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War Vets Win 41-Year Battle for U.S. Citizenship

April 25, 1987

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Fifty-three Filipino war veterans won a 41-year battle for U.S. citizenship when a judge ruled in their favor, then swore them in on the spot.

The men, guerrillas in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II who fought the Japanese in the mountains of the Philippines, claimed the U.S. government reneged on a promise of citizenship.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real late Wednesday naturalized the men, who had sued the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

″I am extremely happy,″ said Rodolfo Balao. ″I never lost hope that one day I would be an American citizen.″

Real denied the requests of 30 other people, whose claims to be veterans he felt unfounded. A hearing for two petitioners was postponed due to illness, said attorney Philip Abramowitz.

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