Challenges ahead for Filipino veteran parole program applicants

by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN News
WASHINGTON DC – On Dec. 15, President Obama signed into law action to bestow Filipino WWII veterans the congressional gold medal –one of the highest civil awards in the US.

However, funding to produce and replicate these congressional gold models is the least of these manongs’ problems in the coming months.

US Ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, recently presented travel documents to the first beneficiaries of the Filipino WWII veterans parole program at the US embassy in Manila.

The program is for legal immigration for immediate relatives of Filipino WWII veterans, so they are able to care for their veteran relatives in the US.

Eric Lachica, an advocate, says he is concerned over the fate of the program after President-elect Trump’s announced plans to undo many of Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
“We’ve talked to some of the immigration, US Immigration service officers, and they are unsure whether it will be continued under the new President program,” said Lachica.

“So we have to lobby President elect Trump… to continue the program. It’s really unfair to deny the sons and daughters, who paid their fees many years ago to become US immigrants, to be penalized by [Obama’s] executive order or Pres. Obama being discontinued…

Lachica says the USCIS estimates about 6,000 Filipino veteran dependents will be impacted if this executive order is reversed.

“As of yesterday, there’s been very few applications that have been approved. We’ll only know by probably in January or Ferbruary, how many have been submitted,” he said. “Maski namatay na, even if the veterans have passed on; their children can self-apply.”

Another challenge the manongs and their relatives will face is a potential processing fee increase for the program, from $360 to $570, beginning December 23.

Lachica is encouraging all eligible veteran dependents to file their parole application as soon as possible before the $210 increase takes effect.

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  • Mario
    16 December 2016 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    On January 20,2017, Trump inauguration and maybe the following day he will cancel all executive orders signed by Obama..Veteran dependents eligible for parole status should file now before it is too late….