The United States may put the Philippines under temporary protected status (TPS), which will allow those affected by Typhoon Yolanda to temporarily stay in the country for a certain period of time based on humanitarian considerations.
In a statement posted by the Philippine Embassy in Washington on Wednesday (Manila time), Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. said that consultations have been going on in the past weeks between the officials of the US government and various stakeholders such as the embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs on the possibility of putting the Philippines under TPS.
This is being pushed ever since Typhoon Yolanda ravaged eastern Visayas on November 8.
According to Cuisia, the TPS will “enable eligible Filipino nationals to support relief and rehabilitation efforts in the Philippines by allowing them to legally stay and work in the US for a certain period.”
The US immigration services announced on November 15 that immigration relief measures may be extended to Filipinos currently in the US who may have been affected by the super typhoon.
“The consultation process is still ongoing. When the decision on what action to take is finally made, it would be based on what the Philippine government believes would be best for our country and our people,” Cuisia said.
The envoy expressed the country’s gratefulness for the help being extended by the American government.
The US Department of Homeland Security may designate a country under TPS when the circumstances of that country prevent the safe return of its nationals or when the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals.
A country may be put under TPS because of armed conflict (civil war), natural disasters such as earthquake and hurricane and other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
Once an individual is eligible for TPS, he/she is irremovable from the US, will be granted an employment authorization document and can obtain travel authorization.
An eligible individual for TPS cannot be detained on the basis of his/her immigration status.
The department, however, warned those who will benefit from TPS that it “is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status.”
Countries currently under the TPS are Haiti, South Sudan, El Salvador, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Nicaragua and Honduras.
In order to be eligible, the individual must be a national of the designated country, he/she should register during the period alloted, he/she should be present in the United States “since the effective date of the most recent designation date of your country” and should be a resident of the US since the date specified for the country.
Those who committed felony won’t be eligible for the benefits of TPS. BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON