The term Filipino American is sometimes shortened to "Fil-Ams", or "Pinoy". According to Filipino American historian Dawn Mabalon, the earliest appearance of the term Pinoy and Pinay, was in a 1926 issue of the Filipino Student Bulletin. The article that featured the terms, is titled, "Filipino Women in U.S. Excel in Their Courses: Invade Business, Politics." Some Filipinos believe that the term Pinoy was coined by Filipinos who came to the United States to distinguish themselves from Filipinos living in the Philippines.
Filipinos in North America were first documented in the 16th century, with small settlements beginning in the 18th century. Mass migration did not begin until the early 20th Century when the Philippines was ceded by Spain to the United States in the Treaty of Paris. Philippine independence was recognized by the United States on July 4, 1946. Immigration was reduced significantly during the 1930s, except for those who served in the United States Navy and increased following immigration reform in the 1960s.
In areas of sparse Filipino population, they often form loosely-knit social organizations aimed at maintaining a "sense of family", which is a key feature of Filipino culture. These organizations generally arrange social events, especially of a charitable nature, and keep members up-to-date with local events. Organizations are often organized into regional associations. The associations are a small part of Filipino American life. Filipino Americans formed close-knit neighborhoods, notably in California and Hawaii. A few communities have "Little Manilas", civic and business districts tailored for the Filipino American community.
Tagalog is the fifth most-spoken language in the United States, with 1.262 million speakers. Many of California's public announcements and documents are translated into Tagalog. Tagalog is also taught in some public schools, as well as in higher education. Another significant Filipino language is Ilokano. However, fluency in native Filipino languages tends to be lost among second- and third-generation Filipino Americans. In 2000, among U.S.-born Filipino Americans, three quarters responded that English is their primary language.
As Filipinos began to migrate to the United States, Filipino Roman Catholics were often not embraced by their American Catholic brethren, nor were they sympathetic to a Filipino-ized Catholicism. This led to creation of ethnic-specific parishes. The first-ever American Church for Filipinos, San Lorenzo Ruiz Church in New York City, is named after the first saint from the Philippines, San Lorenzo Ruiz. This was officially designated as a church for Filipinos in July 2005, the first in the United States, and the second in the world, after a church in Rome.
Filipino sailors were the first Asians in North America. The first recorded presence of Filipinos in what is now the United States date to October 1587, with the first permanent settlement in Louisiana in 1763, with small settlements beginning in the 18th century. Mass migration began in the early 20th century, and for a period the history of the Philippines merged with that of the United States. After the independence of the Philippines from the United States, Filipino Americans continued to grow in numbers.
In Hawaii, Filipino Americans have little identification with their heritage, and it has been documented that many disclaim their ethnicity. This may be due to the "colonial mentality", or the idea that Western ideals and physical characteristics are superior to their own. Although categorized as Asian Americans, Filipino Americans have not fully embraced being part of this racial category due to marginalization by other Asian American groups and or the dominant American society. This created a struggle within Filipino American communities over how far to assimilate. The term "white-washed" has been applied to those seeking to further assimilate. Those who disclaim their ethnicity lose the positive adjustment to outcomes that are found in those who have a strong, positive, ethnic identity.
The Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003 (Republic Act No. 9225) made Filipino Americans eligible for dual citizenship in the United States and the Philippines. Overseas suffrage was first employed in the May 2004 elections in which Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was reelected to a second term.
By 2005, about 6,000 people had become dual citizens of the two countries. This act allow Filipino Americans to invest in the Philippines, through land purchases, which are limited to Filipino citizens and, with some limitations, former citizens.), vote in Philippine elections, retire in the Philippines, and participate in representing the Philippine flag. In 2013, for the Philippine general election there were 125,604 registered Filipino voters in the United States and Caribbean, of which only 13,976 voted.
The Philippine government actively encourages Filipino Americans to visit or return permanently to the Philippines via the "Balikbayan" program and to invest in the country.
Filipinos remain one of the largest immigrant groups to date with over 40,000 arriving annually since 1979. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a preference system for issuing visas to non-citizen family members of U.S. citizens, with preference based generally on familial closeness. Some non-citizen relatives of U.S. citizens spend long periods on waiting lists. Petitions for immigrant visas, particularly for siblings of previously naturalized Filipinos that date back to 1984, were not granted until 2006. As of 2012, over 450 thousand Filipinos were on the visa wait list, second only to Mexico and after Filipinos the third is India, fourth is Vietnam and the fifth is China. Filipinos have the longest waiting times for family reunification visas, as Filipinos disproportionately apply for family visas; this has led to visa petitions filed in July 1989 still waiting to be processed in March 2013.
In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security estimated that 270,000 Filipino were "unauthorized immigrants". This was an increase of 70,000 from a previous estimate in 2000. In both years, Filipinos accounted for 2% of the total. As of 2009[update], Filipinos were the fifth-largest community of illegal immigrants behind Mexico (6.65 million, 62%), El Salvador (530,000, 5%), Guatemala (480,000, 4%), and Honduras (320,000, 3%). Filipinos who reside in the United States illegally are known as "TnT's" (tago nang tago translated to "hide and hide") within the Filipino community.
In the period, prior to Philippine independence in 1946, Filipinos were taught that they were American, and presented with an idealized America. They had official status as United States nationals. When ill-treated and discriminated by other Americans, Filipinos were faced with the racism of that period, which undermined these ideals.Carlos Bulosan later wrote about this experience in America is in the Heart. Even Pensionados, who immigrated on government scholarships, were treated poorly.
Of the ten largest immigrant groups, Filipino Americans have the highest rate of assimilation. with exception to the cuisine; Filipino Americans have been described as the most "Americanized" of the Asian American ethnicities. However, even though Filipino Americans are the second largest group among Asian Americans, community activists have described the ethnicity as "invisible", claiming that the group is virtually unknown to the American public, and is often not seen as significant even among its members.
This description has also been used in the political arena, given the lack of political mobilization. In the mid-1990s it was estimated that some one hundred Filipino Americans have been elected or appointed to public office. This lack of political representation contributes to the perception that Filipino Americans are invisible.
The concept is also used to describe how the ethnicity has assimilated. Few affirmative action programs target the group although affirmative action programs rarely target Asian Americans in general. Assimilation was easier given that the group is majority religiously Christian, fluency in English, and high levels of education. The concept was in greater use in the past, before the post-1965 wave of arrivals.
The term has been used to describe Asian Americans as a whole, and the term "model minority" has been applied to Filipinos as well as other Asian American groups. Filipino critics allege that Filipino Americans are ignored in immigration literature and studies.
As with fellow Asian Americans, Filipino Americans are viewed as "perpetual foreigners", even for those born in the United States. This has resulted in physical attacks on Filipino Americans, as well as non-violent forms of discrimination.
World War II veteran benefits
Filipino American veterans at the White House in 2003
The U.S. government promised these soldiers all of the benefits afforded to other veterans. However, in 1946, the United States Congress passed the Rescission Act of 1946 which stripped Filipino veterans of the promised benefits. One estimate claims that monies due to these veterans for back pay and other benefits exceeds of one billion dollars. Of the sixty-six countries allied with the United States during the war, the Philippines is the only country that did not receive military benefits from the United States. The phrase "Second Class Veterans" has been used to describe their status.
Many Filipino veterans traveled to the United States to lobby Congress for these benefits . Since 1993, numerous bills have been introduced in Congress to pay the benefits, but all died in committee.
In the late 1980s efforts towards reinstating benefits first succeeded with the incorporation of Filipino veteran naturalization in the Immigration Act of 1990. Over 30,000 such veterans had immigrated, with mostly American citizens, receiving benefits relating to their service.
Similar language to those bills was inserted by the Senate into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which provided a one time payment of at least 9,000 USD to eligible non-US Citizens and 15,000 USD to eligible US Citizens via the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund. These payments went to those recognized as soldiers or guerrillas or their spouses. The list of eligibles is smaller than the list recognized by the Philippines. Additionally, recipients had to waive all rights to possible future benefits. As of March 2011, 42 percent (24,385) of claims had been rejected; By September 2012, that number was further reduced to some 24 thousand, using the "Missouri list" (the Approved Revised Reconstructed Guerilla Roster kept by the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St Louis, MO.)
In the 113th Congress, Representative Joe Heck reintroduced his legislation to allow documents from the Philippine government and the U.S. Army to be accepted as proof of eligibility. Known as H.R. 481, it was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs. In 2013, the U.S. released a previously classified report detailing guerrilla activities, including guerrilla units not on the "Missouri list".
In September 2012, the Social Security Administration announced that non-resident Filipino World War II veterans were eligible for certain social security benefits; however an eligible veteran would lose those benefits if they visited for more than one month in a year, or immigrated.
^Love de Jesus, Julliane (24 September 2013). "Undocumented Filipino immigrants to be tackled in Obama visit—US envoy". Inquirer.net. Retrieved 8 August 2014. "“Clearly, there will be discussions about economy and trade as well as military and most importantly, people relation because we have 4.5 million Filipinos living in the US. Plus, helping the TNT, they’ll be able to discuss that also,” US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr said on Tuesday."
^"Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths, Chapter 1: Religious Affiliation". The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Pew Research Center. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2014. "Religious Affiliations Among U.S. Asian American Groups - Filipino: 89% Christian (21% Protestant (12% Evangelical, 9% Mainline), 65% Catholic, 3% Other Christian), 1% Buddhist, 0% Muslim, 0% Sikh, 0% Jian, 2% Other religion, 8% Unaffiliated" "Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths". The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Pew Research Center. 19 July 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014. "Filipino Americans: 89% All Christian (65% Catholic, 21% Protestant), 8% Unaffiliated, 1% Buddhist"
^Mabalon, Dawn, Little Manila is in the Heart (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2013), 20, 37.
^Marina Claudio-Perez (October 1998). "Filipino Americans". The California State Library. State of California. Retrieved 30 April 2011. "Filipino Americans are often shortened into Pinoy Some Filipinos believe that the term Pinoy was coined by the early Filipinos who came to the United States to distinguish themselves from Filipinos living in the Philippines. Others claim that it implies "Filipino" thoughts, deeds and spirit."
^Tyner, James A. (2007). "Filipinos: The Invisible Ethnic Community". In Miyares, Ines M.; Airress, Christopher A. Contemporary Ethnic Geographies in America. G - Reference, Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 264–266. ISBN978-0-7425-3772-9.|accessdate= requires |url= (help)Filipino American at Google Books
^Carlo Osi (26 March 2009). "Filipino cuisine on US television". Mind Feeds. Inquirer Company. Retrieved 31 July 2012. "In the United States, the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese cultural groups often bond for organizational purposes, while Filipinos in general have not. Ethnically Filipino Americans are divided into Pampangeno, Ilocano, Cebuano, Tagalog, and so forth."
^Loni Ding (2001). "Part 1. COOLIES, SAILORS AND SETTLERS". NAATA. PBS. Retrieved 20 August 2011. "Most people think of Asians as recent immigrants to the Americas, but the first Asians--Filipino sailors--settled in the bayous of Louisiana a decade before the Revolutionary War."
^Thomas Chen (26 February 2009). "WHY ASIAN AMERICANS VOTED FOR OBAMA". PERSPECTIVE MAGAZINE. Retrieved 4 March 2013. "A survey of Filipino Americans in California—the second largest Asian American ethnic group and traditionally Republican voters"
^Gus Mercado (November 10, 2008). "Obama wins Filipino vote at last-hour". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 22 October 2012. "A pre-election survey of 840 active Filipino community leaders in America showed a strong shift of undecided registered voters towards the Obama camp in the last several weeks before the elections that gave Senator Barack Obama of Illinois a decisive 58-42 share of the Filipino vote."
^ abMico Letargo (19 October 2012). "Fil-Ams lean towards Romney – survey". Asian Journal. Retrieved 22 October 2012. "In 2008, 50 percent of the Filipino community voted for President Barack Obama (the Democrat candidate back then) while 46 percent voted for Republican Senator John McCain."
^Edmund M. Silvestre (18 January 2009). "A Fil-Am on Capitol Hill". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 29 April 2011. "There are now three members of U.S. Congress with Filipino lineage: Rep. Robert "Bobby" Scott, an African-American representing Virginia's 3rd congressional district; and Sen. John Ensign of Nevada." Maxwell, Rahasaan (5 March 2012). Ethnic Minority Migrants in Britain and France: Integration Trade-Offs. Cambridge University Press. p. 206. ISBN9781107378032. Retrieved 8 August 2014. "These numbers include politicians with only the slightest connection to the Philippines. For example, Bobby Scott of Virginia is commonly considered an African American and his only connection to the Philippines is one maternal grandmother. John Ensign of Nevada only has one Filipino great-grandparent."
^By KATRINA STUART SANTIAGO (8 June 2011). "Balut as Pinoy pride". GMA. Retrieved 2 July 2011. "The balut is one claim to fame we're uncertain about, seeing as it is equated with hissing cockroaches on Fear Factor. Talk about bringing us back to the dark ages of being the exotic and barbaric brown siblings of America."
^Keli Dailey (9 February 2012). "Andrew Zimmern's eating through San Diego". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 11 February 2013. ""Tita's sisig, best I have ever tasted . San Diego Philippine (sic) food is crazy good," he tweeted."
^ abAmy Scattergood (25 February 2011). "Off the menu". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
^Amy Scattergood (25 February 2010). "Off the menu". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 May 2011. "That Filipino food has, by and large, not been assimilated into mainstream American cuisine is ironic, given how adept Filipinos historically have been at assimilating into other dominant cultures (the country is Catholic; English is the second official language), and given how assimilated the myriad cuisines have been within the country itself."
^Maze, Rick (2008-01-29). "Senate puts Filipino vet pensions in stimulus" (News Article). Army Times (Army Times Publishing Company). Retrieved 2009-01-30. "Buried inside the Senate bill, which includes tax cuts and new spending initiatives intended to create jobs in the U.S., the Filipino payment was inserted at the urging of Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, the new chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a longtime supporter of monthly pensions for World War II Filipino veterans."
^Joseph G. Lariosa (9 January 2011). "Filipino Veterans Fairness bill filed at US Congress". GMA News. Retrieved 30 September 2012. "The bill likewise proposes to invalidate the "quit claim" or the waiver of the right of Filipino veterans to receive future benefits, like a lifetime monthly pension, as provided for in the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation (FVEC) of the $787-billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)." Alexander Tan; Alyssa Lerner (2 February 2011). "A Bill in Support of H.R.210, Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2011". ASUC Documents. The Associated Students of the University of California. Retrieved 29 September 2012. "WHEREAS, veterans receiving payment under the ARRA waived all rights to future payments, including benefits such as healthcare and monthly pensions; and"[dead link]
^Tiffany Hill. "Field Guide: Filipino Fun". Honolulu Magazine. Aio. Retrieved 8 June 2011. Paul Raymund Cortes (3 June 2011). "19 Annual Filipino Fiesta". Philippine Consulate General Honolulu. Republic of the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
^"Filipino-American Association of Philadelphia, Inc". Filipino-American Association of Philadelphia, Inc. 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011. "FAAPI also continues to hold the annual Mother of the Year celebration (started in 1950s) to honor motherhood on Mothers Day in May."