Saturday, January 23, 2010


Some Fil-Am activists worry that Scott Brown’s Senate race victory in Massachusetts last Tuesday will change the complexion of immigration reforms, just as it’s poised to do for health care reforms.

Brown’s upset win erased the Democrat’s “super majority” in the Senate.

The National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity (NAFVE) said comprehensive immigration reform is the next major legislative battle.

Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez filed last month (with 93 co-sponsors) the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 (CIR-ASAP 09, also known as HR-4321).

CIR-ASAP 09 “includes the Filipino World War II Veterans Family Reunification Bill, which will allow our veterans to petition their adult children in an expedited manner.”

Lawyer Arnedo Valera believes Brown’s victory will make it difficult to pass immigration reforms.

The bill faces opposition from labor (over 15 million Americans are jobless – some say, the real number is 30 million) and national security groups, among others.

It's will get support from the Latino bloc (and groups like the Catholic Church) and employers relying on migrant labor.

President Obama has acknowledged that immigration is a potential minefield. He also said he will push immigration reforms, but not before work to pass health care reforms is finished.

Aside from the provision for Filipino veterans families, CIR-ASAP 09 builds on previously failed bids, for instance, encouraging undocumented aliens who entered the US before Dec. 15,2009 to register in exchange for a future path to residency and citizenship; and expanding protection for illegal immigrants facing deportation, including opportunity to apply for legalization after paying a $500 fine.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates there are 300,000 undocumented Filipino immigrants but Professor Peter Chua wrote in "Ang Ating Kalagayan" the number is closer to one million.

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