Sunday, May 20, 2012

Soon- on May 24th- the TV version of LEFT BY THE SHIP will be on Tv in the US, at last! I am excited and hope a lot of good reactions will come out of it.
Here is the website http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/left-by-the-ship/

And also, the feature length version of the film can be seen on itunes from May 25th. Here is the link to that http://bit.ly/Kvv3d

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

I watched this tonight. It is very moving. As a young girl I grew up in Guam (a military brat) and have always had a great love for the filipino people. I hope something can be done and the American government will change its mind. It is heartbreaking to see the prejudice the young people go through.

Krisi said...

I was not really aware of this prior to my mom randomly putting WGBH on but I am so glad I watched it. I am simply shocked that the US would allow their men to go abroad and not hold them to any rules, or take responsibility for the kids they fathered. It is understandable that foreign relations would occure but responsibilty has to be taken by the father afterwards and the country they represent. I am honestly speechless and home that with more awareness more help will go towards the American children in the Phillipines.

Anonymous said...

I just happened to catch the film on television tonight. There was only about 45 minutes left, but I see that it will air again so I hope to watch it from the beginning. I was born at Clark Air Base, but we moved to the states when I was 5. I was completely unaware of the situation highlighted in this documentary and was very moved by it. I hope many people are able to see this film and more dialogue will take place so that something can be done to right these wrongs. Thank you for sharing your story and the stories of other Amerasians in the Philippines.

Alexandra said...

Hello Robert,

Thank you so much for all the work you did to help these young people. I wonder how everyone is doing now? How can we find updates?

Alexandra

Anonymous said...

So glad I caught this on PBS tonight. I grew up in the Philippines where my parents were missionaries. I remember passing through the Subic Bay area and seeing all the soldiers in the red light district and being ashamed to be an American. This is such a huge issue that has been swept under the rug. My heart goes out to all the abandoned children.

Wade said...

I came across the documentary tonight and was moved not just the stories, but of your efforts to help these younger Amerasians and be such a good role model.

I am embarrased by my country's reaction and cannot help but wonder if any further can be done to get support for the children, (noting our current president's mixed race). Hopefully the documentary will help to raise awareness.

I hope your career and family are doing well.

Pen said...

I just saw it and I have been waiting impatiently for it to get air time since I learned of the film when it was released. I have passed it on to my parents and cousins. It is such a sad circumstance and I am glad that this film was made. We immigrated to the US when I was 11 years old. It is so easy to forget that others back home live harder lives when you live a comparatively comfortable life. It is a humbling reminder of what I should be grateful for, on one hand, and compels me to help make a difference for others. Thank you SO much!

Elle said...

I am moved by this event. I discovered this film thru Facebook. Thank you for all of your work. Please keep us updated. I did my part and signed the petition. My prayers are with you, your family, and the Amerasian population. God Bless

Anonymous said...

As an American citizen I am outraged by the actions of our servicemen and our government by not accepting these children as American citizens. No child should have to suffer the consequences of errant actions by a serviceman who can leave a child behind and come back to America. Please update your blog and tell us what we as Americans can do to support you and all of the 52,000 people who are in the same situation. You are loved and a part of our country. America.

Nathan H. said...

I just finished watching the documentary and this is by far the most emotionally involved I have ever felt towards a film. I am an American who is college educated and pursuing further education, however, despite all of this time spent learning I never knew about how the US allowed this children, men, and women to be forgotten. I am the same age as JR and I cannot imagine living life in his shoes; he is a wonderful person who was dealt an unfair hand. I wish there was a way to help. Why do we allow miscreants in the US to be fed welfare checks yet we cannot help a young man like JR who would truly make the world a better place?

Anonymous said...

Ben said...I watched this doc. online. I was surprised that JR was not approved by US Embassy bcuz my wife brother in law was an amerisian. When he heard abt this amerisian law the father and daughter went to the US Embassy in Manila and they showed the letters from his American father. JR has the docs and his amrican father recognized JR. I think somethins is wrong here. JR should show the docs to the US embassy.

Anonymous said...

ben continued...the family was given an outright US citizenship by the embassy. they are now living in the US for 12 years now.

Rick Wiedeman said...

My wife (Filipina) and I just watched your film, on PBS in Dallas. Very powerful. Wonderful work.

Leftbytheship said...

TO BEN Jr needed a DNA test in order to proceed with the paperwork to apply for US citizenship. His father was not interested in taking that test. Or maybe it was true he did not have the money to pay for it ($200). JR of course could not afford it. So the whole thing stopped there. Sometimes a young Amerasian person does not even have 10 cents to take the jeepney. That's an important thing to consider.

Leftbytheship said...

Thanks to everyone for all the heartfelt and meaningful comments.

Anonymous said...

Err. actually the US citizenship law for those children born abroad to a FOREIGN MOTHER is much much more complicated than the film showed to be...

Please read this: (It's long)

BIRTH OUT OF WEDLOCK TO AMERICAN FATHER:



A. APPLIES TO ALL PERSONS BORN ON OR AFTER NOVEMBER 14, 1986 & UP.

********************NEW LAW********************



Establishing Citizenship Under ―New‖ 309(a) INA. In adjudicating claims of persons to whom new section 309(a) INA applies, consular officers must adhere to the following guidance:



(1) Blood Relationship: The consular officer must be satisfied by clear and convincing evidence that a blood relationship exists between the applicant and the alleged U.S. citizen father. This evidence must produce in the fact-finder a firm belief in the truth of the facts asserted, but does not need to reach the level of certainty required for proof beyond a reasonable doubt. No blood test or any other specific type of evidence is required by the Act. Whether or not evidence producedby an applicant meets the ―clear and convincing‖ standard is a question of fact which varies in each case. Consular officers should keep the above in mind when requesting and reviewing evidence.



(2) Evidence of the Father's Identity and Citizenship: The evidence must show that the father was a U.S. citizen when the child was born.

Anonymous said...

(cont)

(4) Evidence of Legitimation or Acknowledgement of Paternity: "New" section 309(a) provides for three alternatives: legitimation under the laws of the applicant's residence or domicile; acknowledgement of paternity under oath; and court adjudication of paternity (see following paragraphs). Any of the three actions is sufficient, as long as the action occurs while the applicant is under the age of 18.

Anonymous said...

(cont)

Anonymous said...

(cont)

(5) Father's physical presence in the United States: If the applicant was born prior to November 14, 1986, the U.S. citizen father is subject to the original requirements of section 301(g) INA to transmit citizenship to the applicant. Thus, he must show that he was physically present in the United States for 10 years, at least 5 of which were after reaching the age of 14, prior to the birth of the applicant. For applicants born on or after November 14, 1986, the most recent physical presence requirements of section 301(g) apply. In this instance, the U.S. citizen father must show that, prior to the birth of the applicant, he was physically present in the United States for 5 years, at least two of which were after reaching the age of 14.



B. APPLIES TO ALL PERSONS BORN BEFORE NOVEMBER 14, 1986.

********************OLD LAW********************



Establishing Citizenship Under ―Old‖ Section 309(a) INA: When adjudicating cases under old section 309(a) INA, consular officers must adhere to the following guidance:



(1) Blood Relationship: The consular officer must be satisfied that a blood relationship exists between the child and the U.S. citizen father. Absent such a relationship, the child of an alien mother cannot acquire U.S. nationality at birth.



(2) Legitimation: Law of Residence and Domicile(a) Under Old 309(a), the place for legitimation was not specified. Old 309(a) was applied to permit legitimation to take place pursuant to laws of the U.S. or foreign residence or domicile of the father or child. The consular officer should learn which foreign countries or States of the United States qualify as either the father's residence or domicile or the child's residence or domicile for purposes of establishing legitimation.(b) The Immigration and Nationality Act defines "residence" as the place of general abode of a person; his principal, actual dwelling place in fact, without regard to intent. Under this definition, a military base where a person is stationed, even for a short period of time such as a training assignment at an appropriate place, can be considered a residence and the laws of the state or country where the base is located can be considered for legitimation purposes.(c) "Domicile" is generally defined as the place of a person's true, fixed, and permanent home or ties, and to which whenever absent, the person intends to return.(d) In attempting to determine residence or domicile, the consular officer may ask such questions as: Where did you own property? Where did you pay taxes? Where were you registered to vote? Where have you had bank accounts? What State issued you a driver's license or other license? What ties do you have to the place of residence or domicile?

Anonymous said...

(3) Legitimation: Marriages: The consular officer should ask whether the child's father and mother have ever been married to each other. A valid intermarriage of a child's natural parents subsequent to a child's birth serves to legitimate a child in most jurisdictions. The validity of a marriage is governed by the law of the place where it was performed and may be a determining issue in a child's claim to citizenship under section 309(a). A marriage that is void or voidable may also serve to legitimate a child in some circumstances, particularly if the child was born after the marriage.(a) Valid marriages: If the laws of the state or the country where the father or the child resided or were domiciled provide for legitimation by subsequent marriage, those laws may be applied if there was a valid marriage of the parents while the child was under 21. In general, the place of marriage and the place of residence or domicile must be the same. There are exceptions to this general rule, however, and a post may find it necessary to submit questions of this nature to the Department (CA/OCS).(b) Voidable and Void Marriages(i) A marriage that did not conform to the laws of the country or state in which it was performed may be a void marriage, but only after declared so by an appropriate authority, usually a court in the jurisdiction where the marriage occurred. Prior to such judicial declaration, the marriage may be considered voidable. A voidable marriage is considered valid for all purposes unless and until annulled or voided by the court. Even after a marriage is voided, there is every likelihood that the children's status will not be affected. Every state in the United States, for example, considers children of a void marriage to be legitimate,(ii) Posts should have available a copy of the consular district's local laws on marriage and legitimation. If for any reason a marriage does not appear to have been valid and legitimation is a determining factor in the citizenship claim, consular officer's may need to consult local law, if a U.S. domicile cannot be identified, to determine if children born of a void marriage are considered legitimate. If they would not be considered legitimate, the consular officer must determine that the marriage was, in fact, declared void by an appropriate authority before denying the claim. A post that is considering a case involving legitimation in a third country may seek information on the laws of that country from the embassy of that country or from the U.S. embassy in that country.(iii) A law that declares legitimate a child born during a void marriage presumes that the marriage ceremony took place before the child's birth unless the law specifically mentions children born before the marriage. Cases that involve void marriages that occurred after a child's birth should be referred to the Department (CA/OCS).(c) Absence of a Marriage(i) If no marriage has occurred between the child's U.S. citizen father and the child's natural mother, the consular officer, after determining the appropriate domicile or residence, should consult the applicable U.S. or foreign laws to learn whether the child was legitimated by other means. In most countries or States where legitimation is possible without subsequent intermarriage of the biological parents, certain conditions must be met (such as formal acknowledgment of the child by the father, acceptance into the father's household, consent of the father's wife). For a summary of U.S. laws on legitimation without marriage,(ii) Some states and countries grant all children equal rights, regardless of the parent's marital status. In such cases, the child may be considered to have established paternity by legitimation under old 309(a) if the blood relationship between the father and child was established before the child's 21st birthday, and the law concerning the equality of all children was in effect before the child's 21st birthday.

Anonymous said...

(iii) Some states and countries do not provide any specific way for fathers to legitimate their children. Persons born out of wedlock who had to rely on the legitimation laws of those places could not acquire U.S. citizenship through their fathers if they were age 18 prior to the 1986 amendment of section 309(a) INA.

(4) Legitimation: Adoption by Biological Father(a) If a father adopts his biological child while the child is under age 21, the Department regards the child as legitimated for purposes of old 309(a) regardless of the law of the father or child’s residence or domicile.(b) Before any documents are issued, cases that involve adoption by the biological parent should be referred to the Department (CA/OCS) by telegram or memorandum requesting advisory opinion.



(5) Father’s Physical Presence in the United States: An applicant acquiring citizenship under the old 309(a) must show that his or her father was physically present in the United States for 10 years, at least 5 of which were after the age of 14, prior to the birth of the applicant.

(4) Legitimation: Adoption by Biological Father(a) If a father adopts his biological child while the child is under age 21, the Department regards the child as legitimated for purposes of old 309(a) regardless of the law of the father or child’s residence or domicile.(b) Before any documents are issued, cases that involve adoption by the biological parent should be referred to the Department (CA/OCS) by telegram or memorandum requesting advisory opinion.



(5) Father’s Physical Presence in the United States: An applicant acquiring citizenship under the old 309(a) must show that his or her father was physically present in the United States for 10 years, at least 5 of which were after the age of 14, prior to the birth of the applicant.

Anonymous said...

BIRTH OUT OF WEDLOCK TO AMERICAN MOTHER:



a. Claims Under Section 309(c) INA: A child born abroad out of wedlock on or after December 24, 1952, to a U.S. citizen mother acquires U.S. citizenship if the mother was physically present continuously for 1 year in the United States or its outlying possessions at any time prior to the child's birth. This did not change under any of the amendments to Section 309 INA. Thus a woman who had spent only a very short time every year outside the United States would be unable to transmit citizenship under section 309(c) INA even though she might have qualified to transmit U.S. citizenship under section 301(g) INA if she had been married to the father of the child. The 1966 amendment to section 301 INA allowing members of the U.S. armed forces, employees of the U.S. Government and certain international organizations, and their dependents to count certain periods outside the United States as U.S. physical presence does not apply to section 309(c) INA. For this reason, the mother of a child born out of wedlock cannot use time spent abroad as a military dependent, for example, to satisfy all or part of the requirement of continuous physical presence in the United States for 1 year. Subsequent legitimation or the establishment of a legal relationship between an alien father and a person who acquired U.S. citizenship at birth under section 309(c) does not alter that person's citizenship.



b. Claims under Old 309(a): Prior to the November 14, 1986, amendments to section 309(a), section 309(a) did not apply exclusively to the out of wedlock children of U.S. citizen fathers, but could also be applied to the out of wedlock children of U.S. citizen mothers. As a result, a person born out of wedlock to a U.S. citizen mother who could not transmit citizenship under section 309(c) because she had not been physically present in the United States or outlying possessions for the continuous 1-year period may claim citizenship under old 309(a). As discussed previously, under old 309(a) the child’s paternity must have been established by legitimation before the child’s 21st birthday. If this condition is met, old 309(a) permits acquisition through section 301(g) (formerly 301(a)(7)), which requires that the citizen parent (mother or father), before the child’s birth, have amassed the 10 years of U.S. physical presence, including 5 after age 14. Persons born out of wedlock to alien fathers and U.S. citizen mothers on or after November 14, 1986 cannot claim citizenship under 309(a) because new 309(a) requires that the father have been a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth.

Leftbytheship said...

Thanks Anonymous for sharing the law in such a precise manner.

A briefer (though not as detailed) explanation can also be found here http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/blog/explainer-how-can-you-be-half-american-and-still-not-a-citizen

One good thing the USA could do (for example!) to help Amerasians out, is to simplify the process.

In any case, I am happy to see how much attention the film is bringing to our cause. It makes our work on Left By The Ship worthwhile. My heartfelt thanks to everyone.

Anonymous said...

The difference between having a US mother and father requirement is just appalling.

Paul B said...

Great show although I am not related to the Philippines by any means. The story was touching and I wish the best for the children / young adults in the story. Please keep up the good work and thanks for enlightening the world to this.

African American said...

Just saw the documentary on Independent Lens. They are sad stories, realities. Americans should contact their Congress people to correct this and assist these children and young people who suffer due to no fault of their own.

KimberlyNY said...

Saw your moving doc. yesterday. The U.S. has a responsibility to help these children, at the very least, locate their biological fathers and begin the process of seeking dual citizenship as is their birth right. The excuse that [some of] these kids were created due to illegal acts is just that-an excuse, it has nothing to do with the child born of these two people, that child has rights that should not be dictated based on the acts of parents prior to their birth. This stance does not force the men to be held accountable for their actions and does nothing to deter future similar actions by men stationed abroad. Only when the issue is acknowledged can change be implemented, including proper sex healthcare and prevention. I am sure some of these men aren't even aware that they have fathered children, at the very least there should be better policies in place to help children, and fathers, to find one and other and make the other aware of the others existence. Great doc. on this serious issue and best of luck and life to these men and women who have had to grow up under such circumstances. (hopefully thanks to responses like mine they realize that some Americans recognize their American rights, and at the very least are moved whole-heartedly by the circumstances that were dictated to them and sincerely hope that they see the beauty and strength that exists within themselves to overcome adversity)

nelly said...

I just finished watching the documentary (through the iTunes). I myself along with my brother are both amerasians, we were both fortunate that our father, a American soldier, came back and brought our mother and us to the States.

Thank you for all your hardwork and bringing this situation to light.

Is there something we can do to help our fellow ameriasian?

How are the people that were featured in the documentary?

Much love and God bless you.

Concerned US Citizen said...

Thank you for investing your time and heart in shining light on this injustice. I watched your documentary and am moved to seek avenues for change in the laws. Maybe you already have this on your site, but it might be useful to remind US citizens to contact their congressional representatives and push them to make changes to the current immigration law especially as pertains to Filipino Amerasians. May you continue to push for awareness surrounding this issue especially as immigration law is a key policy that is sure to be addressed after the US elections this fall. May God's grace and strength be with you in this fight.

Alyssa said...

This film was really hard to stomach as a Filipino born in the Philippines and who is more than aware of the continued prejudice against our women as little more than just for entertainment to US servicemen. My adopted father was a Filipino in the Navy but I can only imagine who my real father might be and I really empathized with all of the children in the documentary. Thank you for bringing this subject to an international light so that more people might know more about the human impact of US bases in other countries.

Jeremy Ellis said...

Hello -
Thank you for making the important "Left by the Ship" film, I think that more attention should be paid to the story of the half-American children in the Phillipines. It is a heart-wrenching story, but it is also an opportunity for beautiful re-unions between fathers and their children. And with paternity testing now available and getting less expensive, it seems like some of the difficulty of this situation may go away. I am sure there is a lot of shame about things that happened many years ago, but surely being able to spend time with your child would be worth any shame involved.
Anyway, I want to point out that if you are an Amazon.com Prime member, you can watch the "Left by the Ship" film for free. I am not sure if the filmmaker makes any money from this, so I hope to also buy a copy of the DVD.
It might be worth posting an update on your blog about that.
Also, I am wondering if there are any charitable organizations that are helping Amerasian kids reunite with their fathers, facilitating communications, travel, paternity testing, etc. If there is an organization that is involved in this work, can you post about that?
Thanks again for your work on this important issue.
Jeremy Ellis
Minnesota, USA

GJ Woodbridge said...

Great documentary! I just watched it on Amazon Videos. I was very moved by the personal stories of all the individuals and their families. The US government should do whatever is possible to give the kids abandoned by their fathers, at a minimum, US residency. I was particularly appalled by JR's father lack of effort to at least try to help his son. Is it possible to find out how the individuals presented in this movie are doing now? Are there charitable organizations helping kids/adults in their situation?

Arianna said...

this is some thing very much intrested documentry you have shown up. I don't know either it will put the affect on the right side or bad side of it.
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