October 31, 2019

Senator Hirono Leads Bipartisan Resolution to Honor Filipino American History Month

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) introduced a bipartisan, bicameral resolution in the United States Senate to recognize the month of October as Filipino American History Month. The resolution celebrates the history and culture of Filipino Americans and honors their contributions to the United States. U.S. Representatives Ed Case (D-Hawaii) and TJ Cox (D-Calif.) introduced a companion resolution, H.Res.621, in the U.S. House of Representatives.  

“The first contract laborers from the Philippines who arrived in Hawaii over a hundred years ago played a key role in the struggle for workers’ rights and thousands more Filipino soldiers fought alongside the United States military to defend our country. Thanks to their efforts, Filipino Americans have made so many important contributions to the diverse tapestry of our nation – from serving in uniform and elected office to leading our business communities,” Senator Hirono said. “I am proud to see Congress come together on a bipartisan basis to honor and reflect on the many contributions by Filipino Americans to our country.”

The Senate resolution is co-sponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Senator Hirono has long been a champion of the Filipino American community. After years of advocacy, Senator Hirono was instrumental in creating the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Filipino World War II Veterans Parole program in 2016. In August 2019, the Trump Administration announced it was terminating the program, and Senator Hirono wrote to Ken Cuccinelli, the acting Director of USCIS, urging him to rescind that decision.

Earlier this year, Senator Hirono reintroduced the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act, which she previously introduced in the 113th, 114th, and 115th Congresses. This legislation would expedite the visa process for children of Filipino World War II Veterans to allow these families to be reunited.

In October 2017, after years of advocacy from Senator Hirono and the Hawaii Congressional Delegation, Congress awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the Filipino Veterans of World War II.

The full text of the U.S. Senate resolution is available here.