Fil Ams Push For Comprehensive Immigration Reform

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (FAXXNA/jGLi) – Despite the very frigid weather, some Filipino Americans continue to push for the passage of the Comprehensive Immigration Reforms (CIR) that is foundering in the United States House of Representatives during this mid-term presidential election year.

At the Usap-Usapan (conversation) Town Hall meeting held on February 9 at the Transfiguration of Our Lord Parish Church at 2609 West Carmen in Chicago’s northside after a Tagalog Mass, dozens proceeded down to the expansive basement hall and empowered themselves with the latest updates on immigration and citizenship issues sponsored by the Chicago-based Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE).


“We discussed the achievements of 2013, including the Senate immigration Bill and the Illinois Temporary Visitors Driver’s License,” according to E-Newsletter that AFIRE rolled out February 13. “As we forge forward in 2014, we shared our immigration stories and proved into which issues mattered most to the Filipino community.”

“In the end, it was clear that Citizenship for all and Family Reunification became the most important issues,” the e-blast said.

The participants resolved to spread the word by coming up with more articles in Filipino newspapers, increase their promotions presence on emails, Facebook accounts and other social media. They plan to hold another Usap-Usapan meeting in March.

AFIRE’s Executive Director Jerry B. Clarito urged participants and others to join AFIRE in its next free Citizenship Workshop on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Wright College at 4300 North Narragansett in Chicago’s northside. Interested parties who may want to attend may call Sally at 312.925.8451 for RSVP.


This event will be open for those planning to apply for U.S. Citizenship – those who have been Green Card holders during the last five years.

Also next Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8:30 a.m., parties interested to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may also attend free DACA Assistance Workshop at Benito Juarez High School at 1450-1510 West Cermak Road in Chicago.

Trained attorneys among them Mike Aguhar and volunteers led by Sally Richmond, Tess Gutierrez and Al Cabagnot will be on hand to assess eligibility requirements for DACA. Applicants may call RSVP Michael at 773.580.1025.

DACA applicants should be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; came to the U.S. before their 16th birthday; continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 up to the present; physically present in the US. on June 15, 2012 and at the time of filing of application;

They must have entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012 or their lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012; must be currently in school, have graduated, have a general education development (GED) certificate, or must have been honorably discharged from the Armed Services of the U.S.; have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Application fee is $465 and benefits will be good for two years and renewal after two years.

The comprehensive immigration reform bill (Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013) was passed last year in the U.S. Senate by an overwhelming 68 to 32 majority votes but it stalled in the Republican-dominated House, whose leaders vowed to pass piecemeal legislation instead this year. They have until the end of the year to pass the bill. If not, the bill dies and would have to be revived next year by the 100-member Senate, one-third of whom or 33, will be up for re-election this year, and all of 435 members of the House, running for a two-year term, will all be up for re-election this year.

If Republican congressmen, who oppose the bill, will lose in this mid-term election and winners will support the bill, the bill has a good chance of passing next year, provided the newly elected crop of Senators will support the bill.



EMPOWERING COMMUNITY: Jerry B. Clarito, Executive Director of Alliance of Filipino Immigration Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE), at townhall meeting. (FAXXNA/jGLi Photo by Marlon L. Pecson)


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