Filipino-American Democrats to visit White House

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Mar 13 2014 12:30 PM | Updated as of Mar 13 2014 08:30 PM

LOS ANGELES - It was a historic meeting for Filipino-American democrats this week in Los Angeles at the California Democratic Party Convention.

A handful of elected Fil-Ams, including Assemblyman Rob Bonita, West Sacramento Mayor Chris Cabaldon, Carson Mayor Lito Santarina, and Cerritos Mayor Mark Pulgoso, spoke to the Filipino-American Democratic caucus.

"Now that we're at the point we can be recognized we should recognize everyone who's been part in that movement and has been leading us. So this is very great event and very monumental and I'm just proud to be serving with my board and the Democratic Party," said Melissa Ramosa, chair of the CA FilAm Democratic Caucus.

Filipino-American Democrats have also been invited to the White House this Friday, where they will hope to bring up key issues concerning Filipino Americans, especially immigration and temporary protected status.

As many as 200 are expected to attend the meeting. However, it is uncertain if President Obama will meet the delegation.

"We don't know when the next chance we'll have to do this. When there will be other president who will allow us to be in his house and speak about issues that are current to us and what we should be looking forward to in the future. It's very exciting," added Ramosa.

Immigration issues are expected to be brought up during the visit. US congressman Mike Honda, who visited the Filipino caucus, said immigration reform continues to be a priority for the democrats.

"All we're saying is, we want John Boehner to give us the vote, allow us to vote. I'm pretty sure we can pass it. I got 197 Democrats, 30 republicans sit in the shadows waiting for the opportunity to vote," said Honda.

In the meantime, the Republican National Convention announced its National Advisory council.

The Asian Americans Councils include several Filipino Americans including former Ohio congressman Steve Austria and community leaders, Cecil Ramos from Historic Filipinotown in Los Angeles.

Ramos said Republican Filipinos have had the same honor of being invited to the White House on several occasions under George Bush's terms.

While the White House visit will last 3 hours, the 100 plus Filipinos visiting will have some work to do including a town hall meeting and a reception for the elected Fil-Am leaders.