Senate committee OKs Filipino Veterans Family Reunification amendment
WASHINGTON, D.C.–Filipino World War II veterans who have waited for years to reunite with their adult children have something to cheer about today. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved an amendment introduced by U.S. Sen. Maize Hirono (D-HI) that would fast track these children’s approved visa applications.
“We thank Sen. Hirono for pushing this amendment through so that our aging veterans can reunite with their loved ones sooner than later,” says NaFFAA National Chairman Ed Navarra. “We also thank the many advocates and activists in the Asian Pacific American community who have worked hard for an immigration reform bill that preserves families and restores a measure of justice especially to our veterans who risked their lives for our country.”
The Hirono amendment was among 300 items submitted to the committee during its mark-up session, which started three weeks ago. Chances for its approval were high because both houses in Congress had previously approved a similar measure.
However, other amendments submitted by Hirono failed, including one that would have provided limited relief for families due to prolonged separation from their siblings or children not in the U.S. “This is extremely disappointing,” adds Navarra. “We are nonetheless appreciative of the senator’s determined efforts to fight for families and speak for millions whose voices aren’t often heard.”
Now that the Senate Judiciary Committee has approved Senate Bill 744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” the full Senate is expected to vote on the measure in the coming days.
“A significant step has been taken to fix our broken immigration system,” Navarra points out. “But we have to stay in this fight to ensure that Congress passes a just, fair and humane legislation.”
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