Filipino-American World War II veterans who have been waiting for years to bring their family members to the U.S. will soon be able to do so through a new policy, the Obama administration announced on Wednesday.
The policy, announced along with a spate of other recommendations to improve the legal immigration system, will help the thousands of American citizens and legal permanent residents of Filipino descent who fought for the U.S. in World War II and are now trying to help family members come to the country legally. Many of those veterans are elderly and need family care or company, but their families face long wait times -- sometimes more than 20 years -- to immigrate to the U.S.
The Department of Homeland Security will work with the State Department to create a program that allows certain family members of the veterans to come to the U.S. under parole status on a case-by-case basis, rather than through the general family immigration process.
"These are people who are eligible for an immigration visa by virtue of their U.S. citizen family member, who also happens to be a veteran who served in the second world war," a White House official told The Huffington Post. "But because the family immigration system is so backlogged, it can take decades for them to actually get a visa."
The new policy is one of many ways the administration is seeking to change the immigration system through executive actions, as President Barack Obama announced last November. Although the most-noticed portion of the executive actions -- programs to allow some undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. and work -- are blocked in the courts, the administration is moving ahead with other changes and recommendations.