On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into effect the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Buried amidst the hundreds of pages and the billions of dollars given out by the bill was Title X, Section 1002, a diminutive two pages of text authorizing the federal government to give "Payments to Eligible Persons Who Served in the United States Armed Forces in the Far East During World War II." However, Section 1002 was neither designed nor included to create jobs or stimulate the economy. In reality, Section 1002 was included to authorize a long-deserved $198 million payout to Filipino World War II veterans who fought alongside American soldiers in the Pacific. This note seeks to shed light on what happened and why it took the U.S. government so long to give these now very old and infirm veterans proper recognition and compensation. The note begins by shedding light on who these soldiers are and why they deserve equitable compensation and recognition. The second part of this note gives a brief overview of the Rescission Acts and how the U.S. government reneged on its promise to give these veterans the benefits they deserved. The third part of this note summarizes the important court cases and legislative battles that ultimately gave the Filipino veterans some type of recognition and justice. The fourth and final part of this note examines the shortcomings of Section 1002 and hypothesize how the fight for equity may continue on.
Paul Daniel Rivera,
We've Been Waiting a Long Time - The Struggle to Pass the Filipino Veterans Equity Act and a Bittersweet Ending to a Sixty-Three-Year Battle,
7 Hastings Race & Poverty L.J. 447
Available at: https://repository.uchastings.edu/hastings_race_poverty_law_journal/vol7/iss2/4