U.S. senator, NY cardinal push for temp visa relief for Filipinos after typhoon

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 18, 2013

NEW YORK – Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan are calling on the Department of Homeland Security to grant temporary protected status (TPS) for Filipino nationals who are in the U.S. on a legal visa.

These are Filipinos who are on temporary visas such as H1B work visa, F1 student visa or B1/B2 visitors’ visa that are about to expire.

Schumer said the TPS aims to provide temporary relief to people from countries devastated by natural disasters. It would allow them to legally stay in the U.S. for a set period of time, while their country recovers from devastation.

“There are many Filipino people in New York who are outstanding citizens. For those who are on visas and can’t go home, hopefully they’re allowed to stay for a period of time, until their homeland is back in shape,” Schumer said.

Schumer, who is the chairman of the immigration subcommittee that has jurisdiction over homeland security, is hopeful that TPS will be granted.

However, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) said that while it is up to President Barack Obama and his agencies to grant TPS to the Philippines, the process would only start once the Philippine government makes the TPS request through its diplomatic channel.

Balitang America is still trying to get a response from the Philippine Embassy on this issue.

In the past, the U.S. has extended temporary protected status to Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua who were also devastated by natural disasters.

Cardinal Dolan said it’s the right thing to do. He said, “This makes imminent sense. This is justice. This is fairness. This is classical American hospitality. And let’s do it!”

Schumer said he is also working on including undocumented Filipinos who are in deportation proceedings to be granted TPS, if and only if they have no criminal records.

He stressed, “The general policy of the US has been to not deport people unless they have criminal records.”

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

One Comment

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  • JD
    19 November 2013 at 7:10 am - Reply

    It’s ok, but only the place in the philippines, that is wipe out ? Only were the Devastation is right ? Not the whole philippines is in Devatation ? So I say no to the way your saying until it gets back in shape ? We still can deport people back to the philippines if they don’t come from the Devastion area in the philippines? So please watch what your saying, a lot of people will get Mad to what your saying ?