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[Congressional Record: March 7, 2002 (Extensions)]
[Page E295]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []
                          FILIPINO SERVICEMEN
                     HON. RANDY ``DUKE'' CUNNINGHAM

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, March 7, 2002

  Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Mr. Speaker, today I, along with co-sponsor Mr. 
Filner of California, introduce legislation aimed at righting a wrong 
that has been inflicted on a small, hardworking, patriotic segment of 
our population. When our immigration laws were changed in 1996, we 
inadvertently affected a group of people that have stalwartly defended 
our nation since World War II--the Filipino servicemen of the U.S. 
Navy, and their families.
  Under the 1996 changes, life as a Filipino citizen serving our nation 
became much more difficult than it was in previous years. They saw 
their families placed in ``deferred action status'' in order to gain 
authorization to work. This status, however, is not a period of stay 
that gives them lawful presence in our country. As a result, they are 
subject to accruing time unlawfully present, thereby making it 
difficult for them to ever successfully apply for residency or 
citizenship. In short, if they want to work, they must accrue bad time. 
This is clearly an injustice and a remedy is long overdue. Any person 
who legally enlists to serve in the United States military should be 
allowed to have his immediate family reside here with him for the 
duration of his enlistment. And those family members should be 
authorized to work. Additionally, they should not accrue any ``unlawful 
present time'' while their husband or father is defending our nation. 
That is the simple purpose behind this legislation, and I urge my 
colleagues to swiftly pass this important legislation.
  While it will not affect a great number of people--the Navy only 
recruited approximately 400 Filipinos per year until 1991 when this 
recruitment ended--the people it does impact will be greatly affected.


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