FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chris Rivera, National Operations Officer
National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) Continues Support of Filipino World War II Veterans and Families
Largest coalition of Filipino Americans seeking opportunity to best honors survivors of the last Great War
Washington, D.C. — (September 9, 2019) – Recently, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) terminated the existing Filipino WWII Veterans Parole program, which established parole for Filipino World War II veterans and their spouses, who are U.S. citizens.
As the largest, and only federally-recognized coalition of Filipino American associations in the country speaking on behalf of the over four million Filipinos and Filipino Americans, NaFFAA will continue to advocate for Filipino World War II veterans. Throughout its 22-year history, NaFFAA has worked closely with legislators from both major parties to resolve issues affecting Filipinos and Filipino Americans, particularly when it directly affects them. For the last four years, NaFFAA and the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders, in conjunction with the White House Office of Public Liaison, has had the opportunity to celebrate Filipino American History Month in October, commemorating notable Filipinos and Filipino Americans and key moments throughout our country’s history.
Brendan Flores, President and National Chair of NaFFAA stated, “NaFFAA has been confronted with many issues directly affecting the over 4 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans. In particular, our Filipino WWII Veterans, who served valiantly side by side with American soldiers, have lived full lives without due recognition. Sadly, many of these same individuals have lived many years without their families still in the Philippines, but seeking to be reunited.”
In August, NaFFAA held its 13th National Empowerment Conference in Carson, California. Hosted by Noel Omega, NaFFAA Greater Los Angeles Region Chair and Co-Founder of the Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Los Angeles, delegates of dozens of member organizations as well as friends, and supporters convened to coordinate the efforts of the Fil-Am Community and working with government leaders regardless of their political affiliation. Two of the plenary speakers were Brunswick, Ohio Mayor Ron Falconi and Texas Pastor Herman Martir, President of the Asian Action Network. Both served on the Trump Campaign’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Committee, during the 2016 election. Pastor Martir was recently nominated by President Trump to serve on the White House Initiative on AAPI. A resounding message from the Conference was a call to action for a united Filipino American Community being involved in our neighborhoods and in our local governments. Mayor Falconi noted that it was important to be a volunteer and be a part of the political process.
Flores continues, “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, immigrants are about 17 percent of the American workforce in fields such as health care, education, and trade. The Asian American unemployment rate, as well as the overall unemployment rate of the country has been at historic lows because of the booming economy. The immigrant unemployment rate has also been on a steady decline, currently at 3.5%. Statistically, immigrant residents of the United States are a steadily increasing and staunchly contributing proportion of the American workforce. As such, it makes sense to find a solution to reunite the families of our war heroes quicker if the parole program would not be in effect. I am hopeful this administration and our legislators in Washington will find our best options to expedite family reunification, using the appropriate channels and procedures, so our Veterans can live out their remaining days with the opportunity to pass their legacies on to their families. NaFFAA will work with the administration on the most proper way to honor these individuals who put their lives on the line to make sure we all can live in the prosperity we find ourselves in today.”
For more information on NaFFAA, visit www.naffaa.org.
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The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Established in 1997, NaFFAA has beenpromoting the welfare and well-being of the 4 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans throughout the United States. NaFFAA’s vision is to serve as the voice of all Filipinos and Filipino Americans by uniting, engaging, and empowering diverse individuals and community organizations through leadership development, civic engagement, and national advocacy.