For English Press 1, for Tagalog Press 2

What does it take to come to the United States and become a citizen? Just getting a visa can be daunting. When the topic of immigration comes up, most people are thinking Latinos. They think Mexicans. If you live in Virginia Beach you might overlook the fact that a large local Filipino community faces their own immigration hurdles. Perhaps because the vast majority do things the legal way, you don’t hear about it. Some have even fought in WW II alongside the US against the Japanese. You would think that would be an easy ticket to naturalization for them and their families. Yea………you’d think that. I was disappointed when I learned the truth.

How many Filipinos live in Va. Beach according to US Census 2000?

  • Virginia has the 9th largest Filipino population among US states
  • Virgina has a Filipino population listed at 47,609
  • Hampton Roads has a Filipino population of 32,000+
  • Virginia Beach was listed with a Filipino population estimate of 17,000-22,000

If you look at those numbers from the 2000 US Census, you see a strong concentration in Va. Beach. Why so many here? The military probably has something to do with it. Another question is why aren’t Filipinos brought up when the “Immigration” subject gets raised? Is it bacuse the vast majority does it legally? Is it because among the 2 million Filipinos living here that they have the 2nd highest household incomes among all asian groups and are among the lowest on the welfare rolls? Do you have to behave badly to garner any attention?

Source for the above:Old Dominion University FAQ page

How difficult is it to legally immigrate? I’m still looking into that one. It does appear that getting one of the numerically limited visas is quite difficult.

Do you think fighting in a war for the US will earn you a fast track to citizenship? Well, that depends on what you consider fast and how long you live. Take a gander at this Virginian Pilot Story and you’ll get a glimpse of the struggle of Regino Barreda to gain citizenship and get his family over here.

You see, in 2007 Barreda was an elderly 81 year old. He fought alongside the US against the Japanese. Filipinos were led to believe that citizenship and financial benefits would be given to them for service in war time. Shockingly, America welched on the deal with the Rescission Acts of 1946. Barreda joined the war effort in 1943 but didn’t gain citizenship until 1990 thanks to the Immigration Act of 1990! Apparently some things do take an act of Congress to get done. As you will note in the article, as of 2007, Barreda was STILL waiting for his children and grand children to be able to join him in America. I don’t know……maybe he hopes it will happen before he dies. It is a sad commentary that the greatest and freest nation on the planet deals with agreements in this way. Just what do you have to do to be welcomed here……other than be a doctor or engineer?
Another Pilot Story you might be interested in.

I tried to find out if things have changed since 2007. I’m still looking into this but, it appears not. There were two major pieces of legislation that seemed to go into Limbo in 2007.

  • H.R. 1287, The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act
  • H.R. 760, The Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2007

While it does appear that some financial compensation was delivered and perhaps some money in the recent “Stimulus” bill, the Family Reunification Act  appears to dead end. Basically, The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act allows relatives of the veteran to bypass numerical restrictions on visas. For what ever reason, it appears a partisan issue. The co-sponsor list is a who’s who of Democrat party bosses. Source.   Why? Isn’t it the right thing to do? Shouldn’t it be bi-partisan?

Which brings us to money allegedly to be found in the upcoming “Stimulus” bill. Apparently recent Democrat legislation and “Stimulus” bill legislation opens up money to citizen and non-citizen veterans here or in the Phillipines.

At least Pres. George H.W. Bush signed the Immigration act of 1990, otherwise efforts seem to be Democrat lead. Why? Is it about buying votes and preventing votes?

 Regardless, both sides should just suck it up and get it done. Streamline the visa process for their relatives while your at it. It’s the honorable thing to do. Correct a broken promise.

I don’t pretend to know everything about this. If you have more information feel free to let me know. I’m willing to do a follow up.

I hope you found this to be worth reading and somewhat informative.

Freedom is the solution – Britt Howard

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