As the U.S. presidential elections draw near, Democratic front runner Joe Biden expressed his message to Filipino American, and pledged to champion their causes.
TFC’s Bev Llorente and the Asian Journal’s contributor for Nevada recently caught up with the former U.S. vice president during his latest visit to Las Vegas.
In Nevada alone, eligible Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) voters are estimated to account for 10% of the state’s electorate. Filipinos are considered the largest AAPI group in Nevada, with 169,462 Filipinos in the state according to the latest American Community Survey (ACS) released in September 2018.
One of the hottest topics affecting the Fil-Am community is immigration, to which Biden said he would eliminate the long wait times for family-based petitions and provide relief to those affected by the visa backlogs.
“You should be able to be in a position while you are waiting for a green card to come here to take care of a family member who’s been here, who’s aging. You should be able to have that done while waiting for your green card,” Biden said.
As President Donald Trump continues to find ways to cut legal immigration, Biden said he wants to increase the number of legal immigrants.
“There’s direct co-relation between the sacrifice made. We are the country we are because of immigrants,” Biden said.
He adds that if elected he will make sure the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) stays intact. He stressed that the Obama-era DACA has helped so many immigrants, including Filipinos.
Nearly 4,000 Filipinos have been active DACA recipients since fall 2017.
“Everybody thinks DACA is just dealing with the Latino group, it’s not. By the way, the largest group is the AAPI group [and] we just need to make it clear to the American people that this is much broader,” he said.
Besides immigration, Biden also acknowledged the contributions of Filipino World War II veterans to American freedom. Fighting for their full military benefits is an issue that is very close to the vice president’s heart.
“They helped us won a war, people gave their lives, over 50, 60, 70 thousands fought and when the war was over — they call it the Recission Act — they didn’t get rewarded like other veterans did,” he said. “The generation of America has come along today has no idea [how] instrumental the Filipino military played in defeating the Japanese.”
Biden thanked Filipino Americans for their contributions, saying that immigrants are what make America great.
“You guys are incredible, we are a country that is built by you. And so many people like you. And the reason is, you are determined, you are optimistic, you are resilient, you’ve been through a lot and you still believe we can do this. So I say to you thank you, thank you for making us stronger.” (Bev Llorente/ABS-CBN News)