US may put PH under 'temporary protection status' owing to Yolanda
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA - The United States may put the Philippines under temporary protected status (TPS)—under which people affected by Typhoon Yolanda may temporarily stay in that country for a certain period of time on humanitarian grounds, the Philippine embassy in Washington DC has revealed.
Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. said consultations have been going on in the past weeks between US government officials and various stakeholders such as the embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs on placing the Philippines under TPS, according to a statement posted by the Philippine Embassy in Washington on Wednesday (Manila time).
The TPS option has been pushed since Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) barrelled across nine regions, mostly in the Visayas, on November 8, its record strength and storm surges flattening entire communities and leaving some 8,000 people either dead or missing.
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," Cuisia explained.
The US immigration services had announced on November 15 that immigration relief measures may be extended to Filipinos who are now in the US and who may have been affected by Yolanda. The consultations on TPS are 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.
Cuisia said the Philippines was grateful for the help given by the American government. Besides the TPS consideration, Washington had deployed an aircraft carrier soon after Yolanda struck, and its helicopters provided crucial support for airlifting some of the nearly 27,000 people injured, for bringing relief goods especially food and water to isolated areas and ferrying hundreds of refugees from Visayas to Metro Manila.
The US Department of Homeland Security may put 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.
Among the reasons a country may be put under TPS are: armed conflict (civil war), natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes 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 allotted, 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 will not be eligible for TPS benefits.
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