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Jun 03rd
Home Sections Filipino-Veterans' Lobby Fil-Vets Family Reunification Bill Gets Boost in U.S. Senate
Fil-Vets Family Reunification Bill Gets Boost in U.S. Senate PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Filipino-Veterans' Lobby
Wednesday, 20 October 2010 17:52



Journal Group Link International)


C HICAGO (jGLi) –  The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act filed under H.R. 2412 has gotten a boost when it was enclosed under the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 (S. 3932) jointly introduced last Sept. 29 by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ), according to a press release issued by the National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity (NAFVE) and the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).


The House bill introduced by Rep. Mazie K. Hirono (Hi-D) and co-sponsored by 11 others, including Representatives Neil Abercrombie (HI-D), Bob Filner (CA-D) and Michael Honda (CA-D), would “exempt children of certain Filipino World War II veterans from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas.”


This means that their immigration visas will be outright available as soon as their applications are approved.


The bill will amend Section 201(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1151(b)(1)) by adding at the end the following: “(F) Aliens who are eligible for an immigrant visa under paragraph (1) or (3) of section 203(a) and who have a parent who was naturalized pursuant to section 405 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (8 U.S.C. 1440 note).’


Ben de Guzman of NAFVE hailed the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) for securing the support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev-D) and Representative Filner for passage of resolutions in both chambers to re-affirm October as Filipino American History Month.


Senator Reid introduced Senate Resolution 669, formally recognizing this month as Filipino American History Month. While Rep. Bob Filner, the Congressional U.S. Philippine Friendship Caucus chairman, issued a floor statement, reminding his colleagues that the House Resolution 780 officially recognizes Filipino-American History Month in October.


M eanwhile, NAFVE has been working with Sen. Daniel Inouye (HI-D), who introduced a measure, seeking additional support for Filipino WWII Veterans, who are eligible to receive a lump-sum $15,000 for U.S. citizens and $9,000 for non-U.S. citizens.


NAFVE also worked in concert with NaFFAA when NaFFAA’s national vice chair, Rozita Lee, was appointed by President Obama to be a member of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).  Another Filipino American, who was also appointed to the same Presidential Advisory Commission, is Atty. Hector Vargas of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.


Some NAFVE and NaFFAA officers were on hand to witness the swearing in of both Ms. Lee and Mr. Vargas.


Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Benefits of the U.S Department of Veterans Affair Mike Cardarelli leads the group, where he’s second in command for the Veterans Benefits Administration that oversees Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation implementation. The NAFVE and NaFFAA have been providing them with recommendations on how to better connect with veterans, their families and advocates to clarify the FVEC implementation and appeals processes.


The Center for Minority Veterans at the VA, as well as Maj. General Tony Taguba, who recently ended his term as the chair of the Center’s Advisory Commission, continues to be advocates for the veterans from within the VA.


In August, Senator Daniel Inouye pushed through an additional allocation of $67 million, under H.R. 4899 Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010, to ensure that the FVEC would be able to meet its obligations to to the Filipino veterans. His stalwart support despite politicized opposition has been critical to making sure that the Filipino veterans are able to get the benefit they’ve fought so hard to win.


NAFVE confirmed Representative Jackie Speier (CA-12-D) supports for full equity with her staff and continues to build support among “our friends on the Hill.” Also among those steadfast in supporting the cause of the Filipino veterans is Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (HI-D), chairman of Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, as did the late Sen. Ted Stevens (Alaska-R).

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