The Philippines has formally requested Washington for additional immigration relief measures to allow eligible Filipinos to stay and work in the United States so they could support the country’s long-term post-typhoon recovery efforts, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced Monday, 16 December.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario said the request to designate the Philippines under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was officially conveyed on Friday, 13 December, by Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. to the Department of Homeland Security through a note verbale to the Department of State.
“Recognizing the intense desire of the Filipino-American Community to more effectively assist victims, we would like to formally request that eligible Filipino nationals in the US be granted Temporary Protected Status under Section 244 of the US Immigration and Nationality Act,” said the letter signed by Ambassador Cuisia and addressed to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers.
The request was made in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,000 people; displaced more than 4 million and affected more than 12 million during its violent rampage across the Central Philippines last month.
If the request is granted, the Philippines will join four other countries that were placed under TPS after going through similar natural catastrophes. These are El Salvador and Haiti after these were devastated by earthquakes in 2001 and 2010 respectively and Nicaragua and Honduras after they were affected by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
TPS designation for the Philippines would allow eligible Filipinos currently in the U.S. to support the long-term relief and rehabilitation efforts by granting temporary authorization to stay and work for a limited period.
The request will be evaluated by U.S. authorities and it may take some time. Once the request is approved, eligible Filipinos can start filing their application, which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary, humanitarian form of relief for those who are in the United States in the case of an ongoing armed conflict or an environmental disaster in their country of origin. On Friday, November 8th, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, affecting millions. The devastating impact makes the Philippines a well-suited candidate for TPS designation.