Pinoy teachers push for TPS to solve expiring visa woes

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 2, 2014

BALTIMORE, Md. – Filipino teachers whose visas are about to expire are calling on the US government to finally make a decision on an immigration relief that seems to be their only option.

These overseas Filipino workers belong to more than 600 teachers recruited from the Philippines since 2005 to work as teachers in Baltimore’s public schools.

About 10 percent of the city’s teaching staff are Filipino.

According to the United Teachers of New Orleans, Filipino teachers have contributed to the improvement of their Baltimore students’ grades.

Results of standardized tests between 2005 and 2010 show grades were 11 to 30 points higher in math and reading.

Foreign educators are typically given three years of temporary non-immigrant work visas that are renewable for another three years. After that, they may qualify and change their status to permanent residents.

Cagayan Valley native Danilo Danga’s current visa is about to expire on June 30. He feels he’s running out of options, especially when his company is being audited.

“We are waiting for the result of that audit and we’re hoping that it would be a positive one,” Danga said. “But based from our experiences we had from the batch of teachers filed before us, all of them got denied.”

“There was a debarment issue in Prince Georges County, so at the same time it was lifted, the county refused to renew their contracts,” Arnedo Valera of Migrant Heritage Commission said. “So many of these teachers’ H1B visas are ending because they expire after six years.”

Valera says it seems their only hope right now is for the Philippines’ request for temporary protected status or TPS to pass.

The US Department of Homeland security has yet to decide whether to grant the TPS. Doing so would allow Filipino nationals with expiring or expired visas to temporarily stay and work in the in the country while the Philippines recovers from Typhoon Yolanda.

It’s up to the DHS,” Arsenio Dalang, a teacher with an expiring visa, said. “I am hoping we will have good news about it when President Obama visits the Philippines.”

“I’m requesting all our kababayans, wherever you are in the world, to please help approve TPS,” Beverly Esguerra, a teacher who also has an expiring visa, said. “I called ten times the DHS to please approve TPS.”

Valera says, Filipino nationals with expired or expiring visas must consult a qualified immigration attorney to find out their eligibility for temporary protected status.

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

11 Comments on this post.

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  • Kikay Pang0
    2 April 2014 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    Illegals have no right to abuse the goodwill of American people …

  • JRB
    2 April 2014 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    No way in hell, should the U.S. Department of homeland security grant TPS to anyone from the Philippines, until you find out who needs it ? I don’t think everyone needs a TPS ? So the best answer is don’t give TPS to no one, put a end to this TPS once and for all?

  • Filam
    2 April 2014 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    There are unemployed American teachers.
    First employ them

    Greedy immigration lawyers are for TPS
    Ask an ordinary American if they want this

  • Filam
    2 April 2014 at 11:45 pm - Reply

    Valera is an immigration lawyer from Maryland.

    Ask him if he does not charge
    For Asylum Cases, Human Trafficking
    Or telling people that work With
    To adopt their own brother and petition them

  • Gabriela Silang
    3 April 2014 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    Everyone who has commented before me seems to be ignorant of what TPS is all about. TPS designation is an immigration relief provided by the US government to undocumented immigrants whose country of origin has been devastated either by an ongoing state of war or other natural disasters. Countries who suffered from terrible, impactful disasters like Haiti have been provided temporary protection status. It does not in anyway alter the immigration status of the beneficiaries, it just gives them 18 months of relief to be able to work and travel.

    I think you guys need to educate yourself before posting your uneducated comments. Smarten up a little, will ya?

  • Takeshi
    3 April 2014 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    There are many unemployed American teachers in the U.S. Give the jobs to the Americans first. This is one reason why the economy of the U.S. is going down.

  • filam
    3 April 2014 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Hire legal unemployed Americans first, they cannot go to any other country when the going gets tough

    Immigration lawyers are pushing for this…more money for them

    In Haiti the whole country was devastated

    Will you give TPS whose family resides in Manila

  • Takeshi
    3 April 2014 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    It is so funny that these teachers are using the typhoon that happened in Leyte seems like they lived in that place so that they could be granted visas.

  • JRB
    7 April 2014 at 8:04 am - Reply

    @Gabrieda Silang, I’m giving some advise, before you say that we should smarten up. Thiis is America not philippines in America if your a Undocumented or should we put it Illegal in America you don’t deserve anything from us Americans, our government job is to get rid of all Undocumented and Illegal people out of our country. Now tell me who should smarten up, I think is you should smarten up? In American you earn the respect of us Americans by not just come into America as a Undocumented or Illegal tell us you want because you don’t belong here in America until you become legal like us Americans!

    • john
      8 May 2014 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      Judging from the way you spell, it seems that we needed these teachers from abroad to help us out.Let them stay to improve not only the quality of their life, but also the academic skills of students. Always remember : America is a country of immigrants”

  • Kirhat
    7 May 2014 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    If they have chosen to live and work in the US, then that’s fine. They want a good life, which is understandable. Just make sure that if they face troubles there, they should not run to the Phil. Embassy and ask that public funds be used to ensure that they maintain their comfortable lives in the US.

    There is no value added in helping these teachers because the country will not benefit that much if they want to continue to stay there. What possible benefit can the folks in Leyte get if we use public funds to help these US teachers fight for their continued stay abroad? Is the amount that they sent to the Philippines (remittances) enough to offset the expenditure that the Phil. Government will be spending?

    Most of these teachers have already bought houses/properties and even brought their families there. So why in the world should the Phil. Government spend for their legal cases when there are thousands of cases under the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) that needs more attention?

    Besides, many of those affected teachers are not from the Yolanda-affected areas. They are just pretending (lying) about their true home province just to remain in the US.

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