[Congressional Record: March 7, 2002 (Extensions)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
HON. RANDY ``DUKE'' CUNNINGHAM
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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