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Potential TPS Designation for the Philippines

| Feb 8, 2024 | Firm News

In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, the immigration law community has been discussing the possibility of temporary protected status (TPS) designation for the Philippines.

“The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a country, or portions of a country, for TPS when conditions exist such as an ongoing armed conflict or an environmental disaster in the country that temporarily prevents the country’s nationals from returning safely. While not required, typically a country must first request TPS before the Secretary will make a designation. Once a country receives a TPS designation, nationals of that country residing in the U.S. receive a temporary, humanitarian form of relief from deportation that does not include the granting of permanent residence. The initial TPS designation lasts for a period of 6 to 18 months and can be extended if conditions continue to support the designation.”

If the Philippines is designated, Filipino nationals in the U.S. may apply for temporary protected status to prevent themselves from being removed from the U.S. by the government, and/or to get work authorization and a temporary lawful immigration status if they are not in removal proceedings.  They must meet eligibility requirements, which includes not being “inadmissible” for certain criminal convictions, fraud or misrepresentation, or other negative factors.  Should Filipinos become eligible to apply, they should seek assistance from immigration attorneys or non-profit organizations under the direction of an immigration attorney when submitting their applications.

The Philippine government must make the request to the U.S. government through its diplomatic channels.  Unfortunately, in the aftermath of the typhoon, the Philippine government has been criticized as being “useless” and “paralyzed”  in taking leadership for the relief efforts.  Hopefully, the diplomats can work or are already working to secure TPS designation.

Some of the reasons for TPS designation include:

  • “On Friday, November 8th, Typhoon Haiyan – one of the most powerful storms ever recorded on land – hit the Philippines, bringing sustained winds of 147mph and waves as high as 45ft. An estimated 6.9 million people have been affected by the storm. Relief efforts are just beginning as debris is slowly being cleared from access roads and airports begin to re-open. The death toll is estimated to be in the thousands while the number of people displaced by the massive storm rises into the hundreds of thousands. The long term impacts of the storm are still yet unknown.
  • It would impose a great burden on the rescue and restoration effort in the Philippines to require the country to reabsorb its nationals from abroad, many of whom may have homes that were destroyed by the Typhoon. TPS exists to provide a safe haven for those who are reluctant to return to potentially dangerous situations, and to assist nations who are under extraordinary and temporary conditions and face difficulties in receiving their nationals safely.
  • A grant of TPS would allow Filipinos here in the U.S. to work and support their families in the Philippines who were impacted by the Typhoon. Remittances account for almost 10 percent of the Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product. Now, more than ever, those funds are needed to help support the recovery process.”

Those wishing to donate to the Philippines may do so to organizations such as the Red Cross, rather than sending items such as old clothes, which may actually hamper relief efforts.

Grace Alano is an immigration attorney at The Law Offices of Grace R. Alano in San Francisco, CA. Find Grace on  Google+Twitter and Facebook.