FilAms urge speedy passage of TPS following formal request from PH gov't

By Balitang America Staff, ABS-CBN North America

Dec. 16, 2013

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – After almost a month of lobbying by community leaders, the Philippine government has finally filed a formal request before the Obama administration to grant temporary protected status (TPS) to Filipino nationals in America. TPS would allow Filipinos with expiring or expired visas, to temporarily stay and work in the U.S. as the Philippines recovers from Typhoon Yolanda.

Philippine Ambassador to the U.S., Jose Cuisia, Jr. officially filed the TPS request to the Department of Homeland Security via a “note verbale” to the Department of State on Friday. The embassy announced the formal request for TPS to the public today.

“Recognizing the intense desire of the Filipino-American Community to more effectively assist victims, we would like to formally request that eligible Filipino nationals in the US be granted Temporary Protected Status under Section 244 of the US Immigration and Nationality Act,” said the letter signed by Ambassador Cuisia and addressed to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers.

The Aquino administration estimated that up to one million Filipinos will benefit from this immigration relief in the wake of Yolanda.

“This will definitely help many Filipinos, those who are eligible, to be able to help their relatives back in the Philippines particularly as we start the recovery and rehabilitation process in the Philippines,” Consul General to New York Mario de Leon, Jr said.

In the past, other countries affected by natural calamities like El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Honduras were granted TPS by the U.S. government.

Migrant Heritage Commission, who initiated the call for TPS for Filipinos a month ago, sent a letter to the Obama administration to push for its speedy passage.

The group’s letter, addressed to President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Beers, stated the tremendous impact of Typhoon Yolanda, which has now claimed about 6,000 lives.

It also cited, “Since TPS is a humanitarian measure built into our immigration laws, the United States would show continuous commitment to our humanitarian values by designating the Philippines under that program”

Meantime, Attorney Rio Guerrero, chair of the National Filipino-American Lawyers Association said it’s highly likely that the U.S. government will grant this request. He said, “The Philippine government certainly would not have asked if it did not have some sort of assurance that it would be granted.”

For now, the Philippines’ request will be evaluated by U.S. authorities.

Attorney Ted Laguatan, a certified expert specialist in immigration by the California State Bar said he expects the Obama administration to approve the TPS request by Christmas.

TPS, if granted, is renewable every 18 months. But Laguatan believes Filipinos can avail of this immigration benefit for years, as it could take a long time for the Philippines to recover from the world’s strongest storm.

If approved, eligible Filipinos can start filing their applications, which will be reviewed on a case-to-case basis.

4 Comments on this post.

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  • Kikay Pang0
    17 December 2013 at 4:40 am - Reply

    Its a lot easier to impose high penalty and imprisonment for those business owners who’s hiring illegals , no source of income for invaders could result self deporting themselves.

  • amfil
    17 December 2013 at 10:21 am - Reply

    What will happen if Mexico applies for a TPS

    should only be approved for those that are really affected

  • Andy Macatangay
    17 December 2013 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    TPS would help thousands of Filipino breadwinners continue making a living to help their distressed relatives in the Philippines. Because of the severity the typhoon devastation, U.S. experts have determined that it would take years for the affected communities in Leyte, Samar, Cebu, Panay Island and other areas in Central Philippines to get back on their feet again.

    18 December 2013 at 8:05 am - Reply

    They should check all 1 million if they need (TPS) to help they family ? Yes If approved reviewed on a case-to-case basis ? Don’t let anyone stay here in America for free ?