Archive for October, 2010

Are you Election Ready?

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

When you vote on Tuesday, November 2nd you speak for yourself, your family and your community!

Kapag bumoto po kayo sa Martes, ika-2 ng Nobyembre, nagsasalita kayo para sa inyong sarili, sa inyong pamilya, at sa inyong komunidad.

Use your right to vote on November 2nd. For a mid-term election, it’s looking to be a high turn-out contest. Let’s make sure that California’s 250,000+ Filipino registered voters are among those voices heard on election day! (more…)

Monday, October 11th, 2010

          Filipino Advocates for Justice calls on President Obama to adopt principles for immigration reform based on human, civil, and labor rights. Real immigration reform must be based on the following principles:

1.  End the enforcement overkill that has led to 400,000 deportations a year, separated families, hundreds of deaths on the border, thousands of workers fired from their jobs and economic instability.  The employer sanctions provision in current immigration law must be repealed.  Our borders should be demilitarized and civil rights and community safety restored in Border States.  Cooperation between police and immigration agents must end, and massive privately run detention centers closed.  E-verify and biometric national ID systems violate our civil rights and should be stopped.

2.  The 12 million undocumented people living in the US should be given permanent residence status in a rapid and inclusive process, without excessive fees, fines, and taxes, waiting periods or a preliminary temporary status.  (The last legalization program in the 1980’s took 3 years.) They should be eligible for naturalization within 5 years.

3.  Existing guest worker programs, which have a long well documented record of exploitation and legal violations, should be ended.  The backlogs in family visas should be resolved by issuing visas to all people currently waiting within one year.  A process for future legal immigration should be established, without visas that tie their ability to stay in the country to their jobs, or allows employers to recruit vulnerable people to lower wages.

4.  Existing US trade policy must be reformed so that treaties like NAFTA and structural adjustment programs no longer cause poverty and the displacement of communities in Mexico, the Philippines and other developing countries.  Massive migration caused by poverty can only be addressed by changing the root causes.  President Obama promised to renegotiate NAFTA before his first election, and that promise must now be kept as part of a humane immigration policy.

          On February 11, 2013, the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission held a hearing to hear testimony from advocates and affected individuals. The hearing was held in advance of the Commission’s March 2013 Comprehensive Immigration Reform Summit. Fely shared her and her family story of the hardship she faced because of the broken visa system.

My name is Fely and I’m a widower, a mother of six, and a caregiver. I first arrived in the United States in 1989 with my husband and youngest son. At the time, my youngest son was the only one who was qualified to come along with us. Although it meant leaving the rest of my children behind, we wanted to give them a better life. When we were given the chance to leave our life in the Philippines and come here to the US, we took it.

My father was a veterano who fought in WWII and received his US citizenship. After he received his citizenship he petitioned my husband and I to come to the US where my youngest son was also a beneficiary of our petition. After my father’s petition and waiting eight years for our visa, we moved our lives to the US. I was sad to leave my home and my children, yet I was also very excited for our new lives. In the US both my husband and I received our first job as cashiers at St. Vincent de Paul. After I got laid off, I then worked at the Salvation Army. After working at the Salvation Army, I got a job as a screener at the Oakland airport. In 2011, I lost my job as a screener and became a caregiver.

In 1990, my husband was able to petition for two more of our children to come to the US. After the petition we waited for five years before a visa was available for them to come here. Though I was happy that two more of my children were going to join us, my hopes for reuniting my entire family shattered as my husband passed away in the month of October 1992.

In 1996, I became a naturalized citizen and petitioned for the rest of my three children to join us. When we petitioned they told us that they didn’t know how long we had to wait before a visa would be available. Last year, when it seemed liked a visa was just about to be available, I went home to the Philippines to wait with my children. To our surprise, the following month we were told that there would be a backlog for an additional four years. It has now been 16 years and we’re still waiting for a visa to be available for my children.

I’m not sure what will happen in the next four years and I fear for the worst. I was 55 years old when my whole family was separated from each other and I’m now 80 years old. I’m still working to support my children back home because life in the Philippines is very hard. I want to be able to be with my family and my children, so I travel every year back home and back to the US to be with family. It’s important for families to live happy lives, but It is also important for us to be together so we can help support each other. We need our families for support and we need to support fixing the long wait and the backlogs to the visa system that keeps us separated from our families.

          Fely is just one of the many stories of immigrant affected by the broken immigration system, to read more stories of affected individuals and family click here. For more information about immigration reform contact Lillian Galedo lgaledo@filipinos4justice.org or 510-465-9876.

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Monday, October 11th, 2010

 

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