Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Representative Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) to introduce the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act today, a bicameral bill that would expedite the visa process for children of Filipino World War II veterans.

“Our country will forever be indebted to the Filipino veterans who fought bravely alongside American troops during World War II,” said Senator Feinstein. “Reuniting these veterans with their families is just small token of the enormous gratitude we owe for their service.”

“When called to serve, Filipino World War II veterans fought and sacrificed alongside American servicemen,” said Senator Hirono. “However, as a result of our country’s antiquated immigration system, these brave soldiers have been waiting more than a half century to be reunited with their loved ones. While the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole program provides temporarily relief for Filipino World War II veterans and their children, this bill codifies our nation’s promise to reunite these families.”

“Filipino World War II veterans deserve to be reunited with their families in the country they served,” said Representative Hanabusa. “It’s time for Congress to put families before bureaucracy.  Congress must remove the artificial barriers to immigrant visas contained in the current law and bring the families of our veterans together now.”

Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Representatives Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Al Green (D-Texas), Gene Green (D-Texas), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Darren Soto (D-Fla.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), and Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) are cosponsors of the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act.

“I’m honored to represent the vibrant Filipino American communities of Virginia, including those who fought bravely alongside Americans during World War II,” said Senator Kaine. “An outdated immigration system has kept these veterans separated from their families, who remain overseas. Their reunion is even more important because of the veterans' advanced age and healthcare needs. This bill builds on the progress we made last year by expediting the visa process for children of Filipino World War II veterans. I'm proud to stand alongside Senator Hirono once again in this just cause.”

“It is unjust that Filipino World War II veterans have to wait for decades just to see their families again,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Our aging veterans need the company and care of their loved ones, and it’s only right that we honor their service and sacrifice by extending the benefits that Filipino vets received to their children. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation that will permanently fix outdated policies that have delayed the reunification of veterans and their families.”

“Filipino World War II veterans in Hawaii and across the country have been waiting to be reunited with their families for decades,” said Senator Schatz.  “For these aging veterans who are now in their 90s, time is running out. It’s time to finally do the right thing, honor our promise to these veterans, and reunite them with their loved ones.”  

In 1990, the United States granted Filipino veterans citizenship in recognition of their service to the United States during World War II. Their children, however, were not granted citizenship. Currently, veterans must file for a family visa to be reunited with their children in the United States. Because of an antiquated immigration system with limited numbers of family visas available each year, it can take more than 20 years for these applications to be reviewed. The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act exempts the veterans’ children, approximately 20,000 individuals, from the numerical limitation on immigrant visas.