NY Pinoys push for TPS before Obama's PH visit

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 25, 2014

NEW YORK – It has been more than five months since Super Typhoon Yolanda devastated parts of the central Philippines yet the Philippines’ request for temporary protected status is still pending at the US Department of Homeland Security.

Just a few days before President Obama sets foot in the Philippines, some members of the Filipino community held an interfaith vigil in front of the Federal Plaza in New York to pressure the US government to grant temporary protected status or TPS to the Philippines.

If granted, TOS would allow Filipino nationals with expired or expiring visas to legally stay and work in the US temporarily and travel outside the US if necessary, while the Philippines recovers from Yolanda’s devastation.

“The bonnet I’m wearing right now has not been washed since February,” Ray Canunayon, a native of Leyte, said. “I won’t wash this until TPS is approved. If you want to know what it’s like without TPS, just smell this bonnet. It stinks.”

Violeta Chua says she came to the US under a visitor’s visa in 2004. She lost her legal status after an H1B work petition fell through in 2009.

Even with a master’s in business administration, Chua can only get off the books jobs like caregiving. Chua says TPs can change her life for the better.

“Please President Obama, please consider TPS,” Chua said. “It will improve our lives here and the lives of our children back home, and this is our only hope for now while immigration reform is not working.”

Meantime, Leyte native Sally Cionelo has been out of status for 19 years. When Yolanda pummeled through her hometown, she lost a home, a business and other properties.

“I would request if he will give us all the undocumented Filipinos TPS, or amnesty,” she said. “Yes, Mr. President, before you leave the White House maybe you can give us amnesty. I would be very grateful.”

Meantime, there’s one popular undocumented Filipino who can’t wait for TPS to be granted.

“All I know is there’s woman in the Philippines waiting for me,” journalist and undocumented Filipino immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas, said referring to his mother. “It’s been 21 years in August. So any opportunity that I can take to just see her, without a camera, no cameras allowed, I would take that.”

These kababayans have this challenge for the President Obama as he visits the Philippines next week.

“If he is going to be in the Philippines, he might as well go into Tacloban, see the Filipino people, see the homes that are destroyed there,” Zara Vinola of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns said.

“President Obama, I hope you will have the opportunity to see what happened in the Philippines,” Lilia Juele of Suffern, NY said. “If Obama will see the situation, his heart will break.”

You can contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

11 Comments on this post.

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  • Jess
    25 April 2014 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    Obama created the “Brothers Keeper ” project, intended to help and to uplift the livelihood of the black community. Sila muna bago TPS. Pres Aquino priority is the defense of the country not for the illegal Filipinos in the US, who never wanted to come back home and pay taxes..

    • M PR
      26 April 2014 at 5:30 pm - Reply

      Don’t understand why Philippines need TPS when only mostly Central Philippines was affected by Yolanda. Our country’s economy is getting better, I think the government’s request for US assistance is more focused on the territorial dispute with China than to push for TPS that seems to be dragging on and on so long it begins to sound like parang namamalimos ng awa. Sana meron naman konting pride.

  • Kikay Pang0
    26 April 2014 at 5:40 am - Reply

    Even the new Saint Pope John Paul ll doesn’t usually give miracles to habitual liars like those TPS seekers who is mooching and abusing the kindness of others.

  • PAWS
    26 April 2014 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    may god hear your prayers……….

  • Filam
    27 April 2014 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Pinoy IMMIGRATION lawyers are the only ones pushing
    TPN. If Obama passes this without the
    Consent of the American people will not be right

  • Filam
    27 April 2014 at 10:21 am - Reply

    Why is PNoy meddling in American affairs?

  • JRB
    27 April 2014 at 10:40 am - Reply

    What Homeland security should do is check all people that want TPS is from the central part the philippines that was devastated, by Super Typhoon Yolanda, all other people that don’t come from that area, shouldn’t have they expired visas updated to stay in America and be deported back to the Philippines that is the right way to this mess with TPS ?

  • Filam
    27 April 2014 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    That’s how TPS works. You must be from the
    Area affected. That’s part of the application
    You cannot be from Metro Manila or Nueva Ecija
    And claim TPS

    Naglalaway na Si Kaching Ko

  • Homeland Investigator
    27 April 2014 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Example TPS will be approve, this will be the procedure, You apply for TPS, once you are in our office for interview, we will type your name in our computer and gain immediate access on your records from NBI computer..As . soon as, we find out you don’t belong to the Yolanda devastated area,you have committed a crime for “Immigration Fraud”. Hindi na kita papalabasin, we will deport you within 24Hrs for the next available flight to Manila or dadalhin kita sa San Bernandino prison, awaiting for the next available flight..

    • PAWS
      28 April 2014 at 7:41 am - Reply

      kwentong barbero po yan………..

  • Mario
    27 April 2014 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    That is correct, the SS office reduced my monthly benefits and I complaint to the nearest SocSec office inside the mall. They type my name at the counter computer and on the spot they show me all the pension checks that I am receiving from Dept of Education and AFP. They even show me all my service records from DOE and AFP. Mahirap mandaya, mabuti nalang immigrant na kami.