August 02, 2019

Hirono: Trump Administration Decision to End Filipino World War II Veteran Parole Program “Serves His Pathological Need to Treat Immigrants as Cruelly as Possible”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) issued the following statement after the Trump Administration announced it was terminating the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program (FWVP):

“To serve his pathological need to treat immigrants as cruelly as possible, and to undo any program ever created by Barack Obama, Donald Trump is dishonoring Filipino World War II veterans by ending the program that allows them to reunite their families in the United States. The President’s decision means many of these veterans in their 90s will likely die without seeing their families again.

“The depths of Donald Trump’s inhumanity where immigrants are concerned knows no bottom, but not even the most loyal of his supporters can be in favor of disrespecting the brave and distinguished service of veterans who fought alongside Americans and helped us win the war. There is no purpose to keeping the families of the quickly diminishing number of Filipino World War II veterans separated. They have been ignored and disrespected by this country for decades. They deserve our thanks, not spite from their unhinged president.” 

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. Senator Hirono was instrumental in creating the program in 2016and encouraged the Trump Administration to continue the program in an April 2017 letter.

Last month, Senator Hirono met for a second time with the Milla Family – the first family in Hawaii to benefit from the FWVP program in 2017. 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.

In May, Senator Hirono reintroduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to build on the FWVP program to reunite Filipino World War II veterans with their families in the United States. Senator Hirono has introduced the bipartisan legislation in the 113th114th, and 115th Congresses and offered it as an amendment to the Senate’s 2013 bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, S. 744, which passed the Senate.