NaFFAA Calls on DHS to Grant Temporary Protected Status to Filipinos

Submitted by on Mon, 25.11.2013 - 03:06


NaFFAA Calls on DHS to Grant Temporary Protected Status to Filipinos


FilAm Organizations Urged to Endorse Extension of TPS



Washington, D.C.The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is calling on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to designate the Philippines as a country for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).


Currently allowed under immigration laws for countries impacted by a natural disaster resulting in a “substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions,” TPS will provide temporary immigration relief to undocumented Filipino immigrants presently residing in the U.S.


In a letter to DHS Acting Secretary Rand Beers, Navarrawrote that “this benefit will alleviate their fears of deportation to a devastated country and allow them to work and stay in the US temporarily. With this authorization, Filipino nationals can continue providing material and financial support to the homeland, especially at a time when they are in dire need of help.”


J.T. Mallonga, NaFFAA National Vice Chair and President of the Filipino American Legal and Defense Fund (FALDEF), explains that there are precedents where the U.S. administration acted on similar requests. “Following the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti two years ago, the U.S designated TPS to Haitian nationals, allowing them to continue living and working in the country for 18 months,” Mallonga said. “The same should be done to Filipinos, and it must be done soon.” Other nationals from countries devastated by natural disasters, such as Honduras, Sudan and El Salvador, have also been granted TPS before.


Mallonga further explains that “while TPS provides temporary legal status for Filipinos already in the US, it will not necessarily lead to permanent residency. Also, TPS does not provide humanitarian aid or legal status for people not already here.TPS may only be granted for 18 months. Beneficiaries will be granted a temporary employment authorization document as proof of authorized stay in the US for that period. Qualified TPS applicants will then be allowed to remain in the US with a work permit. This is only meant to be a temporary immigration benefit.”

When the Obama administration announced the designation of TPS for Haitian nationals in 2011, Mallonga notes that the 100,000 - 200,000 Haitian immigrants estimated by the Department of Homeland Security to be in the U.S. without authorization were not subject to deportation. The estimated 270,000 undocumented Filipino immigrants will similarly be given the same benefit if TPS is granted.



Bi-Partisn Congressional Support. With members of Congress weighing in on the issue, Navarra has conveyed his thanks to a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives who have endorsed the call for TPS.


“Although congressional approval is not required, their strong message of support is very encouraging,” Navarra said. “We hope more members of Congress will do the same.”


In a Nov. 19 letter signed by 20 US Senators, the signatories assert that “Providing TPS is critical to humanitarian relief efforts as it both protects individuals who would be endangered by returning to their country of origin and it allows the home country more time to recover before accepting returnees.” Among those signing the letter are Senators Harry Reid, John McCain, Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio, Mazie K. Hirono, Richard Durbin, Orrin Hatch, Barbara Boxer, Tim Kaine, and Patrick Leahy. On the House side, 30 US Representatives called on DHS to “exercise its authority to designate the Philippines” for TPS, considering the “daunting rescue and restoration efforts” facing the country. The signatories include Representatives Edward Royce, Zoe Lofgren, Trent Franks. Robert Scott, Xavier Becerra, Judy Chu, Peter King, Colleen Hanabusa, Tammy Duckworth, and Michael Honda.


“We also appreciate what the Obama administration has done to direct much-needed food and relief aid to the affected areas,” Navarra adds. “USAID and the Dept. of Defense have deployed manpower and resources in a timely manner, in addition to providing millions of dollars in emergency assistance.”


Coalition Work. In the days after Typhon Haiyan hit Central Philippines, NaFFAA has been working closely with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC) and other national advocacy groups to map out a plan of action regarding TPS. In addition to letters to Congress, messages were also sent to the Philippine Embassy and other consulates across the U.S..


In a letter to Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisa, Jr., Navarra formally called on the Philippine government, “as a matter of courtesy, to formally request the Obama administration to give the matter its utmost consideration.” Navarra emphasized the humanitarian aspect of TPS, “which allows Filipino breadwinners in the U.S. to be able to go home to the Philippines for closure (in case of death in the family) and to get them to rebuild their lives. It is for this humanitarian reason that there is an outpouring of over whelming support from across the country for the designation of TPS status for the Philippines.”


In pressing for a favorable response from the Aquino administration, Navarra points out that TPS provides important remittance benefits that will help the Philippine economy. Remittances back to El Salvador, which made up over half of all export earnings, have been critical to economic development, and exceeded US foreign aid.


Moreover, Navarra says, “TPS will aid the estimated 270,000 undocumented Filipinos in the US, and another 300,000 on temporary visas. This is a very large pool of potentially eligible Filipinos who would be able to stay in the US, obtain work permits, and send remittances to the Philippines.



Public Pressure Needed. “But to make this happen, there must be public pressure from the community because it’s ultimately up to the President to make this designation,” Navarra explains. “I am calling on all Filipino Americans to call or write their US Senators and US Representatives, urging them to pressure the Department of Homeland Security, to act expeditiously on this matter.”

To date, more than 100 national and local Filipino American and civic organizations have signified their endorsements. They include the AFL-CIO, American Immigration Council, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the United Methodist Church, Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment (AFIRE), American Coalition of Filipino Veterans (ACFV), NANAY, Council for Filipino American Organizations of Central Florida, Filipino American Association of Philadelphia, Order of the Knights (New York Chapter), Uplift International (Denver, Colo.), Federation of Filipino American Organizations of Georgia, and the Philippine-American Society of Greater Dayton.




Call to Action:


Call or Send letters/faxes/e-mails to:


1. Your US Senator and US Representative


2.Hon. Jose L. Cuisa, Jr.

Philippine Ambassador to the U.S.

1600 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC20036

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(202) 467-9300


2. Hon. Rand Beers

Acting Secretary
Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Ave, NW
Washington, D.C.20528



US Senators Endorsing TPS:


Cory Booker (D-NJ)

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Ben Cardin (D-MD)

Christ Coons (D-DE)

Richard Durbin (D-IL)

Orrin Hatch (R-UTAH)

Dean Heller (D-NV)

Mazie Hirono (D-HI)

Tim Kaine (D-VA)

Mark Kirk (R-IL)

Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Edward Markey (D-MASS)

John McCain (R-AZ)

Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

Harry Reid (D-NV)

Marco Rubio (D-FL)

Brian Schatz (D-HI)


US Representatives Endorsing TPS:


Xavier Becerra (D-31st-CA)

Madeleine Bordallo (D-At Large GU)

Judy Chu (D-32nd-CA)

Mario Diaz-Balart (R-21st-FL)

Tammy Duckworth (D-8th-IL)

Eni F. H. Faleomavaega (D-At Large AS)

Trent Franks (R-2nd-AZ)

Joe Garcia (D-26th-FL)

Al Green (D-9th-TX)

Raul Grijalva (D-7th-AZ)

Janice Hahn (D-44th-CA)

Colleen Hanabusa (D-1st-HI)

Michael Honda (D-15th-CA)

Peter King (R3rd-NY)

Zoe Lofgren (D-16th-CA)

Alan Lowenthal (D-47th-CA)

Grace Meng (D-6th-NY)

Grace Napolitano (D-38th-CA)

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-18th-FL)

Edward Royce (R-40th-CA)

Robert Scott (D-3rd-VA)

Adam Schiff (D-29th-CA)

Eric Swalwell (D-15th-CA)

Christopher Smith (R-4th-NJ)

Mark Takano (D-41st-CA)

Mike Thompson (D-1st-CA)

David Valadao (R-21st-CA)

Ted Yoho (R-3rd-FL)


Civic, labor and religious organizations endorsing TPS:






3. Alliance of Filipinos for Immigrant Rights and Empowerment


4. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees


5. Americans for Immigrant Justice


6. American Immigration Council


7. American Immigration Lawyers Association


8. American Jewish Committee


9. Apna Ghar, Inc. (Our Home)


10. Arab American Institute


11. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC


12. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus


13. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles


14. Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago


15. Asian American Federation of Florida


16. Asian American Legal Advocacy Center


17. Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund


18. Asian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona


19. Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center


20. Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations


21. California Immigrant Policy Center


22. Campaign for Community Change


23. Church World Service


24. Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles


25. Fair Immigration Reform Movement


26. Filipino American Association of Brevard County, Florida Inc.


27. Florida Immigration Coalition


28. Florida's Space Coast Filipino American Charitable and Educational Foundation Inc.


29. Franciscan Action Network


30. Gay Asian Pacific Alliance


31. HIAS


32. Hispanic Federation


33. Hmong-American Partnership, Fox Valley Inc.


34. Hmong National Development, Inc.


35. Hmong Nationality Organization


36. Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights


37. Immigrant LawCenter of Minnesota


38. Immigrant Legal Resource Center


39. Kaya: Filipino Americans for Progress - DC Chapter


40. Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York


41. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service


42. NAFSA: Association of International Educators


43. NANAY Community Economic Development Corporation


44. National Alliance for Filipino Veterans Equity


45. National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association


46. National Asian Pacific American Bar Association


47. National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum


48. National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, Arizona Chapter


49. National Council of Jewish Women


50. National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA)


51. National Immigrant Justice Center


52. National Immigration Forum


53. National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health


54. National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance


55. Northwest Immigrant Rights Project


56. Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network


57. Sisters of Mercy of the Americas


58. South Asian American Policy & Research Institute


59. South Asian Americans Leading Together


60. Southeast Asia Resource Action Center


61. Tacoma Community House


62. The Episcopal Church


63. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights


64. United We Dream


65. United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society


66. U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants


67. Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Associations, Inc.


68. World Relief


69. American Coalition of Filipino Veterans (ACFV)


70. Council for Filipino American Organizations of Central Florida


71. Order of the Knights Metro Orlando


72. Order of the Knights New York Chapter


73. La Comunidad de Zamboahga de Nueva York.


74. Mending Fences, Denver, Colorado


75. Filipino American Association of Philadelphia


76. Uplift Internationale (Denver, Colo)


78. Federation of Filipino American Organizations of Georgia


79.Philippine-American Society of Greater Dayton.


80. Filipino American Ladies Organization of Dayton (OH)

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