WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) announced her co-sponsorship of legislation to exempt children of Filipino World War II veterans, who were naturalized by President George H.W. Bush, from caps on immigrant visas. Rosen also helped introduce the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act last Congress was she was a Member of the House.
“Our previous failure to thank and acknowledge Filipino World War II veterans for their service is a shameful chapter in our history that we must keep correcting,” said Senator Rosen. “This legislation would exempt the children of Filipino World War II veterans, many of whom have been waiting decades to be reunited with their loved ones, from immigration restrictions. It’s unconscionable that our country’s broken visa backlog continues to prevent these families from seeing one another, especially considering how many years have passed since these veterans valiantly served and sacrificed for our country.”
BACKGROUND: During World War II, the Philippines was a U.S. territory. More than 260,000 Filipino servicemembers fought on behalf of America during World War II. Following the war, Filipino veterans were denied many of the benefits offered to other veterans from the war. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush granted U.S. citizenship to about 26,000 Filipino nationals who served in World War II.
Today, of the few thousand Filipino veterans who are still alive and living in the United States, many have been trying to bring their children into the country, but because of the backlog in family-based green cards, Filipino applicants must wait more than two decades before their applications can be considered.
Last Congress, then-Congresswoman Rosen also co-sponsored the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act, which mandates that all Filipino WWII veterans be considered fully eligible for veterans’ benefits, fulfilling the U.S. government’s promise after many decades.