By: Frances Prizzia | In the News

Usually, I use this space to write about news and developments in the courts that I believe will be of interest to clients and potential clients, but it is my blog, so every now and then I need to take a moment to toot my own horn!

I am incredibly proud to have recently been installed to the Board of Directors for the Filipino-American Lawyers of Orange County (FLOC). FLOC is an organization that encourages and promotes greater diversity in the legal profession. My Filipino and Italian heritage is a source of great pride for me so this is a mission that is near and dear to my heart.

At the installation dinner, I was overwhelmed by the support of so many of my colleagues in the defense bar here who all took time out of their busy schedules to come and celebrate with me. Those who did had the treat of a wonderful keynote address by Professor Linda Trinh Vo from UCI’s department of Asian American Studies.

Professor Vo gave a wonderful talk about the history of Filipino immigration to the United States and specifically to Southern California. The first Filipino immigrants to the United States came via ship to New Orleans in the 1830s and set up communities along the Mississippi River.

In the 1920s, while the Philippines were still a U.S. territory, the first major wave of immigration to the United States occurred, with the vast majority of immigration being to California and Hawaii. The bulk of immigrants during this time period were men, coming to work in California’s agricultural industry as manual laborers.

In the 1930s, plans for the Philippines’ independence were laid, and Filipinos were no longer considered American subjects, so immigration became more difficult and slowed to a trickle. It was not until World War II that immigration picked up again with many American Servicemembers bringing wives back to the states with them. In 1948, due to a nursing shortage, a special provision was enacted allowing foreign-born nurses to come to the United States, many of whom were Filipino. This helps explain why even today, nursing is such a common occupation in the Filipino community. It also made Filipino immigration during this period unique in that the majority of immigrants were women. It also led to a highly skilled class of immigrants, with a much higher percentage working in professional fields than typical first-generation immigrants. Later, immigration policy made family reunification a priority for entry and many Filipinos living in America sponsored additional family members coming to the United States.

Today, almost one-third of all Filipino-Americans in the United States reside in the Los Angeles / Orange County area.

I am proud and excited to represent and foster our growth and inclusion in the legal community.

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