Hawaii Congressional Delegation Continues Work to Reunite Filipino WWII Veterans With Their Families

May 24, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC—Senators Mazie K. Hirono and Brian Schatz, and Representatives Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act today, a bicameral bill that would expedite the visa process for children of Filipino World War II veterans.

“More than 200,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers served our country during World War II, suffering, fighting, and giving their lives for the freedoms and liberties we hold most dear,” said Representative Tulsi Gabbard. “Today, these brave veterans are in their late 80s and older, with many having waited decades to be reunited with their family members who are stuck in the immigration pipeline.  They cannot afford to wait any longer. This legislation recognizes and honors the service of our Filipino WWII Veterans by expediting the visa process for their children and allowing them to finally be together as a family in the nation our veterans served.”

“When called to serve, Filipino World War II veterans fought and sacrificed alongside American servicemen,” said Senator Hirono. “However, as a result of our country’s antiquated immigration system, these brave soldiers have been waiting more than a half century to be reunited with their loved ones. While the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole program provides temporarily relief for Filipino World War II veterans and their children, this bill codifies our nation’s promise to reunite these families.”

“Filipino World War II veterans deserve to be reunited with their families in the country they served,” said Representative Hanabusa. “It’s time for Congress to put families before bureaucracy.  Congress must remove the artificial barriers to immigrant visas contained in the current law and bring the families of our veterans together now.”

“Filipino World War II veterans in Hawaii and across the country have been waiting to be reunited with their families for decades,” said Senator Schatz.  “For these aging veterans who are now in their 90s, time is running out. It’s time to finally do the right thing, honor our promise to these veterans, and reunite them with their loved ones.”  

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Representatives Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Al Green (D-Texas), Gene Green (D-Texas), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), and Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) are cosponsors of the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act.



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