Written by Crispin Aranda
Posted on April 28, 2012
The American occupation of the Philippines since 1898 had given birth not only an American style of government and education but also to 52,000 children born out of wedlock. The estimate, provided by the Pearl S. Buck Center indicates a pattern of discrimination of Amerasians even in their country of birth – the Philippines.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, (16th Congressional District, California) filed a bill that will provide a long-overdue and constitutional relief for Amerasians. H. R. 5156, introduced by Congresswoman Lofgren on April 27, 2012 seeks to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to “provide citizenship for certain children of United States servicemen born overseas during the Vietnam and Korean Wars.”
Without the bill, Amerasian offsprings face an extremely difficult task to prove their citizenship through their U.S. Citizen fathers. Current U.S. law allows the transmission of U.S. citizenship from a U.S. parent but only if the child can provide evidence that (1) the parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth; (2) the U.S. Citizen parent has the required physical presence in the United States before the child was born, and (3) the child is legitimate or has been legitimized.
The 3rd factor is the hardest to hurdle for Amerasians born out of wedlock. The Pearl S. Buck Center filed a “class action suit in 1993 on their behalf in the International Court of Complaints in Washington, DC, to establish Filipino American children’s rights to assistance. The court denied the claim, ruling that the children were the products of unmarried women who provided sexual services to US service personnel in the Philippines and were therefore engaged in illicit acts of prostitution. Such illegal activity could not be the basis for any legal claim."
A child is considered legitimate if the parents were married at the time of birth, or if the laws of the State where the U.S. citizen parent resides recognizes certain action in lieu of marriage. This would include paternity or acknowledgment, financial support including inclusion of the child’s name in any insurance, healthcare and employment documents.
Zofgren’s bill has five (5) co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary on the Judiciary.
If you believe that you have claims to, or are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through your parent, you may call the Immigrant Visa Center at +632-634-8717. We have in-house licensed lawyers and International Visa Counselor who are competent and able to assist you.
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