I am not sure if many of you who read my blog knows, but I originally came to Vietnam back in May, 2004, as a volunteer to help out with Vietnamese Amerasians. In the US, I had formed the Amerasian Foundation which I still run mostly as an online entity from Saigon. I am currently designing a new database for Amerasians in an effort to help them find their fathers, and vice versa.
There is a bill currently going through Congress which, if passed, will allow some Vietnam-Era Amerasians obtain automatic US citizenship. Many of you may be surprised that the majority of Vietnamese Amerasians that made it to the US are not US Citizens. Citizenship classes have not been productive since the majority of Vietnamese Amerasians are illiterate. In short, the are unable to take the US citizenships examination. There has been a lot of effort to try to get this bill passed as law:
Amerasian Paternity Recognition Act – Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to confer automatic citizenship on aliens residing in the United States in lawful permanent resident status: (1) pursuant to a classification petition approved under a provision that gives preferential treatment to persons born in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand after 1950 and before October 22, 1982, and fathered by a U.S. citizen; or (2) who were born in Vietnam after January 1, 1962, and before January 1, 1976, and fathered by a U.S. citizen.
Latest Major Action: 11/2/2007: Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.
This bill looks like it will be passed sometime in 2008. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, the two largest groups of Amerasians have been excluded, again. The Filipino Amerasians and Japanese Amerasians (primarily in Okinawa) are two of the oldest and largest groups of Amerasians. There are roughly between 150,000-200,000 Filipino Amerasians left behind in the Philippines. In Okinawa, the number could be around 15,000-20,000 of known Japanese Amerasians (many thousands more are unaccounted for).
What of these Amerasians???