Express Week

NaFFAA Commends Family Reunification Legislation

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) commends Congressman Mark Takai (D-HI) for introducing the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act of 2015 (H.R. 483). This bill would amend the Immigration Act of 1990, which led to the naturalization of Filipino World War II veterans. However, the law did not apply to their spouses and children.

 

“We thank Congressman Takai for resuming previous efforts to reunite Filipino veterans with their families, many of whom have been waiting for more than 20 years to obtain a green card,” says NaFFAA National Chair JT Mallonga. “Because of numerical limits in the 1990 law, children of Filipino World War II veterans have had to wait up to 23 years to come to the U.S. Our veterans are in their late 80s and early 90s and being separated from their loved ones is a big sacrifice. We hope Congress will act on this bipartisan bill soon, as a humanitarian gesture and as a way of thanking our veterans for their own sacrifice and service during the war.”

Mallonga also thanks Rep. Joseph Heck (R-NV) for co-sponsoring the measure.

This latest initiative comes in the heels of another legislative proposal by Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, Sen. Dean Heller and U.S. Rep. Grace Meng to ensure that Filipino World War II veterans receive their rightful benefits. Called “The Filipino Veterans Promise Amendment,” the bill will provide Filipino World War II veterans a process to prove that they indeed served and are eligible for the benefits they have been promised. About 4,000 veterans whose claims were rejected, have appealed to the Veterans Administration. They maintain that their rejection was based on unfair procedures in determining service eligibility.

Filipino American veterans advocates are also working on a separate issue that would secure a Congressional Gold Medal Award for Filipino veterans who served between December 1941 through July 1946, as members of the US Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE), Philippine Scouts or guerillas.  

 

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a private, non-profit, non-partisan tax-exempt organization established in 1997 to promote the active participation of Filipino Americans in civic and national affairs.  NaFFAA is the largest national affiliation of Filipino American institutions, organizations and individuals. Its thirteen-member regions cover the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, the Marianas Islands, and American Samoa. NaFFAA partners with local affiliate organizations and national coalitions in monitoring legislation and public policy issues affecting Filipino Americans and advocating for issues of common concern.

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