Anacieto Soriano, Sr. (at right) and an unidentified friend wearing their 1st Filipino Infantry Regiment uniforms from World War II; courtesy the Bancroft Library, U.C. Berkeley.
Philippine Independence and New Limits on Immigration
In 1934, the U.S. passed the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which established the Philippines as a Commonwealth and set up a ten-year transition to full independence. The act also reclassified all Filipinos living in the United States as aliens. Once the Philippines was fully independent, immigration to the U.S. was limited to 50 Filipino arrivals per year. The act also paved the way for the Filipino Repatriation Act of 1935 which called upon the U.S. government to pressure Filipinos to return to the Philippines.
Free one-way transportation was provided, and even the California Emergency Relief Association financed the passage of U.S.-born Filipino children traveling with their parents. In the late 1930s, nearly 2,000 Filipinos left America and repatriated to the Philippines. In 1946 the Philippines became its own nation. After that, most Filipinos coming to the U.S. would arrive as undocumented immigrants with no formal legal status in the U.S.