Why they believe TPS will not be granted to the Philippines

Three months after Haiyan, the Philippines mounted a large-scale tourism campaign thanking the world for their kindness and generosity.

Three months after Haiyan, the Philippines mounted a large-scale tourism campaign thanking the world for their kindness and generosity.

By Maricar CP Hampton

Any time now, according to some immigration advocates, the U.S. government will announce its decision to either grant or deny the request for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the Philippines. And though the decision can still go either way, skepticism is now creeping in as to its final outcome.

“First and foremost, the Philippines as a nation has not been devastated to the extent that other countries that received TPS have,” opined diplomatic analyst Sonny Busa. “Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador, to name a few, were wiped out. In the Philippines, only a few provinces were hit hard. Not the entire country. ”

TPS is a humanitarian relief granted to foreign nationals who come from countries that are in a state of war or suffered from a natural calamity such as Super Typhoon Haiyan. If the Philippines is granted TPS, undocumented Filipinos will be allowed to stay legally in the U.S. for at least 18 months while the Philippines undergoes rehabilitation. Anywhere from 500,000 to a million Filipinos are likely to benefit from a visa extension in the event that TPS is approved by the U.S. for Manila.

Busa said the Philippines appears to be doing just fine. There is no massive economic dislocation and the country continues to engage in a robust tourist promotion campaign. “The Philippine economy grew last year and is on track to do so this year,” he said.

He offered an explanation why President Obama may be treading slowly on the issue. “The President may not want to anger conservatives, whose support he needs for reform, by giving a benefit to hundreds of thousands of undocumented Filipinos.”

Despite the Philippines being a staunch ally country, Busa said the Philippine -U.S. relations will not be affected in the event that TPS is not granted.

“The U.S.-Philippine bilateral relationship is strong. Denying TPS would not be a deal-breaker. In fact, the Philippine government is hardly pressing the issue. It is not a top concern,” he said.

Immigration attorney Januario Azarcon said it could be as matter of perception.

“The possible perception that there has been sufficient rehabilitation and the number of those impacted is minimal. And (the perception) that it is safe for foreign nationals to return to the areas that have been damaged by the national calamity,” he said are possible reasons TPS may be denied the Philippines.

Generally, in order for TPS to be granted, “the devastation has to be widespread,” Azarcon said. In the case of the Philippines, options for rehabilitation readily became available and the government did not appear to be completely helpless despite the massive destruction.

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