16 December 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C.-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.
More than 200 Filipino-American organizations across the US, backed by members of the US Senate and House of Representatives, the Catholic Church and other NGOs have requested for the additional immigration relief measures that a TPS designation would be able to provide to Filipinos.
Secretary Del Rosario said 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.
Ambassador Cuisia said the Embassy has also been in discussions with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State and the DFA in Manila since the TPS was first brought to his attention a few days after Haiyan struck the country.
Ambassador Cuisia said the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Consulates General in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Agana made the recommendation to Secretary Del Rosario during their annual conference in Washington, D.C. last week and after extensive consultations with leaders of the Filipino Community in their respective jurisdictions.
Ambassador Cuisia explained that a TPS designation for the Philippines would allow eligible Filipinos currently in the US to support the long-term relief and rehabilitation efforts in the country because they could be given temporary authorization to stay and work for a limited period.
He said the request will have to first be evaluated by US authorities and may take some time. If approved, eligible Filipinos can start filing their applications, which will be reviewed on a case-to-case basis.
He said that in addition to TPS, Filipinos already in the US can also take advantage of the immigration breaks announced by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service on 15 November of which some Filipinos have already availed themselves.
From Guerrero Yee LLP:
On December 4, 2013, during a press conference held by a number of TPS advocacy groups, at the offices of the New York Legal Assistance Group in Manhattan, partner Rio Guerrero called upon the Philippine government to seek TPS from the U.S. government.
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
1612 K Street NW, Suite 1400
Washington, DC 20006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20, 2013
Contact: Emily Chatterjee
NAPABA DONATES $10,000 TO TYPHOON HAIYAN RELIEF EFFORTS
Supports Immigration Relief for Filipinos Based in the United States
WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) today announced that it has committed $10,000 to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in support of the IRC’s emergency relief efforts in the Philippines. NAPABA also announced its support for temporary immigration-related relief for individuals from the Philippines who are currently in the U.S.
“NAPABA is committed to supporting the victims of the Typhoon Haiyan catastrophe. We will be donating $10,000 to support the IRC, which is currently focused on clean water, health care, and other urgent needs in the Philippines,” said William J. Simonitsch, president of NAPABA. “Almost a million people have been displaced internally, and the rebuilding efforts will be ongoing for years to come. We encourage all those who are able to do so to make a charitable donation to the IRC or to other groups working on the ground.”
In addition to the list of aid agencies recommended in NAPABA’s statement in support of victims of Typhoon Haiyan on Monday, which may be found here, potential donors may want to consider Save the Children and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON).
Tina Matsuoka, executive director of NAPABA, stated, “We recognize that, in addition to financial support, victims and their families need other assistance, which is why NAPABA has endorsed Temporary Protected Status for the Philippines. With TPS, Filipinos in the U.S. can be protected from deportation and are eligible to work, enabling them to continue to send remittances back home, thereby helping their families rebuild their lives.”
Under §244(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) would allow nationals from the Philippines residing in the U.S. to receive a temporary, humanitarian form of relief from deportation, and make them eligible to obtain work authorization. The Department of Homeland Security designated Haiti for TPS in similar circumstances after a massive earthquake in 2010. Today, NAPABA joined the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and others in a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Beers, and formally requested that the Philippines be designated for TPS will all due haste.
About the International Rescue Committee:
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. When an emergency arises, the IRC arrives on the scene within 72 hours with urgently needed supplies and expertise that protect people caught in the midst of chaos. We commit to stay as long as we are needed, helping survivors to heal, recover and rebuild their communities to be stronger, more stable and more democratic.
As many of you know, the Philippines was recently devastated by what the many have referred to as “the perfect storm,” a “super typhoon,” and “one of the strongest cyclones ever recorded.”
It has been a little over a week since Typhoon Haiyan (or Typhoon Yolanda, as it is known in the Philippines) made landfall in the Philippines, and yet the needs of the victims in its path have not abated. Many remain without shelter, food, water, or medication. According to CNN, as of November 15:
- more than 3,000 are dead
- 9 million are affected, 4 million of whom are children
- 2.5 million are in need of food despite 40 tons of food packs having been distributed
- $300 million in immediate relief is needed.
The Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (FALANY), along with the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA/NJ), encourage you to consider helping relief efforts in any way you feel appropriate.
Please keep in mind that due to the magnitude of the devastation and the limited manpower available on the ground, financial contributions to aid agencies are most welcome, rather than donations of consumer goods.
If you wish to make a financial donation, we suggest the following organizations for your consideration, both of which have 501©(3) status:
- University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society in America (“UPMASA”). UPMASA is a non-profit organization comprised of medical professionals who graduated from the University of the Philippines. They are accepting donations until December 11 to support their medical mission to the worst affected areas in the Philippines. The funds will be used to provide acute and prophylactic care to those most in need. Donations may be made through their website: www.upmasanational.org.
- Gawad Kalinga (“GK”) is a non-profit organization founded in the Philippines. It has been at the forefront of ongoing relief efforts. GK is collecting donations to assemble food packs. One food pack costs $5 and will feed a family of four for 3-4 days. The organization is also collecting donations for the infrastructure rehabilitation and rebuilding of the affected areas. Donations can be made through their website: www.gk-usa.org/donate. Checks may also be mailed to Gawad Kalinga USA, 13860 Stowe Drive, Poway, CA 92064, Memo: Typhoon Haiyan.
Also attached to this email is a list of upcoming fundraising events in the area and a list of drop off locations for donations in kind (canned goods, blankets, clothing).
We encourage you to inquire with your employers regarding donation-matching programs. The following companies have established such programs:
- Allstate (dollar-for-dollar match for donations made through Dec. 6; a 15% match will be available thereafter)
- McGuireWoods (dollar-for-dollar match of donations made to the Red Cross by its employees up to $50,000)
- Sprint (dollar-for-dollar match of donations made by its employees and retirees up to $25,000)
- Verizon (dollar-for dollar match of donations made by its lawyers and staff up to $25,000)
We thank you for the time you have taken to read this message and for any help you might be able to give. Should you need more information, please do not hesitate to contact FALANY at: FALANY2013@gmail.com.
As many of you know, the devastating super typhoon Haiyan ravaged the central Philippines last Friday. As rescue workers have struggled to reach survivors, news of the immense damage and loss of life is gradually coming to light. As of this morning, death tolls are estimated to exceed 10,000 people, over 630,000 were forced from their homes, and more than 9.5 million have been affected. The relief effort by aid agencies is just getting underway, and they must contend with the complicated logistics of getting people and aid out to the affected areas. This will be extremely difficult because of the extreme disruption to ports and airports, and the inaccessibility of roads.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association expresses its condolences and extends its prayers to the victims of this disaster, and to the families of those who may have been affected. NAPABA encourages you to support relief efforts in any way you feel appropriate. But please note that when disasters like this occur, the victims are helped most by financial contributions to aid agencies, rather than donations of consumer goods.
If you want to make a donation, but are unsure of which aid agency you wish to support, NAPABA, together with the National Filipino American Lawyers Association, suggest the following:
- Charity Navigator, which rates & has a list of reputable aid organizations (including most of the organizations below) that are contributing to relief efforts in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan:http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1659#.UoDq7p3Tl9D
- Gawad Kalinga USA, is accepting donations to pay for 200,000 food packs that Gawad Kalinga Philippines will distribute in hard-hit areas. The packs – which include rice, bottled water and canned goods – can feed families for three or four days for as little as $5. Please click on the following link to donate: http://gk-usa.org/donations/
- American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Typhoon-Haiyan-Disaster-Alert
- Catholic Relief Services: http://crs.org/
- CARE: http://www.care.org/emergencies/typhoon-haiyan
- Doctors Without Borders: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/
- International Rescue Committee: http://www.rescue.org/
- Oxfam: http://firstperson.oxfamamerica.org/
- UNICEF: http://fieldnotes.unicefusa.org/2013/11/super-typhoon-haiyan-strikes-philippines.html
- World Food Program USA: http://wfpusa.org/
- Please share this information with your various contacts / networks, and please consider making a charitable donation today!
William J. Simonitsch
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
“INUMAN AT PULUTAN”
Drinks and Tapas … Philippine-style
Midtown Loft and Terrace, 267 Fifth Avenue (at 29th St), New York NY 10016
14 November 2013, Thursday
6:00 pm to 7:00 pm VIP Hour (by invitation only)
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Open to Public (tickets for sale)
We’re bringing the flavors of our 7,107 islands to the island of Manhattan.
Inuman at Pulutan is back! Launched just last year, this fun Philippine food and drinks event has become a much-anticipated party for New Yorkers who appreciate Filipino food and for Fil-Ams who long for the flavors they grew up with. Last year’s event was also a pleasant discovery for foodies who got their first introduction to the flavors of the Philippines.
We’re bringing you Inuman at Pulutan again and this time in a bigger event venue to make room for everyone who wants to enjoy modern interpretations of Philippine food prepared by New York-based chefs and restaurants, accompanied by San Miguel Beer and cocktails from Destileria Limtuaco. Join us and find out why It’s More Fun in the Philippines!