UNITED States President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to deport illegal immigrants will not affect migrant Filipinos living and working in America, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
This reaction came after Trump threatened to deport or incarcerate up to three million illegal immigrants with criminal records in the US when he takes office in January.
There were 3.18 million Filipinos in the US as of December 2015, according to the DFA. About 271,000 Filipino workers in the US are irregular or undocumented, based on estimates by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas as of December 2013.
Charles Jose, DFA assistant secretary and spokesman, said Trump’s pronouncements should be put in context, as the US deportation policy had been implemented by previous administrations.
“For years, the US government has had in place a system where US authorities deport illegal immigrants in a timely and orderly fashion. These have occasionally included Filipinos arrested because of immigration irregularities and criminal violations,” Jose said.
For a majority of Filipinos, there will be no “calamitous impact” as a result of Trump’s agenda, he said.
“A vast majority of the three million Filipinos residing in the US have legal residency or citizenship status, pay their taxes and generally obey American laws. As such, we presently do not expect President-elect Trump’s immigration pronouncements to have a calamitous impact on the Filipino community there,” Jose said.
During the election campaign, the real estate mogul-turned-politician promised to strictly enforce immigration laws at the border and the workplace, and even send 11 million illegal immigrants home.
In a Sunday television interview, the Republican president-elect said he would aim to “get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers… out of our country” and “secure our border.”
He also stood by his pledge to build a wall on the Mexican border – although he said it could include some fencing.
Experts estimate there are as many as 11 million foreigners living illegally in the United States, many of them Central and Southern Americans long-established in the country.
Trump’s stance stood in opposition with comments by House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said Sunday the focus under a Trump administration would be on securing the border, not rounding up immigrants.
“We are not planning on erecting a deportation force. Donald Trump’s not planning on that,” Ryan told CNN.