Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim participated in a community forum about a new federal policy allowing the adult children of Filipino World War II veterans to live and work in the U.S.
When the U.S. entered World War II, the Philippines, which at the time was a U.S. Commonwealth, became an important front in the battle for the South Pacific against Japanese Axis Military Forces. More than 250,000 Filipinos living both in the Philippines and in the United States enlisted as U.S. servicemen during the war in the Pacific. Commonly referred to as “veteranos,” the U.S. Military promised them full veterans benefits.
After World War II, President Harry Truman signed the Rescission Act of 1946 that took those veterans benefits away, and Filipino World War II veterans have been fighting to get these crucial medical and financial supports back ever since. A big federal victory came in 2009, with the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided a one-time $15,000 lump sum for the surviving veterans who are U.S. citizens and a $9,000 lump sum settlement for non-citizens.
The Filipino Veterans Fairness Act granting automatic citizenship to World War II veterans has died in committee year after year. In July 2015, the Obama Administration announced that family members of Filipino-American World War II veterans will be granted permission to reunite with their adult children.
The pathway for this family reunification program is the Parole Program administered by the U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“The City of Seattle fully supports the actions of the Obama Administration to help these heroes reunite with their families,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “It has been 70 years since the war ended, and these Filipino-American veterans have waited too long for our country to keep its promise.”
Over 50 Filipino-American community members and supporters attended this educational forum with Mayor Murray and state and community representatives to learn more about this family reunification program. (end)