Background on Filipino World War II Veterans
In 1941, subsequent to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, and in response to President Roosevelt call-to-arms, more than 250,000 Filipino soldiers responded and fought under the American flag…
As a result, and in exchange for their service in the United States Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE), the surviving Filipino soldiers were promised American citizenship and full veterans benefits.
This promise was later quashed by Congress and President Truman in 1946…
So out of an estimated 200,000 who survived the war, only a four thousand Filipino veterans were able to get citizenship before the retraction was signed into law. Source: www/priceonomics.com/how-filipino-soldiers-were-written-out-of-the
Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund
Since the U.S. government reneged on all promises made to the veterans, for over 6 decades, Filipino veterans and community advocates have been fighting to obtain compensation for those who served with American soldiers during World War II. Source: www.sites.ed.gov/aapi/filipino-world-war-ii-veterans
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Finally, under President Obama- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 containing a provision creating the “Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund” was signed into law.
Making it possible for eligible Filipino veterans who are U.S. citizens receive a one-time payment of $15,000; while eligible veterans who are not U.S. citizens receive a one-time payment of $9,000.
To date, over 18,000 claims have been approved. Many Filipino veterans may have been impeded from filing claims or believe their claims were improperly denied.
The Department of Veterans Affairs maintains the latest statistics on the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund at this link. Source: www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/10/17/honoring-filipino-world-war-ii-veterans-their-service
Now for the matter at hand…
Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program “FWVP”
Beginning June 8, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will allow certain Filipino World War II veteran family members who are beneficiaries of approved family-based immigrant visa petitions an opportunity to receive a discretionary grant of parole on a case-by-case basis, so that they may come to the United States as they wait for their immigrant visa to become available.
It is estimated 2,000 to 6,000 Filipino-American World War II veterans are living in the United States today…
“This policy will allow certain Filipino-American family members awaiting immigrant-visa issuance to come to the United States and be with their loved ones. For many, it will also allow them to provide support and care for elderly veterans or their surviving spouses.” _USCIS Director León Rodríguez.
With the exception of immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, long waiting periods exceeding a 20-year span is possible before family members may join petitioning U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the United States and become permanent residents themselves.
Under this current policy, certain family members of Filipino World War II veterans may be eligible to receive a discretionary grant of parole to come to the United States before their visa becomes available.
In limited cases, certain eligible relatives will be able to seek parole on their own behalf when their Filipino World War II veteran and his or her spouse are both deceased.
Humanitarian-based Discretionary Relief
Under the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program, USCIS will review each case individually to determine whether authorizing parole is appropriate.
When each individual arrives at a U.S. port of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will also review each case to determine whether to parole the individual.
Legal authority for this parole policy comes from the Immigration and Nationality Act, which authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to parole into the United States certain individuals, on a case-by-case basis, for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
The Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program starts on June 8, 2016. Parole under this FWVP Program should be requested within 5 years from June 8, 2016.
Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program References
By Judgefloro (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons