Efren Penaflorida received the title of Hero of the Year because of a program he started in 1997 to provide educational materials and information to children living on the streets in his home country of the Philippines, according to CNN.
Over 12,000 teenage volunteers take part in Penaflorida’s organization, helping to drive pushcarts stocked with books and other supplies through the streets of Manila and other cities in the Philippines.
Upon his return from the U.S., Penaflorida was given a second commendation, the Order of Lakandula, from then-President Gloria Arroyo. However, the hero conveyed modesty after he received this high honor.
“I received the medal but shared the honor with my co-volunteers, my mentor and the children we reach out to,” he told the news source. “The government heads received an instruction from the president to have the pushcart schools replicated all over the country.”
Because poverty is so prevalent in the Philippines, people like Penaflorida, immigrants from the nation who are working abroad and remit to the Philippines, are often considered true heroes. According to the The Migration Information Source, in 2006 there were 1.6 million Filipino immigrants living in the U.S.
Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security Secretary, will visit Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, for a naturalization ceremony that will take place during Constitution Week, according to the Boston Herald.
More than 5,000 immigrants will join Napolitano for the ceremony, which is being held just before the anniversary of the singing of the U.S. constitution, which took place September 17, 1787. This will be the second time that Fenway Park hosts such a ceremony. The stadium is available because the Red Sox are currently playing in Seattle.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, there will be a number of similar ceremonies held across the country, including another ceremony in Boston to take place at historic Faneuil Hall. New citizens will also be sworn in on the steps of the Lincoln Monument and the Smithsonian Museum, in the nation’s capital.
Many of these immigrants came to the U.S. to seek out new opportunities for work so that they could send money home to family members who are still living abroad.
According to The Department of Homeland Security, 1,130,181 immigrant obtained legal permanent resident status in 2009, an increase of more than 30,000 from the previous year.
A new poll released by the Pew Research Center reveals new information about the number of immigrants entering the United States. According to the research, the annual inflow of undocumented immigrants entering the U.S. between March 2007 and March of 2009 has decreased by almost two thirds since March 2000 to March 2005.
The decline in the inflow of immigrants entering the U.S. reflects an overall reduction of 8 percent in the number of undocumented immigrants who currently reside in the country.
The study estimates there were approximately 11.1 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in March 2009, down from 12 million two years earlier. However, the research indicates that there has not been a significant change in the amount of Mexican immigrants living in the U.S., despite the fact that inflow from Mexico has decreased.
Many of the immigrants living in the U.S. are working to send money back home to their families who still reside in Mexico. According to U.S. Immigration Support, last year immigrants sent home more than $17 billion dollars in remittances. Those who elect to send money home may want to use an electronic transfer service to ensure that the funds arrive safely.
Filipino immigrants who have moved to another country to find work are often willing to accept positions that have long hours. According to the Bermuda Sun, many workers may take jobs that seem less than desirable in order to send money home to family members who are struggling to make ends meet in the Philippines.
Currently, the unemployment rate in the Philippines is skyrocketing, and the average annual earnings among workers in the nation is under $3,000. One woman told the source that she was able to save enough money from a position as a bartender to send money home to help her brother and sister pay for college.
According to GulfNews.com, Filipinos who work regular jobs in some countries may be able to use their earnings to eventually start their own businesses.
“More and more Filipinos are becoming more interested in entrepreneurship in the UAE,” Jojie Dinsay, an official with the Philippine Embassy in the United Arab Emirates, told the news source.
According to Migration Information Source, the number of Filipino immigrants in the U.S. tripled between 1980 and 2006. According to the World Bank, private consumption in the Philippines grew by 5 percent in 2005, in part because of remittances.