By Don Tagala, ABS CBN North America Bureau

May 23, 2013

Washington, DC – Children of Filipino World War II Veterans may be reunited with their loved ones sooner than they think, if the comprehensive immigration reform bill is signed into law.

The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act — an amendment to the far reaching immigration overhaul was unanimously approved without debate by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

New York immigration attorney Elaine Carr said the act would fast-track approved visa applications by veterans who have been waiting for years to reunite with their adult children.

“Binibigyan niyan ng exceptions yung numerical limit, ang ibig sabihin nito magiging immediately available ang mga Visa para sa anak ng mga Veterano natin,” Carr said.

Lourdes Tancinco, who heads the Veteran’s Equity Center said the community is grateful to Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono for introducing the amendment — as it’s the least America can offer to the families of heroes who have fought for this country and struggled for more than half a century for recognition.

The American Coalition for Filipino veterans estimates 20,000 visas could be issued to the sons and daughters of Filipino World War II Veterans if the bill is enacted.

Even the families of all deceased qualified veterans would benefit from the act.

Maria Consuelo Almonte of the Philippine American Group for Aging Seniors in America (PAG-ASA) is urging lawmakers and President Obama to fast-track this piece of legislation.

“I will tell him that he should be very grateful to the Filipino Veterans who fought side by side from the United States and who have not received compensation until recently,” Almonte said, “They should not beg for these things, they should welcome them to come here.”

In Washington, DC Democratic Senator Richard Durbin recognized the sole Filipino-American World War II Veteran present in the committee hearing.

96-year-old Celestino Almeda stood up and was thanked by Senators.

Almeda gave them a salute despite his difficulty in hearing and walking.

From here on, there will be debates on the senate and house floor and amendments may be tossed or kept in the final version of the comprehensive immigration reform bill.

The challenge now, according to advocates, is to let legislators know that there is tremendous support for the veterans family reunification act.

“We continue to pray,” Carr said, “We know that it’s going to happen.”

2 Comments on this post.

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  • kikayPang0
    24 May 2013 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Another twenty thousand of free loader migrants will apply to collect welfare

    • reebee
      2 July 2013 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      don’t be so selfish, as long as it’s not comming from your pocket then don’t worry about it.