July 02, 2016

Hirono Hosts Outreach Event To Assist Filipino World War II Veterans Reunite With Their Families

Filipino WWII Veterans Family Parole Program Is Implemented After Decades-Long Wait

HONOLULU – Senator Mazie K. Hirono today hosted the first in a series of outreach events to assist Filipino World War II veterans in applying to reunite with family members still living in the Philippines.

Senator Hirono brought together close to 50 Filipino veterans and family members with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) District Director David Gulick and members of the Hawaii Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association to provide information and assistance on the USCIS Filipino WWII Veterans Parole Program (FWVP).

Under the program, Filipino veterans whose service has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense, or their surviving spouses, may apply to bring their children and certain other family members to the United States.

“Filipino World War II veterans have waited decades for the opportunity to be reunited with their family from the Philippines. I appreciate the Obama Administration’s recognition of the importance of family reunification for Filipino WWII veterans. A key part to this is the implementation of FWVP and I will work with USCIS and non-profit organizations to make sure these veterans receive timely information and assistance,” said Senator Hirono. “I plan to host outreach events and share information throughout the summer with Filipino WWII veterans across the state.”

Filipino veterans were granted citizenship in recognition of their service to the United States during World War II. Many of their children, however, were not. Due to backlogs in the U.S. immigration system, it can take more than 20 years for immigration applications to be reviewed. Under the FWVP program, families, some of whom have been waiting decades, can finally be together in the United States while their applications are processed. It is important to note that FWVP is an additional process for families of Filipino World War II veterans who have already received approval for their immigrant visas, but continue to wait for a visa number to become available.

Senator Hirono has been the leader in Congress of the effort to reunite Filipino World War II veterans with their families. After years of advocacy by Senator Hirono, the Obama Administration announced last July that it would create a parole program to reunite the families of Filipino World War II veterans. Senator Hirono then pushed the Administration to quickly implement the program and make children eligible for expedited consideration to come to the United States.

MKH and Filipino WWII Veterans

Senator Hirono discusses the FWVP with Filipino WWII veterans and family members at the State Capitol