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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Filipino World War II veterans who have waited for years to reunite with their adult children have something to cheer about these days.

The Senate judiciary committee unanimously approved an amendment

that would fast-track approval of the children’s visa applications. The amendment was introduced by U.S. Senator Maize Hirono (D-HI).

“We thank Senator Hirono for pushing this amendment through so that our aging veterans can reunite with their loved ones sooner than later,” said Ed Navarra, national chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).

“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 of its approval were high because both houses in Congress had previously approved a similar measure.

However, other amendments submitted by Hirono failed. These include 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,” Navarra said. “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, also known as the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act,” the full Senate is expected to vote soon on the measure.

“A significant step has been taken to fix our broken immigration system,” Navarra said. “But we have to stay in this fight to ensure that Congress passes a just, fair and humane legislation.”


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