TPS for the Philippines
By Danielle Beach-Oswald
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is an available form of temporary, humanitarian relief for those who are in the United States from countries that the currently facing ongoing armed conflict or an environmental emergency. According to USCIS, “The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. USCIS may grant TPS to eligible nationals of certain countries (or parts of countries), who are already in the United States. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted TPS.”
Given the recent devastation in the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines appears to be an eligible candidate for TPS designation. While there has not been an official designation yet, many organizations and individuals are calling upon the Department of Homeland Security and President Barak Obama to make the necessary designation. Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration calls for TPS for people from the Philippines. His request for TPS centers on the fact that the Philippines currently cannot assist or accommodate deportees from the United States. Furthermore he argues, “It would ensure that nationals of the country currently residing in the U.S. are able to work and to send remittances back to their families, thus helping aid the recovery.”
Additionally, the Migration Heritage Commission, based in Washington, DC is also calling for TPS in the wake of the tragedy in the Philippines. “Attorney Arnedo Valera of the Migrant Heritage Commission said undocumented immigrants should also get TPS, and should also get work and travel permits. Not only will this “strengthen foreign relations between the U.S. and the Philippines”, Valera said, “It will allow Filipino nationals in the U.S. to keep the Philippine economy afloat by continuing to send dollar remittances. This can help the Philippines in the recovery efforts after Typhoon Yolana.”
It is clear that allowing Filipinos to remain in the USA, protected by TPS, would ensure that they can continue to work and hopefully send aid money and remittances to their home country, aiding the reconstruction process. It would also reduce any pressure on the Filipino government to absorb deportees when their priorities should be on rebuilding the country post-disaster.
Countries that currently have TPS designations include: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria.