Undocumented Pinoys' Christmas wish: Temporary protected status

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Dec. 11, 2013

LOS ANGELES – With their families in their hearts, Filipinos, including the undocumented, held a vigil outside of the Los Angeles Philippine Consulate praying for one Christmas wish—the passage of Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

TPS can help the undocumented like “John”, who hails from typhoon-ravaged Tacloban, gain temporary work authorization and be spared from deportation.

John said he felt helpless as his family members, who lost their home, struggle to survive.

“It’s like being trapped,” John said. “You can’t help because you can’t travel. You can’t give them hugs or personally check on them.”

He added: “Of course you send them what money you can to help. But that’s not stable because work isn’t stable.”

After U.S. officials and lawmakers expressed an interest in offering humanitarian aid, Filipinos have been calling on President Aquino to make a formal request for TPS.

In a statement, Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Cuisia, Jr. said the embassy has been consulting with U.S. government authorities on the TPS program and has been talking with leaders of the Filipino community, as well as Philippine officials on the issue.

Cuisia added that the consultation process is still ongoing. He said, “When the decision on what action to take is finally made, it would be based on the Philippine government believes would be best for our country and our people.”

Immigration attorney Mary Lyn Sanga said, “We need TPS because the Philippines needs every help we can get. A person granted or a person found to be eligible for this category is not removable.”

While some experts believe TPS can eventually affect a million Filipinos in the U.S., advocates who have been in contact with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said President Aquino may have to underestimate the number if and when he makes the request

The Pilipino Workers Center has spoken with the Philippine consulate and the Department of Homeland Security on how the community can push for the measure.

They believe Aquino may need to keep the request to 300,000 beneficiaries.

“If you are saying that there will be an estimated 800,000 to 1 million, imagine the impact of how to process that,” Lolit Lledo of Pilipino Workers Center said. “So it probably might become a barrier. So they estimated that it would probably be around 300,000 undocumented Filipinos that will come out and apply for TPS.”

Lledo added that even if a small amount is given to U.S. officials, there will most likely be no limit to the number of actual TPS applications granted.

For John, a part time caregiver, he eagerly waits for TPS so he can not only visit his family but find a better job to support them.

You can contact Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

5 Comments on this post.

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  • Kikay Pang0
    11 December 2013 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    I support deportation and giving them sympathy is good enough

  • Pepe
    12 December 2013 at 1:58 am - Reply

    800,000 to 1 million Filipino illegals in the US…. Deporting all of them is the best christmas gift from US immigration.

  • JT
    12 December 2013 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    PH activist GABRIELA said US relief aids to typhoon victims is an example of exploitation of Filipinos from American capitalist….Bad comment, this will expedite, the deportation of Pinoy illegals in the US…

  • HELLO
    12 December 2013 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    The only Christmas wish we the Americans have is to send all undocumented back to they country ! Why Aquino can’t help his own people with the request for TPS !

  • Aquilina
    17 January 2014 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Wow, most of these comments are so cold and hateful. What if they are in need of help and aid someday?

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