Pinoy TPS activists rally in DC ahead of Obama’s PH arrival

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 28, 2014

WASHINGTON DC – Before President Barack Obama could even set foot in Manila, dozens of migrant workers and undocumented immigrants from different parts of the US came together at the White House to remind Washington and the public that the Typhoon Yolanda crisis in the Philippines is not over.

Aquilina Soriano Versoza, executive director of Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California said, “Huwag makalimutan yung crisis sa Pilipinas. We want to make sure that the ongoing crisis, the destruction after the Haiyan is still in the public mind and that Washington remembers it as well. We need to keep up the urgency, so that we make sure that a full recovery really happens sa Pilipinas.”

A group called Relief 2 Recovery coalition urges the US to continue all forms of humanitarian aid to the Philippines, including the granting of a form of immigration relief called Temporary Protected Status or TPS.

“So we’re very hopeful the expectation is on Monday we will hear a major announcement from President Obama himself and we are very glad that President Aquino will bring the TPS request personally.” Community leader Eric Lachica said. “We are very hopeful because we have talked to many of his staff.”

If granted, TPS 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 recover from Yolanda’s devastation.

TPS would benefit Filipino nationals like 70-year-old Filipina caregiver who lost her status and has been working off the books for 20 years.
Sally Cionela says she lost her home, businesses and other properties in Leyte to Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Cionela said, “ In my estimate together, we lost, about P1 million. I am not sure how I can rebuild that and help my bro and family get back on their feet. So that’s why I’m asking the president — Mr. President of the White House, to give us TPS Now! Please.”

Cionella said the Department of Homeland Security forgets there are over 6,000 people who have died because of Typhoon Yolanda, there are 1.9 million houses destroyed, over four million displaced from their homes, and it is time for them to grant TPS now.

Community leader Jon Meligrito says he hopes that President Obama’s visit to the Philippines will convince him of the need to grant this immigration relief.

National Federation of Filipino American Associations’ Jon Melegroito said, “Kasi pagna-feel niya talaga, hopefully, pag dalaw niya dun talagang makita niya yung urgency ng recovery at sana nga mabigyan niya ng support yung decision ng DHS na bigyan ng TPS.”

Lillian Galedo said, “Obama can basically decide this. He can mandate DHS to approve TPS.”

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

6 Comments on this post.

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  • Julio E.Yap
    28 April 2014 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    every body are expecting that uncle sum will favor our request but look what happen he didnt even touch this topic after all they got they want from us .This is the big lession for us that we shuold not expect something from them and relied rother to strive and work .

  • Kikay Pang0
    29 April 2014 at 4:56 am - Reply

    Why TPS are not awarded for Illegal Filipinos ?

    A) Phil. Health of Economy and remittance by OFW prior to typhoon Haiyan get stronger each year.

    B) Yolanda didn’t damage big portion of the country.

    C) Economist from the Phil says ….. .govt have enough reserved money to cover the cost of rebuilding the devastation. So TPS seekers , your manipulating drama and dreams will never come through. ….. Think of something else that is more believable and convincing for DHS..

  • PAWS
    29 April 2014 at 5:05 am - Reply

    BS Aquino screwed up. he’s speech are all nonsense and bullshits……Obama didnt get impressed

  • MPR
    29 April 2014 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Let’s hope TPS issue be finally laid to rest. It sounded like a broken record for a long while. Let’s just strive and work hard for ourselves, family and country. BTW, seems PH didn’t get a fair deal yesterday. Facial expressions and other non-verbal communications of government officials appeared to tell how they felt. Law of economics could be the reason behind. China after all is 1 of US biggest creditors.

  • Filam
    29 April 2014 at 5:47 pm - Reply
  • JRB
    30 April 2014 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Obama should put a end to the TPS, It’s a mess to think about it, because who is right the people that is here Illegal or the people that live legal in America ? To me I live here in America was born in America to a American born mother,and believe if your Illegal you shouldn’t have a TPS at all no way you should have a TPS ! And be help by our taxes money ! They should send all Illegal out of our country back home where they come from ?

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