Kin of Filipino WWII vets now banned from staying in US while waiting for green cards

Robie de Guzman   •   August 5, 2019   •   1005

FILE PHOTO: Filipino World War II veterans

The United States government will no longer allow families of Filipino World War II veterans to stay in the country while waiting for the approval of their family-based green cards.

In a news release posted on its website, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its intention to terminate the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole Program in accordance with President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13767: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.

The USCIS said the order aims to better ensure that parole is used only on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the law.

“The decision to end these parole programs ends the expedited processing that was made available to these populations in a categorical fashion. It follows an extensive review to better ensure that parole authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act is exercised on a case-by-case basis when there is a significant public benefit or urgent humanitarian reason,” the agency said.

Parole is a process that allows foreign nationals to temporarily enter or remain in the United States, including those who are otherwise inadmissible.

Categorical parole refers to programs designed to consider parole for entire groups of individuals based on pre-set criteria.

Under these programs, the USCIS said individuals with approved family-based immigrant petitions have been authorized to enter and work in the United States while waiting for their green card to become available.

“Under these categorical parole programs, individuals have been able to skip the line and bypass the proper channels established by Congress,” USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said.

“With the termination of these programs, these individuals will no longer be permitted to wait in the United States for their family-based green card to become available, consistent with the rules that apply to the rest of the world,” he added.

“USCIS is committed to exercising this limited authority in a manner that preserves the integrity of our immigration system and does not encourage aliens to unlawfully enter the United States,” Cuccinelli further stated.

Aside from the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole program, the USCIS will also be terminating Haitian Family Reunification Parole program.

While the process for the termination of these programs begins, the USCIS assured it will continue to review all remaining categorical parole programs.

“USCIS will not terminate any program until we complete required administrative changes to Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and the form is approved for public use,” the agency said.

“The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) process will provide notice to the affected individuals, explain the reasons USCIS is taking action, and provide public comment periods on the termination of these programs,” it added.

The USCIS said current parolees will maintain their current period of parole until its expiration, unless it is otherwise terminated. Pending cases will also be processed to completion.

“In addition, parolees who have not adjusted status or been admitted may request parole under the non-categorical process by filing Form I-131, in accordance with the form instructions. Additional information on applying for non-categorical parole is available on the Humanitarian or Significant Public Benefit Parole for Individuals Outside the United States page,” the agency said.

Joe Biden takes presidential oath, says ‘Democracy has prevailed’

Marje Pelayo   •   January 21, 2021

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. simply known as Joe Biden took his oath of office as the 46th president of the United States of America (USA) on a sunny day on Wednesday (January 20) at the Capitol Building in a ceremony that broke tradition.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden discouraged his supporters from attending the ceremony and opted to be with the company of thousands of National Guards to keep the peace and order following an assault on the Capitol Building on January 6.

For the first time since John Quincy in 1869, the outgoing commander-in-chief Donald Trump snubbed the ceremony as he still refused to accept his election defeat.

After Trump’s tumultuous four years, Biden implied that finally, democracy has been restored in the US.

“America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge.” he said.

“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” he added.

Biden did not mention his predecessor but referred to the incident at the Capitol perpetrated by Trump supporters two weeks ago. Biden said he will not let any attempt “to stop the work of our democracy” to triumph.

Moving forward, the new US president called for unity among Americans in facing the challenges ahead, especially the impact of the current pandemic which he called “dark winter”.

“In the work ahead of us, we’re going to need each other. We need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter,” Biden said.

“We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation,” he added.

Biden promised to be a president for all Americans saying “every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.”

“To all those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our republic is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength,” he said addressing his critics.

“Yet hear me clearly, disagreement must not lead to disunion. And I pledge this to you, I will be a president for all Americans. All Americans,” he vowed, calling for a stop on the war of colors referring to the conflicts between the Democrats and the Republicans.

Towards the end of his speech, President Biden called on US citizens to be more open and keep the value of humility as a new administration begins under his command.

“We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility… because here’s this thing about life: There’s no accounting for what fate will deal you,” he said.

Duterte looking forward to closely working with Biden – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 9, 2020

(L-R) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and US President-elect Joe Biden

MANILA, Philippines –  President Rodrigo Duterte said he is “looking forward to closely working” with Joseph Biden as he congratulated the latter for winning the United States presidential elections.

“On behalf of the Filipino nation, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wishes to extend his warm congratulations to former Vice President Joseph “Joe” Biden on his election as the new President of the United States of America,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

“We look forward to working closely with the new administration of President-elect Biden anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit, and shared commitment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” he added.

Roque also said that the Philippines is committed to further strengthening its ties with the US under Biden’s administration.

“The Philippines and the United States have long-standing bilateral relations and we are committed to further enhancing the relations with the United States under the Biden administration,” he said.

“Congratulations and we wish him all the best,” he added.

Democrat Biden became the 46th President of the United States after he defeated Republican Donald Trump, according to US media on Sunday.

Biden becomes 46th US president after Pennsylvania win

Maris Federez   •   November 8, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democratic party has won Pennsylvania, surpassing the needed 270 electoral votes to take the White House and become the 46th president of the United States.

Biden on Saturday’s election results released the following statement as president-elect:

“I am honored and humbled by the trust the American people have placed in me and in Vice President-elect Harris. In the face of unprecedented obstacles, a record number of Americans voted. Proving once again, that democracy beats deep in the heart of America. With the campaign over, it’s time to put the anger and the harsh rhetoric behind us and come together as a nation. It’s time for America to unite. And to heal. We are the United States of America. And there’s nothing we can’t do, if we do it together.”

As reported by the Associated Press (AP), Biden also won Arizona, Wisconsin and Michigan as he heads to the presidency, “flipping states that President Donald Trump won in 2016.”

Trump needed the Pennsylvania win to stay in power. 

Biden’s win came after days of uncertainty as the processing of some ballots was delayed when election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes.

Trump is the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992, the AP said.

The 77-year-old Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and sought to contrast his working-class roots with the affluent Trump’s by casting the race as “Scranton versus Park Avenue.” —/mbmf

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