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NATURALIZATION OF FILIPINOS

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 1944

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION,

Washington, D. C. The Committee on Immigration and Naturalization met in the committee room, Old House Office Building, at 10 a. m., Hon. Samuel Dickstein (chairman) presiding.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please come to order and we will take up for consideration at this time H. R. 2012, introduced by Mr. Marcantonio; H. R. 2776, introduced by Mr. Farrington; H. R. 3633, introduced by Mr. Poulson; H. R. 4003, introduced by Mr. Randolph: H. R. 4229, introduced by Mr. Sheppard; and H. R. 4826, introduced by Mr. McGehee. (The bills under consideration are as follows:)

[H. R. 2012, 78th Cong., 1st sess.] A BILL To authorize the naturalization of Filipinos who are permanent residents of the

United States Be it enacted by the Senate and IIouse of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That notwithstanding the provisions of section 2169 of the Revised Statutes, section 8, subdivision 1, of the Tydings-McDuffie Act of March 24, 1934, and section 388, title 8, of the Revised Statutes, any Filipino who is a native citizen of the Philippine Islands and who is a permanent resident of the United States may become a citizen of the United States upon compliance with the naturalization laws.

(H. R. 2776, 78th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To permit the naturalization of native-born Filipinos Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 303 of the Nationality Act of 1940, as amended (U. S. C., 1940 edition, title 8, sec. 703), is amended to read as follows:

"SEC. 303. The right to become a naturalized citizen under the provisions of this Act shall extend only to white persons, persons of African nativity or descent, and descendants of races indigenous to the Western Hemisphere: Provided, That nothing in this section shall prevent the naturalization of nativeborn Filipinos, nor of former citizens of the United States who are otherwise eligible to naturalization under the provisions of section 317.”

(H. R. 3633, 78th Cong., 1st sess.] A BILL To permit the naturalization of Filipinos who served in the World War Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Nationality Act of 1940, as amended, is amended by inserting after section 324 thereof the following new section:

“Sec. 324a. A native-born Filipino, not otherwise entitled to naturalization under this Act, who served in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or

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Coast Guard at any time after April 5, 1917, and before November 12, 1918, and who, if separated from such service, was separated under honorable conditions, may be naturalized upon compliance with the requirements of this Act, except that

“(1) no declaration of intention shall be required; and

“(2) no certificate of arrival shall be required.” SEC. 2. Section 303 such Act, as amended, is amended by striking out "section 324" and inserting in lieu thereof "sections 324 and 324a".

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[H. R. 4003, 78th Cong., 2d sess. ] A BILL To authorize the naturalization of certain Filipinos who are permanent residents

of the United States

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Nationality Act of 1910, as amended, is amended by inserting after section 324 thereof the following new section :

“SEC. 324a. A native-born Filipino, not otherwise entitled to naturalization under this Act, who, prior to May 1, 1934, was lawfully admitted for permanent residence to the United States, may be naturalized upon compliance with the requirements of this Act, except that no certificate of arrival shall be required."

SEC: 2. Section 303 of such Act, as amended, is amended to read as follows:

"SEC. 303. The right to become a naturalized citizen under the provisions of this Act shall extend only to white persons, persons of African nativity or descent, and descendants of races indigenous to the Western Hemisphere: Provided, That nothing in this section shall prevent the naturalization of native-born Filipinos as specified in sections 324 and 324a, nor of former citizens of the United States who are otherwise eligible to naturalization under the provisions of section 317.”

[H. R. 4229, 78th Cong., 2d sess. ] A BILL To authorize the naturalization of native-born Filipinos who are permanent

residents of the United States and Filipinos who served in the military or naval forces of the Unted States during World War I

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, 'That the Nationality Act of 1940, as amended, is amended by inserting immediately following section 323a the following new section:

“SEC. 323b. Any native-born Filipino who is a permanent resident of the United States or any Filipino or person of Filipino descent who served in the military or naval forces of the United States at any time after April .), 1917, and before November 12, 1918, and who, if separated from such service, was separated under honorable conditions, may be naturalized upon compliance with all of the requirements of the naturalization laws, except that

“(1) no declaration of intention shall be required; and

“(2) no certificate of arrival shall be required.” SEC. 2. Section 303 of the Nationality Act, as amended, is amended to read as follows:

“Sec. 303. The right to become a naturalized citizen under the provisions of this Act shall extend only to white persons, persons of African nativity or descent, descendants of races indigenous to the Western Hemisphere, and Chinese persons or persons of Chinese descent: Provided, That nothing in this section shall prevent the naturalization of Filipinos or persons of Filipino descent as specified in sections 323b and 324, nor of former citizens of the United States who are otherw eligible to naturalization under the provisions of section 317.

[H. R. 4826, 78th Cong., 2d sess.)

A BILL To authorize the naturalization of Filipinos Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Nationality Act of 1940, as amended, is amended to read as follows:

“SEC. 303. The right to become a naturalized citizen under the provisions of this Act shall extend only to white persons, persons of African nativity or descent,

descendants of races indigenous to the Western Hemisphere, Chinese persons or persons of Chinese descent, and Filipino persons or persons of Filipino descent.”

SEC. 2. Section 324 (a) of such Act, as amended, is amended by striking out after the word “person" the words "including a native-born Filipino".

The CHAIRMAN. The question involved in all of these bills is the authorization of the naturalization of Filipinos.

Who are here who wish to testify in regard to these Filipino bills? Mr. Ely. I am Richard R. Ely of the Interior Department.

The CHAIRMAN. We will hear you later. Is there anybody here representing a Philippine organization?

Mr. HALLBECK. Mr. Chairman, I am not a representative of a Philippine organization but I represent the National Federation of Post Office Clerks, in whose membership are many Filipinos.

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.

STATEMENT OF E. C. HALLBECK, EIGHTH VICE PRESIDENT, NA

TIONAL FEDERATION OF POST OFFICE CLERKS, CHICAGO, ILL.

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Mr. HALLBECK. I am Elroy C. Hallbeck, representing the National Federation of Post Office Clerks, having a membership in excess of 55,000, many of whom are natives of the Philippine Islands. My local office is 610 Bond Building, Washington, D. C.

A great many of our Filipino members have been employed in the Postal Service for more than 25 years and have consistently demonstrated those qualities essential and compatible with good public service.

Under existing law, their tenure of employment is insecure at best, and in 1946 they face removal from the Postal Service unless H. R. 4826—or similar legislation—is enacted.

The conventions of my organization have, on several occasions, considered the subject of this legislation and in 1941 at St. Louis, Mo., resolution, reading in part as follows, was adopted:

Whereas the Filipino post office employees have many years of service and their livelihood and existence is dependent upon their continued employment as civil-service employees; and

Whereas they have contributed their labor and loyalty to the growth of government; and

Whereas Filipinos are denied the privilege of American citizenship and their future status as Government employees endangered, nothwithstanding the fact that many of them have been in the Government service for 25 years; and

Whereas many legislators have introduced and supported legislation in the Halls of Congress extending citizenship to these faithful public servants: Therefore be it

Resolved, That the National Federation of Post Office Clerks, in convention assembled in St. Louis, Mo., September 1-6, 1941, go on record as favoring legislation that will grant citizenship to Filipino employees of the Government after 3 years' service.

A resolution of similar purport received a favorable committee report at our convention held in Indianapolis the last week in July of this year, but lack of time caused the report on this and other matters to be referred to our executive committee. This committee will not meet until January of 1945, but I am sure that our previous position on this question will be reiterated at that time.

Therefore on behalf of the National Federation of Post Office Clerks

I want to express our endorsement of the priciple of this legislation and urge your early and favorable report.

Thank you.

In addition to that, if I may I would like to leave with the committee an excerpt from a letter addressed to William I. Horner, legislative representative of the National Federation of Post Office Clerks, dated November 20, 1944, from Ramon P. Pobre, executive secretary of the Filipino National Council of Chicago, Chicago, Ill., and member of Local No. 1, National Federation of Post Office Clerks, Chicago, Ill. I think Mr. Pobre explains in language far better than I could the modern-day appraisal of this situation.

The CHAIRMAN. All right. Without objection it may be made a part of the record.

(The excerpt is as follows:) The very livelihood and existence of thousands of Filipinos and their American families who find employment in Government field agencies depend on the granting of such rights. To deny them such rights is to disqualify them from their jobs which require or would require American citizenship after the Philippines have become free and independent.

There are other reasons just as strong, perhaps stronger. To grant Filipinos immigration rights is to treat them on equal terms with all our other allies in this war. The result is to bolster their morale and their determination to resist and to fight our common enemy in the Orient. Another result is to nullify Japanese propaganda directed to Filipinos that American faith could not be depended upon, citing the anti-Filipino exclusion law as proof. The two end up with the happy result that, with approval of such legislation, the war is shortened and our casualties decrease.

Aside from these, it is wise to cite the fact that Filipinos, with all the benefits derived from the tutelage of America in almost 50 years, have learned much and adopted many of our ways of living here, and that they would not be a menace to our standards of life. To make this doubly sure, it must be said that, by the quota system, no more than 40 would be allowed to come here yearly for immigration purposes, a number so infinitesimally small.

There are also “idealistic' or sentimental reasons. As a people so close to Americans as Filipinos have been, ties of enduring fellowship have been built between Filipinos and Americans-a fellowship which is being continuously slandered so long as we allow anti-Filipino exclusion laws to continue. Also, is not our heroism on Bataan and Corregidor deserving of American recognition? Do not our sacrifices in this war rate some consideration ?

The Chinese, who are not as close to us as the Filipinos, had their "recognition" when we repealed the anti-Chinese exclusion act. Why cannot the Filipinos have a similar "recognition”?

The Japanese have their exclusion, too. Must Filipinos forever be debased by being classed along with them?

The kind of world for which we are ever striving; that world which must be knitted together by the strength of peace and understanding, could well have a beginning in the repeal of a law which casts suspicions upon a blameless people a law, moreover, which was dictated without the benefit of present-day vision and outlook.

Mr. HALLBECK. I may also add that the position I am taking today is endorsed by the Chicago Post Office Clerks Union, which has by far the largest Filipino representation of any organization affiliated with the American Federation of Labor.

I want to thank the committee for this opportunity of appearing in behalf of this legislation.

The CHAIRMAN. Is the Department of the Interior representative here now?

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STATEMENT OF RICHARD R. ELY, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE UNITED STATES HIGH COMMISSIONER TO THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS

Mr. Ely. I am Richard R. Ely, of the Interior Department. I am actually executive assistant to the United States High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands. The Secretary of the Interior is now ex officio High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands.

The principle involved in these bills was endorsed by the Secretary of the Interior in a letter which I believe the chairman has in the file, dated June 13, 1944, on H. R. 4229, in which he said that he was in favor of the principle that any person living permanently in the United States should be given the privilege of naturalization. He offered the recommendation there that those who are permanently here already should be entitled to become naturalized and waive the certificate of arrival, which they might have some trouble in presenting; and also waive the declaration of intention; and that for those who enter in the future, the very small number who will come in under the Tydings-McDuffie Act, should be required to observe the same requirements as any other national; but for those who were already residing in this country, that they be given an opportunity to facilitate their naturalization.

The CHAIRMAN. Would it not be your purpose to treat the Philippine veterans who served in our Army during the First World War with the same and equal justice as you would treat the other Filipinos!

Mr. ELY. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. We have had a number who believed they were citizens because they were in the First World War, and through some misguidance they are aliens insofar as this country is concerned. | Mr. Ely. It was the theory that if the recommendations of the Secretary of the Interior were put into effect, that the veterans would be able to become naturalized very simply, just the same as any Filipino who was living in this country. Now I may be wrong about it.

The CHAIRMAN. Well, is it your purpose to say that you would naturalize a certain group of Filipinos?

Mr. Ely. No certain group, but all who are legally in this country. The CHAIRMAN. How about the Filipinos who were in the First World War who happen to be residing in the Philippine Islands now and cannot get back to the United States? What would you do about them?

Mr. Ely. Do you mean to naturalize them? Are you considering the question of naturalizing them out there!

The CHAIRMAN. Yes.

Mr. Ely. There are no United States courts out there. I do not know how you would do it.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you let them come in and be naturalized; that is, those who went there before the outbreak of war, and just let them become citizens? There are probably only a few in that group.

Mr. Ely. I do not know how many there are.

Mr. ALLEN. Your idea is this: Limit this to those who have been here for a long time and have established permanent residence here?

Mr. Ely. Yes, sir; it is limited. You might facilitate it by limiting

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