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Help Filipino Nationals & Countrymen After Typhoon Haiyan

This petition had 300 supporters

In light of the terrible events in the Philippines, where thousands of people were killed and thousands more left homeless by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, we cannot remain silent. We hope that you will join us in signing a letter to President Obama (below) asking that our government undertake immediate legal and humanitarian actions to help those affected in the Philippines, as well as Filipino nationals in the United States.

Dear President Obama, 

In response to the desperate plight of thousands of people affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, we request that you take immediate action on behalf of Filipino nationals currently living in the US. These individuals cannot and should not return home in the midst of this disaster. To do so would put them and their families at great risk, and would only add to the overwhelming burden of the massive emergency relief effort underway.  

Our nation has a long history of providing temporary refuge to those affected by natural disasters, including nationals from Japan, Haiti, and El Salvador. For example, after a series of earthquakes in 2001 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took swift action in designating temporary protected status (TPS) for El Salvadorans, permitting them to work legally in the United States and care for their families while they are displaced from their home country. DHS recently extended TPS designation, deeming it warranted because there continue to be substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in El Salvador.

TPS provides a crucial opportunity to strengthen the Philippine economy in its time of need, and allow Filipino nationals living in the United States to contribute to rebuilding their country. TPS could potentially grant employment authorization to hundreds of thousands of Filipino nationals living in the United States, allowing them to remit larger sums of money back to the Philippines. In El Salvador, the increase in remittances after their TPS designation was granted has had a long-lasting effect on their economic development, and has strengthened ties between the United States and El Salvador.  

We therefore urge you to use the power of your office to ensure that DHS takes immediate action granting TPS to all Filipino nationals living in the US. We further urge that the following additional humanitarian relief measures be adopted:

1.Filipino nationals should be granted automatic extension of nonimmigrant visas to give them time to apply for even longer extensions. Under these emergency conditions DHS should allow fee waivers for all such applications.

2.Parole should be granted generally to all Filipinos who are waiting for immigrant visas, allowing these individuals to unite with their families in the United States immediately.  

3.DHS should exercise prosecutorial discretion to all Filipinos currently in removal proceedings. 

Our hearts go out to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. It is hard not to dwell on the devastation and the tragic loss of life in the Philippines. But with your support we can make a difference in the lives of thousands of Filipino nationals who are living and contributing to the quality of life both in the US and in the Philippines. 

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

New York Legal Assistance Group

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