DHS Agrees To Drop “China (Taiwan)” Reference From I-94 Documents And Global Entry Program At Urging Of Rep. Howard Berman
Responding to a recent letter from Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA), ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this week announced its decision to correct references to Taiwan on Form I-94 documents issued to Taiwanese visitors entering the United States, and during the application process of the Global Entry Program.
On June 19, 2012 Berman wrote to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano asking that I-94 documents issued by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to Taiwanese visitors entering the United States list their country of citizenship as Taiwan, rather than “China (Taiwan).” The letter noted: “It has been a long-standing U.S. policy that the U.S. government refers to Taiwan as ‘Taiwan.’ This designation is employed by the Department of State, the Department of Defense and other federal agencies.”
In a letter to Berman dated July 17, 2012, Assistant Commissioner Michael Yeager of CBP’s Office of Congressional Affairs stated: “CBP has looked into and corrected this matter. Henceforth, persons presenting Taiwanese passports will have their country of citizenship listed and recorded as “Taiwan” on their respective Form I-94 and the Global Entry Program application process will refer to “Taiwan.”
The issue was brought to FAPA’s attention by members in New York who discovered that their Taiwanese relatives were issued Form I-94 documents that referred to their country of citizenship as “China (Taiwan)” when crossing over the Canadian border into the United States at Niagara Falls. Other FAPA members found their country of birth listed as “Taiwan (Province of China)” when applying to CBP’s Global Entry Program in Orlando, FL.
In a press release, Berman thanked CBP for recognizing that a correction needed to be made, saying: “This is about fairness and today is a victory for the entire Taiwanese community.” He added: “It is an indignity to force Taiwanese citizens to list anything other than Taiwan on their U.S. entry documents, and together we righted this unfortunate wrong.”
On April 30, 2012, Rep. Howard Berman also wrote to California Secretary of State Debra L. Bowen, urging her to correct the reference to Taiwan as “Taiwan, Province of China” in the state’s online voter registration system. The state of California fixed the problem within the week, enabling Taiwanese Americans in California to list their country of birth as “Taiwan” when registering to vote.
In 1994, Rep. Berman was the primary force behind legislation allowing for Taiwanese Americans to list “Taiwan” in their American passports instead of “China.”
FAPA President Mark Kao, PhD states: “We are very grateful for Congressman Berman’s steadfast efforts over the past 20 years to ensure that the official U.S. policy regarding Taiwan’s name is faithfully applied by all U.S. government agencies.” Dr. Kao concludes: “He has safeguarded the dignity and identity of Taiwanese Americans and of the people of Taiwan.”
柏曼議員曾於今年四月三十日致函加州州務卿包雯（Debra L. Bowen），呼籲其更正加州選舉註冊系統上將台灣列為「中國台灣省」之錯誤。加州當局於一週內即修正該錯誤，讓當地台美人得以將其出生地列為「台灣」。
* * *
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 20, 2012
CONTACT: Adam Sharon
Homeland Security Department Agrees to Berman Request Changing I-94 Customs Document Reflecting Taiwan as Country of Citizenship, Not China (Taiwan)
Berman: “This is about fairness and today is a victory for the entire Taiwanese community.”
On June 19, Berman wrote U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, asking that I-94 documents issued by Customs and Border Protection to Taiwanese citizens entering the United States list their country of citizenship as Taiwan, rather than China (Taiwan).
Washington, DC – Congressman Howard L. Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed the decision by the Department of Homeland Security allowing Taiwanese citizens entering the United States to list Taiwan as their country of citizenship rather than China (Taiwan) on their Form I-94 and in the Global Entry Program.
Rep. Berman (D-CA) thanked Secretary Napolitano, her staff, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for their dedicated effort on this issue, and for recognizing that a correction needed to be made.
“This is about fairness and today is a victory for the entire Taiwanese community,” said Berman. “It is an indignity to force Taiwanese citizens to list anything other than Taiwan on their U.S. entry documents, and together we righted this unfortunate wrong.”
On June 19, Berman wrote U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and asked: “It has been a long-standing U.S. policy that the U.S. government refers to Taiwan as ‘Taiwan’… Many Taiwanese citizens travel across our borders every day. These individuals should not be required to sign their name under an inaccurate statement in an official government document.”
A longtime champion on this issue, Rep. Berman passed legislation allowing Taiwanese-Americans to have “Taiwan” recorded as their birthplace on their American passports. Berman authored H.R. 5034 along with then Rep. Olympia Snow (R-ME) in September 1994 providing the U.S. Secretary of State the authority to write Taiwan as the place of birth in a passport when requested by the applicant who was born there. The bill passed and was signed into law. Until then, “China” had been listed as the birthplace for Taiwanese Americans.
In May, Rep. Berman wrote to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen requesting that the California state government change its online voter registration system to allow Taiwanese-Americans to list “Taiwan” as their country of birth, rather than “Taiwan, Province of China.” Less than a week after Rep. Berman sent the letter, the California state government changed its online voter registration system.