Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0843
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Full Text of HR0843  98th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, Filipino Americans have served in the United
3States Armed Forces with distinction and honor in all wars and
4military engagements since World War II and, as such, are
5deserving of full veterans' benefits; and
6    WHEREAS, In 1946, Congress passed the Rescission Act which
7stripped Filipino veterans of full benefits, granting them only
8half instead, despite their U.S. citizenship and legal
9permanent residency; and
10    WHEREAS, In 2001, Congress passed a law granting full
11veteran benefits to U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent
12resident Filipino veterans who served in World War II, provided
13they resided in the U.S; and
14    WHEREAS, Filipino veterans who served during World War II
15included units of the Philippine Commonwealth Army under U.S.
16command, the New Philippine Scouts, and recognized guerrilla
17forces; and
18    WHEREAS, The 2001 Congressional authorization did not
19stipulate a specific residency requirement, yet the U.S.
20Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) instituted one which
21resulted in a determination to cut benefits by half if it was



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1not met; and
2    WHEREAS, Filipino veterans are the only group of veterans
3subject to the VA residency requirements despite their valiant
4service to our country, receiving only half of their
5well-earned benefits if they reside outside the U.S. for more
6than 60 consecutive days or more than 183 days in a calendar
7year; and
8    WHEREAS, The benefits which are affected include
9service-connected disability care, dependency and indemnity
10compensation, education benefits for their children, survivor
11benefits, and burial allowance; and
12    WHEREAS, Filipino veterans must submit documentation of
13any travel outside the country, including copies of their
14passport visas and reentry permits with entrance and exit date
15stamps, to have their benefits reinstated to which they are
16entitled yet often their case determination is pending in a
17backlog of cases in the Manila Office of the VA; and
18    WHEREAS, U.S. citizen and legal permanent resident
19veterans should not be held to a stricter residency standard in
20order to receive their benefits when non-veteran legal
21permanent residents are able to travel outside of the country
22for a year before it negatively affects their immigration



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1status; and
2    WHEREAS, The Benefits Fairness for Filipino Veterans Act,
3introduced by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin as S.1559 and by U.S.
4Representatives Luis Gutierrez, Tammy Duckworth, William
5Enyart and Cheri Bustos as H.R.3207, would do away with the
6restrictive VA residency requirements and instead institute a
7residency requirement aligned with that for permanent legal
8residents of one year, affording them equal treatment with the
9rest of the U.S. population; therefore, be it
12we encourage the Illinois Congressional Delegation, as well as
13all members of the United States Congress, to support H.R.3207
14and S.1559 to afford Filipino veterans equal treatment and full
15veterans' benefits in honor for their service and sacrifice;
16and be it further
17    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
18presented to all members of the Illinois Congressional