Filipino Dreamers Applaud Senate’s Approval of Immigration Reform

By Steve Angeles, ABS CBN North America Bureau

June 28, 2013

Los Angeles – Seth Ronquillo calls himself a ‘dreamer.’ His parents brought him to the United States as a child on a tourist visa that later expired. He and his family have since been undocumented immigrants. Now a college student at the University of California Los Angeles, he joined about a hundred people outside of the Federal Building, and watched as 68 senators voted in favor of a sweeping immigration overhaul which could change his life as well as another estimated 11 million who came to this country illegally.

“It’s not a perfect immigration bill but at least it’s something that’s going to get us started at the right place. There’s only moving forward from here on,” Ronquillo said.

‘Kababayan’ Jedi Jimenez shares the same story. He and his twin brother were brought by their mother to America when they were babies.

“I’m glad that my mom will be able to have a pathway to citizenship on the other hand it is sad to know that my brothers won’t be able to reunite with us,” he said.

While advocates call the senate’s vote a victory in the immigration debate, the bill’s passage brings them concerns, including the proposed border control measures and the elimination of some family based petitions.

“There are certain things in this bill that we are still not happy with. There are things in this bill that separate families, that militarize borders instead of using that $46 billion for education and healthcare,” said Alex Montances of the Filipino Migrant Center, “and there are still unjust deportations that are going on.”

While the senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of immigration reform, reports estimate that the house version of the immigration legislation does not have the majority support needed to pass the bill.
“We need work together and stand up for what is fair and just. Next week we turn to the House of Representatives,” Montances added.

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