Pinoy World War 2 vets continue immigration fight

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Apr 09 2013 05:24 PM | Updated as of Apr 10 2013 01:24 AM

LOS ANGELES - As the Philippines celebrated its annual day of bravery, the Filipino community celebrated it with a movie: the award-winning documentary “Forgotten Soldiers” narrated by Fil-Am Hollywood star Lou Diamond Philips.

The movie is based on the role of Philippine Scouts during World War II and many of the actors are descendants of veterans.

“My respect for them just grows for them ten times more because of knowing these things that they went through,” said Gil Mislang, Philippine Scouts Heritage Society.

While the community enjoyed and supported the film, there were no actual Filipino World War II veterans present. Their advocates say while their old age restricts their mobility, their emotions may not be able to handle it.

“Most of the veterans lived through the experience a long time ago. They don't talk about their struggles and their pain, and that is also painful for them to see this movie [at the] same time they're still fighting for their equity they deserved a long time ago so there's a pain in that story,” said Susan Dilkes of the Filipino American Service Group, Inc.

Filipino World War 2 veterans, who waited over 20 years for their children to join them in the US, are fighting for the Veterans Family Reunification Act.

The provision is expected to be included in the immigration overhaul.

“Everybody is really working on it to push immigration. So we are part of a coalition to push the immigration bill. So it is good,” said Dilkes.

The immigration reform bill is expected to be introduced as early as this week. A similar provision was also included in the 2007 reform bill which failed to pass.