of immigrant visas to the United States, which has kept these family members apart.
Some 200,000 Filipinos served with American troops during World War II. About 18,000 of those Filipino veterans are alive, today. Thousands reside in the United States, with a significant number of these veterans living in Hawai’i.
“These soldiers were members of the United States Armed Forces of the Far East. They were led to believe that at the end of the conflict they would be treated the same as American soldiers,” said Hirono. “It took more than
sixty years to begin to make good on our commitment. The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act recognizes the special circumstances surrounding this group of soldiers.”
In 1990, the Congress recognized the courage and commitment of the Filipino World War II veterans by providing them with a waiver from certain naturalization requirements. As a result, many veterans became proud United States citizens and residents of our country. However, allowances were not made for their children and many have been waiting decades for petition approval.
The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act would allow for the further recognition of the service of these veterans by granting their children a special immigration status that would allow them to immigrate to the United States and be reunified with their aging parents.
Congresswoman Hirono initially introduced the bill in 2007. A companion bill will soon be introduced by Hawai’i Senator Daniel K. Akaka in the U.S Senate.