• Good News? You Vet

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    ON Nov. 1, 2014, there were 4,331,750 individuals with approved petitions in the US family-sponsored categories. In addition, there were 90,910 visa beneficiaries in the Employment-based preference categories, bringing to 4,422,660 the total number of people around the world waiting for their immigrant visas.

    In November last year, a 3-percent increase brought the grand total to 4,556,021.

    Of these numbers, 322,788 are in the F1 preference group (Over 21 unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens and 825,991 in the F3 category (Married sons and daughters of US citizens) or a total of 1,148,779—more than 25 percent of the total family-sponsored group.
    t1

    Only US citizens can file petitions for married sons and daughters and those in the F2B category (over 21 unmarried sons/daughters of permanent residents) automatically converts to F1 when the petitioner becomes a US citizen.

    And when a minor child of a US citizen turns 21, that child also converts to F1.
    So why the obsession with conversion?

    Because the Advance Parole policy being implemented by the Obama administration affects the F1 and F3 beneficiaries of petitions filed by Filipino veterans who were granted US citizenship for their service in the US military during World War II.

    In the introduction of the Advance Parole policy being implemented starting from June 8, 2016, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services said there were “[m]ore than 260,000 Filipino soldiers enlisted to fight for the United States during World War II. Estimates indicate that as many as 26,000 of these brave individuals became US citizens” eligible to file a petition for certain family members: spouse, sons and daughters regardless of age and marital status.

    US CIS estimates “there are approximately between 2,000 [and]6,000 Filipino American World War II veterans still alive in the United States today, many of whom greatly desire to have their family members in the United States during their final days.”

    Spouses and minor children of US citizens are not covered by quota, i.e., once the petition is approved, immigrant visas are immediately available. For the over- 21 unmarried or married sons or daughters of US citizens, the wait for an immigrant visa could be up to 18 years. Only when a priority date becomes current would an immigrant visa be up for issuance.

    The priority date is the date the petition was received at a US CIS office. The Filipino veterans were able to obtain their citizenship sometime in 1992 to 1993 through Section 405 of the Immigration Act of 1990 provided they “served honorably in an active-duty status under the command of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East, or within the Philippine Army, the Philippine Scouts, or recognized guerrilla units, at any time during the period beginning September 1, 1939, and ending December 31, 1946.”

    If only half of the FilAm veterans granted US citizenship filed petitions for their sons and daughters (over 21, unmarried or married), there would be anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 Filipinos with approved visa petitions in the F1 and F3 categories.

    These individuals stand to benefit directly from the Advance Parole program initiated by President Barack Obama and be counted as Parolees after the Advance Parole application filed by the petitioner (FilAm Vet) has been approved.

    Eligibility to file Advance Parole applications

    The I-130 petition filed by the FilAm Vet must have been approved, but immigrant visas are not yet available.

    From April to Nov. 2010, the F1 and F3 categories moved almost four years and four months’ time, only to pause and retrogress in December of that year.

    While the F1 category moved back only three years in Jan. 2011, the F3 category remained stuck in 1992, crawling to the Feb. 1, 1994 cut-off date only this month. Next month, the F3 category inched another month to March 1, 1994 while the F1 has zoomed to Feb. 1, 2005 for July 2016.

    t2

    Over a year period, the F1 moved almost five years, while the F3 advanced for only seven months.

    Final action dates chart, July 2015 and 2016

    It is good if the sons or daughters of US citizens did not get married for they would have remained in the F1 category and, by this time, would have already been in the US. For those who have converted to F3, they could be waiting for three to five years from now if the current processing pace continues.

    Petitioners availing of the Advance Parole policy must submit the appropriate Affidavit of Support. Since most if not all of the FilAm Vets are no longer able to work (and most of them sustained by Supplementary Security Income (SSI), the parole applications of their sons/daughters could be refused for lack of financial ability of the petitioner to support the children applying to join their parents.

    The published rules allow the petitioner to get a financially capable joint sponsor similar to the co-sponsor feature available only to immigrant visa applicants.

    The Advance Parole benefit only allows the beneficiary to be admitted temporarily into the United States for humanitarian considerations or significant public benefit. They are not issued visas but travel documents. However, once in the US, they could apply for work authorization.

    The Advance Parole policy would allow these beneficiaries to join the petitioning parent in the US and be with the petitioner, care for them until their priority dates become current.

    Then they could apply for adjustment of status to permanent residency and be green-card holders.

    Hopefully, the petitioners would still be alive by then. Most of the FilAm Vets are in their late 80s to 90s.

    If the petitioner dies, the petition dies. Then the F3 or F1 beneficiary would have to apply for the reinstatement of the petition. Only after approval of this reinstatement or revalidation could the beneficiary be issued his or her immigrant visa, including the minor children.

    Parolees in the United States, when the petitioner dies, have more avenues for relief than their counterparts who have not availed of the Advance Parole benefit.
    That would be really sad news, you bet.

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