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S.2757 Title: Military Families Act 

Sponsor: Sen Menendez, Robert [NJ] (introduced 11/9/2009)      Cosponsors (7) as of 9/11/2010

Latest Major Action: 11/9/2009 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

COSPONSORS(7), ALPHABETICAL (Sort: by date)
    SUMMARY AS OF: 
    11/9/2009--Introduced.

    Military Families Act - Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General to adjust the status of an eligible alien to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence if the alien: 

    (1) applies for adjustment (with a time limit for an alien applying as a family member of a deceased Armed Forces member); (2) is admissible to the United States as an immigrant; (3) pays the application fee (unless waived); and (4) is physically present in the United States.

    Applies such provision to an alien who is: (1) a parent, spouse, child, son, or daughter (and their spouse, child, son, or daughter, if any) of a living Armed Forces member or of a deceased Armed Forces member who died as a result of service-incurred injury or disease; or (2) a son or daughter of a Filipino parent who was naturalized based upon active duty World War II service in the Philippine Army, Philippine Scouts, or a recognized guerilla unit.

    Defines "Armed Forces member" as a person who: (1) is, or was at the time of the person's death, a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident; (2) is serving, or has served honorably on or after October 7, 2001, as a member of the National Guard or the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or in an active-duty status in the U.S. military; and (3) if separated from service was separated under honorable conditions.

    Waives specified grounds of inadmissibility and authorizes the waiver of additional grounds of inadmissibility.

    ----- Congressional Research Service---------

_____________________Analysis__________________________

Permanent Resident Status For Sons and Daughters Of

Naturalized Filipino World War II Veterans

By Roman P. Mosqueda,     B.S., LL.B., LLM., & S.J.D.

            Legislation authorizing adjustment of status to permanent resident of sons and daughters of naturalized Filipino World War II veterans, exempted from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas, are before the current 111th Congress of the United States.

             Indeed, on May 14, 2009, H.R. 2412, a bill to exempt children of certain Filipino World War II veterans from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas, was filed in the House of Representatives by Ms. Hirono, Mr. Ambercrombie, Mr. Filner, Mr. Honda, Mr. Faleomavaega, Ms. Bordallo, Mrs. Maloney, and Mr. Farr.

             And on November 9, 2009, S.2757, a bill to authorize the adjustment of status for immediate family members of persons who served honorably in the Armed Forces of the United States during the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, and for other purposes (which include a son or daughter who has a Filipino parent who was naturalized pursuant to section 405 of the Immigration Act of 1990), was filed in the Senate by Mr. Menendez, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Feingold, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mr. Inouye, and Ms. Landrieu.

             Thus, both House and Senate bills cover the exemption from direct numerical limitations on immigrant visas for sons and daughters of Filipino World War II veterans naturalized pursuant to section 405 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (8 U.S.C. 1440), which provided naturalization through active-duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War 1, World War II, Korean hostilities, Vietnam hostilities, or other periods of military hostilities.

 Differences Between  S.2752 and H.R.2412:

            S.2757 (cited as the “Military Families Act”) is for immediate family members (parent, spouse, child, son, or daughter) of persons who served honorably in the Armed Forces during the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, but adds a son or daughter under the family-based first preference (unmarried sons and daughters of citizens) and third preference (married sons and daughters of citizens) who has a Filipino parent who was naturalized pursuant to Section 405 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (8 U.S.C. 1440).

             So, a son or daughter of a Filipino World War 2 veteran, who was naturalized before the Immigration Act of 1990, is excluded from the coverage of the Senate bill and also of the House bill.

             Since the rider on a son or daughter of a naturalized Filipino World War II veteran is included in the bill primarily for military families of veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is easier to pass Congress, than H.R. 2412 (cited as the “Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act”), which is exclusively for children of naturalized Filipino World War II veterans.

             Moreover, S.2757 provides for adjustment of status in the United States for a son or daughter of a naturalized Filipino World War II veteran, (1) who applies for adjustment, (2) is admissible to the United States as an immigrant, except for waivers of some grounds of inadmissibility, and (3) is physically present in the United States.

             H.R. 2412 does not require physical presence in the United States of a son or daughter of a Filipino World War II veteran who was naturalized also pursuant to Section 405 of the Immigration Act of 1990. So, they may apply for an immigrant visa through consular processing in the Philippines or elsewhere outside the United States.

 Issues In Both S. 2757 And H.R. 2412 On Eligibility:

  1. S.2757 Does Not Require Relative Petition:

S.2757, in its section 2(a), states that the immediate family member must be admissible to the United States as an immigrant; and its section 2(b) states that the immediate family member must be of a (1)(A) living Armed Forces member, or (2)(B) a deceased Armed Forces member if: (i) if the Armed Forces member died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by the Armed Forces member’s service; and (ii) the alien applies for such adjustment within (I) two years after the date of the enactment of this Act, if the death occurred prior to the enactment date; or (II) two years after the death, if it occurred after the enactment date.

Section 2(b)(2) of S.2757 on a son or daughter of a naturalized Filipino World War II veteran does not qualify whether the veteran-parent is alive or deceased, and does not state a period for filing of the adjustment application.

Does S.2757 allow self-petition for adjustment of status of a son or daughter of a naturalized Filipino World War II veteran, without prior relative petition filed by the veteran –parent? Indeed, no requirement for relative petition is stated in S.2757, only an application for adjustment of status.

If self petition is allowed, then no Form I-130 relative petition is required from the veteran-parent, whether alive or deceased. Currently, a Form I-130 relative petition needs to be filed and approved before a son or daughter of a  naturalized parent can adjust status in the United States.

Moreover, if the petitioner-parent dies, the petition dies with the petitioner, unless an approved relative petition is reinstated for humanitarian reasons.

 H.R.2412 Requires Relative Petition:

The House bill merely exempts children of certain Filipino World War II veterans from the numerical limitations on immigrant visas under section 201(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, nothing more. So, the petitioning procedure of filing and approval of a relative petition (Form I-130) under section 204 thereof still applies.

Indeed, H.R. 2412 impliedly covers both adjustment of status in the United States and issuance of an immigrant visa through consular processing, under current Department of Homeland Security and Department of State procedures.

An open-ended self-petition for adjustment of status by a son or daughter without prior filing and approval of a relative petition by a naturalized Filipino World War II veteran-parent would be most welcomed.

(The Author, Roman P. Mosqueda, has practiced immigration law for over 20 years, and has been an advocate for Filipino World War II veterans and their families for over two decades. For comments e-mail to rpm_law@yahoo.com or call (213)252-9481 for free legal consultations or visit his website at www.MosquedaLaw.com)

_______________________________________________________

FACT SHEET

 

How many U.S. Filipino WWII veterans are there?

Based on recent estimates of the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (20,000) and the Philippine Government (18,155), there are an estimated 6,000 Filipino WW2 veterans living in the United States and 12,000 in the Philippines in the year 2007. At a 15% yearly mortality rate, we estimate only 15,000 are living in February 2009. 

 

What are the relevant categories of Filipino veterans?

Members of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, Recognized Guerrillas, and New Scouts who have war related injuries (service connected) and those without war related (non-service) illnesses.

 

What do they want?

Official recognition of their honorable U.S. military service during World War II and the eligibility to receive full veterans benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs such as health care at VA hospitals, outpatient clinics and nursing homes in the U.S. including a clinic in Manila and non-service disability monthly pensions.

 

How will they get VA benefits?

The recently passed "Fiipino Veterans Equity Compensation" bill of Sen. Daniel INOUYE (D-Hawaii) inserted in the Stimulus Package bill H.R. 1 (now Public Law 111-5, Title X, Sec. 1002) restores the official recognition and provides one-time lump-sum payments to deserving Filipino WWII  veterans. U.S. citizen Filipino veterans would get $15,000 while Filipino citizen vets get $9,000. It was based on the original bill the “Filipino Veterans Equity Act of 2007” introduced Rep. Bob FILNER (D-Chula Vista CA). In 2003 President Bush supported and signed into law P.L. 108-170 providing recognition and VA medical care to 8,000 Filipino veterans in the U.S.

 

Why should Filipino veterans be officially recognized for VA benefits?


President Franklin Roosevelt drafted soldiers of the Philippine Commonwealth Army who were then U.S. nationals into the American military service on July 26, 1941. Second, before the Rescission Act (Public Law 79-301 now U.S. Code Title 38, Sec. 107) was enacted on February 18, 1946, Filipino veterans were considered U.S.veterans with active service by the VA. Third, 24,000 of them were naturalized as U.S. citizens under the 1990 Immigration and naturalization Act based on their U.S. military service. Fourth, under Public Law PL 106-419, if they died, they are eligible for burial benefits with military honors in national cemeteries as U.S. veterans. Fifth, under PL 108-170, Filipino American veterans can now be patients in VA hospitals, clinics and nursing homes, however they are not eligible for non-war related disability pensions that American counterparts receive in the U.S.

 

What are the estimated annual costs and benefits?  (Updated 5/27/2011)

 

Benefits / Bills for

FILIPINO WW II VETERANS

Sen. AKAKA

& INOUYE

S. 1315 Veterans

Enhancement Bill 2008

 

 Sen.Inouye's

Public Law

111-5 Title X Sec. 1002

Feb. 17, 2009

 

NON-service-conected

Disability Pension for vets in U.S.

 

$ 911

mo.

in U.S.

 

 

 

$15,000

lumpsum

1-time only

NON-service disability Pension vets in PHILIPPINES

$300 mo.

in R.P. 

 

$9,000

lumpsum

1-time only

WIDOW NSC pensions in Philippines

   $200 mo. in R.P.

 

TOTAL COST Yearly Average C.B.O ESTIMATE

FY 2008-20012

$ 40 Million

YEARLY

 

$198 Million

Earlier Appropriated

Sept. 30, 2008

PL 110-329

                   
 
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