The details of a new policy that will enable family members of Filipino World War II veterans to apply to come to the United States while waiting the issuance of their visas, were revealed Monday by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
This policy change, which will be in effect June 8, is in recognition of “the extraordinary contributions and sacrifices of Filipino veterans who fought for the United States during World War II,” stated a press release from Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
“Advancing Justice | AAJC is proud to have played a leading role in the advocacy effort that resulted in this long-awaited relief for Filipino World War II veterans and their families,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of AAJC. “This action is long overdue.”
The parole policy, also known as Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act of 2015, was approved in September last year. It covers veterans’ surviving spouses who petition for their adult children to join them in the U.S. Furthermore, family members may be able to seek reinstatement of immigration petitions filed through veterans who are now deceased, and then self-petition for parole.
Estimates indicate that there are approximately 2,000 to 6,000 Filipino American World War II Filipino veterans still alive in the United States today, many of whom greatly desire to have their family members with them during their final days.
“If even 10 apply, it’s still the right thing to do,” said Rodel Rodis, a San Francisco-based lawyer who for decades, has done pro bono work on behalf of the veterans.
Details of this new policy can be found in the Federal Register, where it was filed two days ago.
For more information, contact Maura Nicholson, Deputy Chief, International Operations Division, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW., Suite 3300, Washington, DC 20529, Telephone 202-272-1892. (This is not a toll-free number.)
H.R. 2737: Congressional Gold Medal for vets.
In other news, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke on the House floor last month to call for quick passage of H.R. 2737 to award Filipino Veterans of WWII the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the U.S. Congress. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in June 2015, has 76 cosponsors in the U.S. House, and is partnered with S.1555 in the U.S. Senate.
“There are more than 200,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers who responded to President Roosevelt’s call-to-duty. They fought under our American flag during World War II.
“These loyal and courageous soldiers suffered, fought, and gave up their lives alongside their American counterparts throughout the war. Yet decades have gone by, and they are still waiting for their service to be recognized.
“I’ve introduced H.R. 2737, legislation that is strongly supported by members of both parties, and in both chambers, to award these deserving veterans the Congressional Gold Medal so that our country can show our appreciation and recognize them for their dedicated service and sacrifice in defeating the Imperial Japanese Army.
“Today there are just 18,000 of these Filipino World War II veterans who are still alive today. Time is of the essence. We cannot afford to wait. I urge my colleagues to quickly pass this legislation so that these courageous men may be honored while they are still among us.”
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)
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