The excruciating wait for TPS relief for undocumented Filipinos

While making a ‘parol,’ this man also makes a statement. Relief 2 Recovery photo

While making a ‘parol,’ this man also makes a statement. Relief 2 Recovery photo

By Lorial Crowder

As the one month mark has passed since Super Typhoon Haiyan, there has been little word from the Philippine government to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for U.S.-based Filipinos which could provide temporary immigration relief to some 500,000 undocumented Filipino immigrants.

The questions have been: Why is President Aquino moving slowly on the issue? If TPS has historically been offered by the U.S. Government as a measure to benefit immigrants from countries in conditions of armed conflict or civil war, in a state of environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane) or an epidemic, then what is the hesitation from the Philippines seeking help for its citizens in the U.S.?
TPS is not well known unless you are from a foreign country residing in the United States and your country has gone through civil unrest or experienced catastrophic disaster. It is a legal measure for non-residents in the United States who do not want to be returned—or deported — to their country at an unstable time and do not want to risk such measures.
It is supposed to apply to individuals in good standing and who have established continuous residence in the United States.

Many undocumented Filipinos are responsible for sending as much $1.94 billion worldwide, which accounts for 10 percent of the gross domestic product of the Philippines. Lawyers say TPS would ensure continued remittances especially during a time of calamity. From the ground there has been clamor for Aquino to request the U.S. government to grant TPS to Filipino immigrants for humanitarian reasons.

At a ‘Relief 2 Recovery’ press conference on December 5th at the New York Legal Assistance Group in downtown NYC, advocates and lawyers began to follow the slow progress of TPS.

By November 26th, 19 Senators had already signed a letter addressed to President Aquino yet there was no response. The consuls general in the major cities including Chicago, San Francisco, New York City and Los Angeles were also publicly supporting TPS yet still no word from the Philippines. In those same major cities with high populations of Filipinos, there were coordinated efforts to host simultaneous press conferences and vigils to bring more attention to TPS.

On December 10th, despite near freezing temperatures and government closures due to severe weather, the consulates from the major cities and key leaders in support of TPS and Relief 2 Recovery Campaign convened in Washington, D.C. There was a candlelight vigil in L.A, organized by TPS supporters. Public awareness about the need for TPS has been slowly gaining traction with the hope that the Aquino administration would request the Obama administration for immigration relief for its nationals. It is believed that outreach will need to go beyond the Unites States and further demands from the Filipino people and organizations in the Philippines.

To learn more about TPS for the Philippines visit this site.

One Comment

  1. RobDH wrote:

    That’s just great, 500,000 illegal (undocumented) Filipino living in the USA and they expect “Protected Status”. For what? They are not affected by the typhoon is the southern Philippines. They are just T&T (illegals that is all. How many illegals do the Philippine allow? NONE, that’s how many. You all are just trying to game the system and take advantage of whatever you can. Sad, so sad!

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