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Philippine News: FilAm war vets urge passage of reunification bill

April 18, 2007 5:50pm
WASHINGTON D.C. – “I want my children to fulfill the great American dream. It’s been 10 years since I submitted my petition to get my five children. We’ve been waiting far too long, “ Cornelio Santos, 81, said while waiting to see Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy in his office.

Santos, who is from Spring Valley, New York, traveled with other FilAm veterans to this capital city hoping to speak with Kennedy and/or New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer.

With him in this lonely trek was veteran Rafael Peralta, who fought in World War ll and the Korean War. Peralta has been waiting since 1995 to get his five children to join him here, but their papers have remained untouched at immigration office.

Filipino veterans, who fought side by side with American troops during World War ll ,are hoping that a new immigration reform would include family reunification for aging veterans. For these aging veterans, allowing their children to move to America would be a great consolation, considering that they had sacrificed and fought for freedom and protect American interests in Asia Pacific during the war.

The two elderly men were not able to speak with either senator, but their staff offered assurances that the lawmakers would try to reach a compromise with the Republicans who oppose the bill.

The veterans, old and frail, have stepped up their campaign for a family reunification law that would enable their children to come to the United States. The proposed law could become part of the immigration reform legislation currently under debate in Congress.

“I’m a widower, I live alone in Washington State. I petitioned for my children in the Philippines 14 years ago. I’m getting old and sickly, I want my children to be with me in the last days of my life, but I’m still waiting, “ said veteran Benito Valdez. - Philippine News
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