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Undocumented workers in US seek protection to help families recover from Haiyan


Jersey City, New Jersey– The Filipino-American youth community urged US State Secretary John Kerry to grant undocumented Filipino workers in the US a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to prevent them from being deported at a time when their families are still recovering from the effects of typhoon Haiyan. In a letter to Kerry dated February […]

A social media meme urging the US government to grant Temporary Protection Status to the Philippines. Nafcon USA
A social media meme urging the US government to grant Temporary Protection Status to the Philippines. Nafcon USA

Jersey City, New Jersey– The Filipino-American youth community urged US State Secretary John Kerry to grant undocumented Filipino workers in the US a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to prevent them from being deported at a time when their families are still recovering from the effects of typhoon Haiyan.

In a letter to Kerry dated February 5, the Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network said, “We must help the relief efforts by halting the deportations of Filipinos in the US, which would allow them to work here while sending critical financial support to their relatives back home who were affected by the calamity. They also urgently need to visit their families without losing their jobs here.”

A TPS grants undocumented workers the right to remain in the US. An initial TPS could last from six months to one year and a half.

It was granted by the US government to workers from Haiti when the said country was hit by a destructive earthquake last 2010, according to the youth network.

Recently, Filipino youth and students held a community forum at the Saint Peter’s University, in an effort to shine light on their demand for TPS. Many of these students are children of the approximately one million undocumented Filipino workers in the US.

In its letter to Kerry, the youth network further said, “The unemployment crisis in the Philippines has been severely aggravated by the disaster, with millions of people displaced and trying to find jobs in the cities. If deportations continue, the Philippine economy would not be able to absorb the influx of overseas unemployed workers.”

If TPS is granted to the Philippines by US authorities, Filipino workers can start filing their applications. Applications will be reviewed on a case-to-case basis.

“TPS creates an opportunity for undocumented Filipinos to better contribute to typhoon relief,” stated the National Alliance For Filipino Concerns.

According to Taskforce Haiyan New Jersey, an organization that coordinates relief efforts, benefits from a TPS includes: the right to remain in the US; right to obtain work authorization; protection from deportation; and travel authorization.