Immigration Reform FAQ: The Toughest Questions, by The Immigration Policy Center

The most frequently asked questions about the USA’s immigration reform are found in this posting. To read, print, email, or forward this digital PDF document, click below or use the shortened URL,

There’s a lot of work to be done.

We will update everyone shortly about proposed action plans.

IMMIGRATION REFORM FAQ – The Toughest Questions, By Immigration Policy Center, Distributed by NaFFAA, July… by Lorna Dietz

NaFFAA National November 2012 Newsletter

Posted on 15th December 2012 by lorna in Uncategorized - Tags: ,

The NaFFAA National November 2012 Newsletter

Rest in Peace, Alex Esclamado: Our Hero, Our Friend

Alex Esclamado Memorial Service on November 17, 2012 in San Francisco, California

UPDATE on November 26, 2012

This just came in from Noor Ebne Lucero Esclamado via the NaFFAA Facebook page moderated by Lorna Dietz. Thank you to the PADRE BURGOS family and friends for sharing the slideshow of the necrological services for our dear friend and hero, Alex Esclamado. It would be a good idea to visit Padre Burgos during our sojourns to the Philippines and see what we can do with the leaders of tomorrow — who came in solidarity to celebrate the life of our Founding Chair.

The description on YouTube:

Published on Nov 22, 2012 by nesclamado2008
The vehicle carrying the remains of Alejandro Esclamado drove from Buenavista Chapel to Padre Burgos IFI Cathedral. While waiting for the funeral procession almost 500 hundred students of Saint James College of Padre Burgos lined up along the street of the school. The passing of the funeral procession the students offered flowers and sang the ALMA MATER song which Alejandro Esclamado composed almost 60 years ago. A confetti and flowers fell from the municipal building which the municipal officials pay their last respect to the man who helped his father the late Mayor Teodorico P. Esclamado,Sr. along with other fellow burgosanons in creating Padre Burgos an independent municipality.
The mass was led by his brother Bishop Vic Esclamado. Tributes and eulogies were given to the deceased leader. Speakers were Hon. Nadette Zulaika Boniel, Hon. Crispina Poblete, Hon. Ricardo E. Borces, Hon. Rosario Maglinte and Hon. Brian Gilles who sang The Imposible Dream one of Alex’s very favorite song. Daughter of the departed Grace Esclamado Groothoff made a thoughtful and inspirational response.
The Esclamado-Borces family would like to thank to those who attended the services, who came to the prayer and viewing the last 2 nights and for honoring the late Atty. Alejandro A. Esclamado.

Photographer: Maria Theresa Borces\ Dreamers Photography
Edited by: Noor Esclamado


November 16, 2012

Hello, everyone!

This is the first day, since November 6, Election Day, that I am able to sit down and grieve for Alex’s passing, unedited (yes, I have an editor).

From TOFA-NY and Hurricane Sandy, the Elections, Las Vegas (FPACC Business Summit, AyalaLand International Marketing, and my healthy coffee business), my sister’s Hercules City Council meeting, San Jose (honoring Senator Leland Yee at The Alavardo Project’s program), San Francisco (preparing for Kulinarya 2013), I have been like a gypsy traveller, sleeping in many people’s homes. This has been quite a journey for me in the past few weeks. Being linked and connected to many Filipino groups works for us in NaFFAA — especially when we seek fellow travellers in our shared purposes as ONE COMMUNITY. See:

About Alex Esclamado:

Alex was more than a mentor to me. He was a very dear friend. When I greeted him on his birthday just before he and Luly left for the Philippines, he insisted that the three of us would have lunch at Max’s in Vallejo’s, and wanted to pick me up in Hercules. We all got busy — and we were not able to do it. It’s all right. It was the thought that counted.

I avoided meeting Alex for the longest time. His notoriety (the good and the bad things people say) preceded him. And I didn’t even know much about him — only that he was feisty — and an incredible and amazing warrior for the Filipino community. At the Y2K2 NaFFAA Empowerment Conference in San Jose, he dropped by our table — and I introduced myself to him. I remember that he looked at me, “Ah yes, Lorna Dietz,” as he shook my hands. Alex was quite charming and gracious!

What I did not know was Alex had this knack of scouting for talents in the community. I did not know that he was studying my work as I volunteered under the guidance of Ben Menor — and worked with Greg Macabenta at the first-ever 1st Global Filipino Networking Convention’s Media Conference.

What I recall is that during the 2003 NaFFAA Region 8 Summit in San Jose, I worked on his arrangements to represent NaFFAA National at this event. This was where we finally got to know each other, one-on-one. I had one of my mentees accompany me at that time, (currently) Lieutenant Colonel Ian Tudlong of the US Army, who is assigned in NATO, Europe — who also got to know Alex. Through the years — from Iraq to Afghanistan to Turkey — I make sure Ian meets my fellow Filipino advocates. It is all part of my succession planning strategy.

The Alex I met felt he had nothing left to share with his beloved Filipino community advocates. I innocently asked him, “What about me? I’m new. I want to know what to tell people about you and your work.”

It was during this night that I felt Alex empowered me with a responsibility, not a task. For the lack of a better term, I felt I was being “knighted” for a very special purpose — but that I couldn’t tell anyone until many years later. My memory is very clear about this moment.

Alex had stood up from his seat and looked at me. He said, “You know, Lorna, I am already old. I am ‘la-os.’ It’s your turn. Use your gift of public relations for the Filipino community.”

We both spoke Cebuano, our common bond. “La-os” means “out of fashion” or “useless,” depending on how you interpret the term.

I replied,”Thank you, Alex. You are definitely not la-os. You can share a lot with new people like me in the Filipino community.”

When I privately asked Ben Menor, who was my employer at that time, “What does Alex want from me?” — Ben replied, “He wants to share his stories with you. When he is gone, you’ll be one of those who will share these stories.”

Rozita Lee, NaFFAA National Vice Chair Emeritus, told me last week that everyone that Alex met got that same feeling of “being empowered” to do something greater, something more purposeful — to advance the Filipino community forward into an empowered future in mainstream America.

I was determined to prove to Alex that he was wrong — that he had a lot to share with emerging advocates like me. Thus, we made an arrangement to chat on our cellphones every day, not just to check in, but for me to learn something new. This was quite a commitment — and from October 2003 to January 2005, I listened to his stories. When Princess Emraida Kiram and I scheduled our phone calls to Alex so we could keep him amused, we told Luly about our friendly competition for Alex’s attention.

The Third Global Filipino Networking Convention In Cebu.was Alex Esclamado’s last major project in NaFFAA. At the last day of the convention, I learned later from Luly Esclamado how sick Alex really was at that time because he had brought his brother with him. Our friendship was tested that night — and friends such as Patrick Gregorio, Jenny Franco, Loida Nicolas Lewis, and Marlon Pecson were witnesses to how Alex and I were able to clarify our concerns with a dialogue at 2:00 am on a Sunday morning — and truly celebrate the success of the convention.

One of the stories that Alex shared with me applies to all of NaFFAA’s leaders — and our community’s advocates. He said, “During my time, I would make the decision — and let the others buy into my decision. Today, it is very democratic — and it is about CONSENSUS. Just remember this!”

This perspective is how I lead — I check, double-check, and triple-check. I even have the sage, Ben Menor, as our NaFFAA Region 8’s Facilitator and Adviser. In a way, since Ben is Alex’s adopted son and brother, I chose Ben to help us through all the changes that NaFFAA Region 8 is going through, especially in succession planning.

I learned from Alex Esclamado that we all have to study the people who are emerging as leaders in their own fields of endeavor. We have to become talent scouts. Then, as we study their works, we need to identify if these leaders are doing what they do for the higher good — and truly want to help other people to do the same — to achieve their highest potential as human beings. The last part — which is easier said than done — is to share your talents and skills in every new project. Every project begets new leaders and advocates.

In 2004, Alex, Luly, and I worked on the “Alex Esclamado Profile” for a couple of national and international leadership awards. I am glad that I had helped out in this project. I can now share it with the world.

As I write this note to all of you, I invite you to come and celebrate the life of Alex Esclamado with us this November 17, 2012 — and come and meet his community children and partners — and give every one of his family members a tight embrace.

For everyone who wants to share their special story about Alex Esclamado, please email Jon Melegrito at [email protected]

This Impossible Dream of Alex Esclamado — Filipino community empowerment — and what we call ONE COMMUNITY empowerment — is being manifested into real life.

I am very excited about the future — and the way Ben Menor says it: “Don’t wait! Alex never waited.”

Warmest regards,

Lorna Lardizabal Dietz
Regional Chair, NaFFAA Region 8

In Memoriam: Alex Esclamado – History, Background, and Achievements as of 2004


Here is the USTREAM livestream archive of the Memorial Service for Alex Esclamado. Shortened URL is

Video streaming by Ustream,/center>

The video quality is not very good but the audio quality makes up for it.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Advocacy: Define American Town Hall Meeting at Seasons Marketplace at Landess with Jose Antonio Vargas

Jose Antonio Vargas

Jose Antonio Vargas

Report by Lorna Dietz, NaFFAA Region 8 Chair
NaFFAA Region 8 Media Group

After the new executive officers were elected at the AT&T-sponsored NaFFAA Region 8 Community Empowerment Summit at Hana Zen Pier 39 on March 16, 2012, the NaFFAA Region 8 Santa Clara County, headed by Chapter Chair Ben Menor and Chapter Vice Chair Clarence Madrilejos (aka the NaFFAA Region 8 Youth Chair), immediately organized a town hall meeting that highlighted one of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations’ advocacies, Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The DREAM ACT is one major component of this reform movement.

This posting documents NaFFAA Region 8’s (Northern CA) first activity after the new leadership took over.

Prior to Jose Antonio Vargas’s Define American Town Hall meeting in Milpitas on March 30, 2012, NaFFAA Region 8 had assisted in inviting Jose Antonio Vargas to the October 7, 2011 Annual Dinner that the Silicon Valley Asian Pacific American Democratic Club (SVAPADC) held at Dynasty Restaurant in Cupertino, California. Each year, SVAPADC’s dinner brings together the great Democratic activists, community members, and leaders of the Silicon Valley in support of our work with the advancement of APA representation in the region.

For 2011, SVAPADC awarded individuals in the community who have worked tirelessly to advocate for APAs in the Silicon Valley. Honorees included:

Legislator of the Year: Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss, District 5

Friend of the Year: John Laird, California Secretary of Natural Resources

Activist of the Year: Anne Im, AACI, API Justice Coalition

Lifetime Achievement: Mona Pasquil, California Secretary of Appointments; former Lieutenant Governor.

The Keynote Speaker was Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and immigrant rights activist — and the recipient of the Community Warrior Award.

Silicon Valley Asian Pacific American Democratic Club (SVAPADC) was founded in 1996 to foster member participation at all levels of the Democratic Party.  SVAPADC’s goals are to unify and empower the Asian Pacific American (APA) communities; ensure fair representation of the APA’s interests; and educate and promote political participation.

There are going to be more town hall meetings that are being planned that highlight local and national advocacies that affect and impact Filipino Americans.

NaFFAA R8 on March 30, 2012: Define American Town Hall Meeting with Jose Antonio Vargas, Seasons Marketplac…


Video streaming by Ustream

VIDEO: Define American Town Hall Meeting with Jose Antonio Vargas in Milpitas, CA

Jose Antonio Vargas with members of the Mabuhay Cultural Club, Independence High School, San Jose, CA and Ben Menor, the townhall meeting's organizer

Jose Antonio Vargas with members of the Mabuhay Cultural Club, Independence High School, San Jose, CA and Ben Menor, the townhall meeting's organizer

Documentation for NaFFAA Region 8 event in Santa Clara County. Cover page (Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves and Jose Antonio Vargas), continued to page 10. Article by Harvey Barkin.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Advocacy – Define American Town Hall Meeting at Seasons Marketplace at Lan…

Register to Vote Here

Photo Gallery: Joanna Rees, San Francisco Mayoral Candidate

Jose Pecho, NaFFAA R8 Chair; Joanna Rees, San Francisco Mayoral Candidate; Lorna Dietz, NaFFAA R8 Vice-Chair; and Ben Menor, NaFFAA R8 Santa Clara County Chair

Jose Pecho, NaFFAA R8 Chair; Joanna Rees, San Francisco Mayoral Candidate; Lorna Dietz, NaFFAA R8 Vice-Chair; and Ben Menor, NaFFAA R8 Santa Clara County Chair

At the Gala Dinner, “A Celebration of Philippine Heritage: A Coming Together,” commemorating the 113th Anniversary of Philippine Independence, the 150th Anniversary of the Birthday of Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal, and the 50th Anniversary of the Founding of the San Francisco Manila Sister City Committee on June 12, 2011 at San Francisco City Hall.
Photo Credits: Bradford Adkins, Manila Mail

Obituary: Benedicto G. Menor, The Oldest Filipino American Voter For Obama

Benedicto G. Menor may have passed away early this week yet his legacy lives on. He was the oldest NaFFAA member (in absentia) in the Northern California region. Although the last NaFFAA R8 Summit he attended was in 2003 at the Northside Community Center in San Jose, CA, he stayed in touch with our members. Some of us were there during his 100th Birthday Celebration in 2007, travelling from all over the US — and beyond. We also have our own stories about Benedicto G. Menor’s acts of kindness and generosity. We will miss him!

The Memorial and Funeral Services schedule is at the bottom of this entry.

Joanie Cordova said: “Benedicto Menor Sr voted for Barack Obama … before he died 28 October 2008. His life inspires many of us.”

Thank you to Emil Siapno for putting this video on

TFI’s Balitang America reporter, Henni Espinosa, wrote this video story about Benedicto G. Menor.

Oldest Obama Voter from Emil Siapno on Vimeo.

March 15, 1907 – October 28, 2008

Benedicto Galindo Menor was born on March 15, 1907 in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, He was one of the 100,000 sakadas and manongs (early 1906-1933 overseas Filipino workers) who arrived in the United States to work in the fields of Hawaii and California, armed with an optimistic mindset in fulfilling his American Dream.
During World War II, Benedicto proudly served as a member of the Leyte Landing’s Filipino First and Second Regiments of the US Army that arrived with General Douglas MacArthur. During the “mop-up operation,” Benedicto was introduced to his future wife in Villaba, Leyte, a strikingly beautiful Visayan named Espectacion Menor (no relation), who was 20 years his junior.
After Benedicto became a citizen of the United States in 1946, he went back to the Philippines and brought his family to Santa Clara Valley in California. The three oldest children who had been born in the Philippines were Rose Mary, Betty, and Benny Benedicto (a.k.a. Ben Menor). Benedicto and Espec were blessed with six children: five girls and one boy. Like most fathers, he wanted another boy after Ben was born. The couple tried three more times — and three more daughters arrived: Rita (deceased), Anna, and Darlene. He was 52 years old when Darlene was born.
A family friend recently wrote, “Mr. Benedicto Menor was an exemplary centenarian who left a rich legacy for his family.”
Rose Mary Miguel, the oldest sibling, acknowledged that their father had indeed raised his family to honor inclusivity in their social, political, cultural, and spiritual values and principles.


Report on NaFFAA’s 8th National Empowerment Conference in Seattle, WA

Posted on 21st October 2008 by lorna in NaFFAA Empowerment Conference,Uncategorized

Date: Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 11:52 AM

Dear Valued Member, Affiliate and Supporter of NaFFAA and Region 8 Northern California:

I attended the recently concluded NaFFAA, 8th National Empowerment Conference in Seattle from September 26-28 where NaFFAA delegates, young and old, traveled from all parts of the US to take part in “Forging a New Filipino American Agenda for the 21st Century.”

Joining our NaFFAA R8 team in Seattle was our new NaFFAA R8 Youth Chair, Jenab-i Pareja. We are very excited to have Jenab-i on board. Jenab-i has a long, illustrious community organizing background (and he hasn’t graduated yet!) and he is currently enrolled at UC Berkeley. We look forward to all members assisting Jenab-i with strategic plans and implementation for our youth/young professional members. We bid “Good luck” to former youth chair, Caroline Iwamoto, who has started her college freshman classes at NYU.

We were also treated to meeting 17 year old, Filipino American David Gilbert-Pederson of Minnesota. David is the NaFFAA Youth Chair for Region 3 (Midwest Region) and has been interviewed recently by Time Magazine for having been the youngest delegate at the recently completed Democratic National Convention in Denver. His charisma and maturity is beyond his 17 years and if David is representative of our Filipino youth across the nation, then our future looks 100 times brighter. During the plenary session of “Forging a New Filipino American Agenda for the 21st Century, in which he was a panelist, David announced his candidacy to run for City Council in his home town of Minneapolis to huge applaud by the NaFFAA delegates (both Republicans and Democrats present). Here is links to the Time Magazine interview,9171,1834668,00.html and a video interview

The highlight of the conference was the voting of a new Chairman to lead NaFFAA. I’m happy and proud to announce to you our very own Greg Macabenta has been voted to succeed Alma Kern and lead NaFFAA for the next 2 years. See for Greg’s initial thoughts after the election.

Region 8 played a pivotal role in stopping a vote to the amendments to the bylaws proposal. On behalf of Region 8, I wrote a position paper, which was circulated to conference attendees: