Jose Vargas to benefit from Obama’s immigration relief order

WASHINGTON – The most visible undocumented Filipino in America may soon have temporary legal status and a work permit.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Filipino journalist Jose Antonio Vargas is one of the five million undocumented immigrants who will directly benefit from President Barack Obama’s executive action laid out on Thursday night.

Obama’s administrative relief will allow qualified undocumented immigrants the chance to stay temporarily in the US for three years, provided they pass background checks and pay back taxes.

“This is not amnesty. It’s only temporary. It doesn’t provide a green card. It doesn’t provide citizenship. It doesn’t provide healthcare. It doesn’t provide anything really, except free from deportation, a work permit, people can drive, people can travel hopefully and again not to live in fear,” Vargas of Define American said.

Vargas, who didn’t make the cut to Obama’s initial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program because he was over the 30-year-old age limit, is now eligible under this new expanded program.

The Department of Homeland Security is expanding DACA so that people like Vargas – people were brought into the US as children – can apply if they entered before Jan. 1, 2010, regardless of how old they are today.

DACA relief is good for three years.

Vargas said he looks forward to see his mother whom he hasn’t seen in 21 years.

“I fantasize about getting into a plane and go to the Philippines and thinking like what would happen. I don’t even know what would happen to me,” he said.

Vargas joined civil rights leaders such as Reverend Al Sharpton in Washington DC on Thursday afternoon to welcome President Obama’s executive action on immigration hours before the president’s primetime speech.

“Today is a day of victory for the American people,” said Rev. Sharpton. “I’ve said to them on the other side of this equation – pass a bill. But while you are deliberating, the president is acting, and activists are with the president.

Meantime, Consul General Mario De Leon said the Philippine Consulate in New York is planning to host a town hall meeting to educate the Filipino community on the president’s action.

“We want to know how is the procedure, and at the same time, how long does it takes, and who are eligible,” said De Leon. “So in other words, we have to answer a lot of questions first, and if they fall into that, then we could provide guidelines from there.

Obama said that this is only a temporary fix. It’s still up to Congress to pass legislation that would provide long term solutions to fix the broken US immigration system.

“If this doesn’t jumpstart legislations in immigration, I don’t know what will,” Vargas said.

7 Comments on this post.

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  • Fil Am
    21 November 2014 at 11:36 pm - Reply
  • Fil Am
    21 November 2014 at 11:46 pm - Reply
  • Mario
    22 November 2014 at 1:22 am - Reply

    Consul Gen Mario De Leon should consult US Immigration Office.I am not a lawyer, but what I understand is; Refugee Status was created during the Vietnam War. This status,were supported by Congressional Bill which make the Vietnamese auto-Immigrant(Green Card). Then came the Haitian Coup,60,000 were brought in to US. INS created PAROLE Status, work permit were given, but no Congressional bill for automatic green card.If you analyzed the speech of Obama, it is Parole Status,one of the advantages on parole status to American economy is,parolee prefer to deposit their earnings into US bank, because it is hard to get an advance parole to travel back from the country of birth.If you travel w/out adv parole you can not come back anymore to the US.No need for Congress to pass legislation, Parole Status was passed on 1985. Iraq, Afganistan, Kuwait, Middle eastern countries, brought-in by the US troops were given Parole status.

  • noz
    22 November 2014 at 7:48 am - Reply

    as usual these lawless illegal aliens are pushing to the throats of americans they all have the right by simply rewriting the immigration laws tailored to illegal aliens. no matter how you all slice it, these illegal aliens are lawbreakers, knowingly overstaying without valid visa, entering a sovereign USA illegally, and anything illegal are criminal.

    silly, senseless sharpton is an invader himself, not paying his taxes, shamelessly denying he owes the millions in taxes. the IRS is charging sharpton owes millions to the government. sharpton, the racist anti white, pro black, and hispanics have no credibility. sharpton’s weapon when caught with his criminal improprieties, going back to the hoax tawana brawley rape allegations. sharpton got a pass on getting reprimanded by authorities on all his built lies, and false accusations of the supposed rapist of brawley, cuz sharpston’s weapon to defeat his detractors is the use of the race card, made him like an untouchable criminal, since no authoritative opponents of sharpton will touch such vile racism ace card.

    what else is new, this public appearance of sharpton and this infamous lawless illegal alien are the proof of the pudding birds of the same feather flock together, like those gang bangers in the hoods, criminals magnetize criminals.

  • filam
    24 November 2014 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    The media, the president and progressives portray the “illegal immigrant” as the ultimate victim in this drama. What about the chaotic lawlessness and the fiscal strain citizens must bear? Who put the cohesiveness of illegal immigrant families at risk in the first place? Do we have a choice as to who we allow into the country as citizens or not? Citizenship is privilege, not a cheap commodity to be stolen by anyone. You would think the solid, law-abiding American citizen who is of the persuasion that this is a compassionate “nation of laws” is this evil, racist influence that must be eliminated to allow enlightened progress to prevail. I hope our elected officials resist the lobbying of big business and fight for their voters.

    • Lyn
      24 November 2014 at 10:24 pm - Reply

      Amen to that!

  • Lyn
    24 November 2014 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    It’s broken not because of law-abiding citizens and immigrants, it’s broken because illegals choose to evade the rules of immigration. They choose to overstay their welcome. My family went by the rules and waited for 10 years to get here so why should their be preferential treatment to those who break the law? What gives illegals top priorities over those who have been waiting so long to have a visa available, for example sibling petition from the Philippines is 23 years of wait. In addition, there’s no one to blame but themselves, if they’ve been separated from their families. They knew the repercussions of overstaying their visa. They chose to stay pass their validity dates over going back home to their families in hopes that there’ll be amnesty. Yes, there has to be a means to end of this broken immigration system and it starts with sternly enforcing the laws, strengthening border securities, and prioritizing the true people of America which is their citizens and LEGAL immigrants. We earned our right to be here by enduring the long rigorous process of the immigration so why shouldn’t you. Also, don’t keep your hopes up because this is just temporary and next year the Congress will be primarily Republicans and in 2016, a new president will step in office. Shame on you for wanting preferential treatment, get on line like everybody else who wants an opportunity of the American Dream.