City Bar Urges Temporary Protected Status for Philippines

The New York City Bar Association has called upon the Obama Administration to designate the Philippines for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, due to the destruction caused by the typhoon that struck that country on November 8th. In a letter to President Barack Obama, City Bar President Carey R. Dunne wrote, “It is clear that the Philippines qualifies under the criteria contained in the statute, e.g., the occurrence of a natural calamity which makes it unsafe for citizens to return. In the immediate past, the Department of Homeland Security has acted quickly to confer Temporary Protected Status in situations where such catastrophes have occurred. Haiti is only the most recent instance of such a designation. El Salvador and Honduras also serve as older examples.” The letter cites a number of policy objectives that would be addressed by granting TPS, including the continuation and enhancement of relief efforts, not merely for clean-up but also to stave off medical complications from waterborne diseases. “A self-evident source of such funding would flow from remittances by Filipino nationals here in the United States as of the date of the typhoon who could be granted employment authorization pursuant to their TPS status,” the letter states. “Currently, remittances from overseas Filipinos equal nearly 10 percent of the Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product. TPS therefore is not in this instance merely a device for protecting a group of nationals who are physically present in the United States from exposure to the adverse humanitarian effects of being returned to a devastated homeland. It is also a way to put humanitarian principles to work by empowering Filipino nationals temporarily living in the United States to aid in the recovery of their own homeland and to alleviate the tragic consequences befalling the Philippines.” The letter can be read here: