July 03, 2019

Hirono Promotes Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program, Encourages Eligible Veterans to Apply for Program before 2021 Deadline

Established by the Obama Administration, the FWVP Program has Reunited Hundreds of Veterans with Family Members in the Philippines

HONOLULU – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono encouraged eligible veterans to apply for the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole (FWVP) Program today during a meeting with the Milla Family – the first family to benefit from the program in Hawaii. Senator Hirono successfully lobbied the Obama Administration to establish the FWVP program in 2016. The program, which has successfully reunited hundreds of families in the United States, will expire in June 2021. 

“Facing a decades-long visa backlog, thousands of our aging Filipino World War II Veterans have been unable to reunite with their family members still living in the Philippines. But thanks to the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program, nearly 300 families have been reunited in America,” Senator Hirono said. “It is inspiring to see the impact of the FWVP program on the Milla family, and I encourage every eligible veteran to apply for the program as soon as possible.”

Today’s visit in her office at the Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building, was Senator Hirono’s second meeting with the Milla Family. After waiting more than 20 years for an immigrant visa, the FWVP program enabled Jeorge Milla to be reunited with his mother in Hawaii while awaiting his visa. Jeorge and his wife Juseline are now employed in Hawaii, their two daughters Jasmine and Jeraldine are attending college, and they have all earned their Green Cards.

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 the volume of immigrant visa applications from the Philippines, it can take more than 20 years for families to be reunited. Under the FWVP program, the adult children of Filipino World War II veterans, along with their spouses and children under age 21, can finally be together in the United States while they await an available immigrant visa.

In addition to her efforts to establish the parole program, Senator Hirono has been the leader in Congress fighting for a permanent legislative change to reunite Filipino World War II Veterans with their families. Earlier this year, Senator Hirono joined Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in the House and Senate to reintroduce the Filipino Veteran Reunification Act – legislation she has introduced in every Congress since she was first elected in 2007. 

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