July 03, 2008

Benefits For Filipino World War 2 Veteran

During World War II, over 200,000 Filipinos fought in defense of the United States against the Japanese in the Pacific theater of military operations, where more than half died.

As a commonwealth of the United States before and during the war, Filipinos were legally American nationals. With American nationality, Filipinos were promised all the benefits afforded to those serving in the armed forces of the United States. In 1946, Congress passed the Rescission Act (38 U.S.C. § 107) which stripped Filipinos of the benefits they were promised. Of the 66 countries allied with the United States during the war, only Filipinos were denied military benefits.

Since the passage of the Rescission Act, many Filipino veterans have traveled to the United States to lobby Congress for the benefits promised to them for their service and sacrifice. Over 30,000 of such veterans live in the United States today, with most being United States citizens. Sociologists introduced the phrase "Second Class Veterans" to describe the plight of these Filipino Americans. Since 1993, numerous bills were introduced in Congress to return the benefits taken away from these veterans. However, the bills died in committee, so the struggle continues today.

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