Chicago Pastor Presses For TPS Issuance

by Joseph G. Lariosa

CHICAGO (FAXXNA/jGLi) – An advocate for the issuance of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) in the eighties urged Saturday (Feb. 8) in Chicago, Illinois the United States Department of Homeland Security to issue TPS for thousands of undocumented Filipinos living in the U.S. who could not return to their homeland because of the devastation wrought by super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) more than three months ago.

Rev. Dan Dale, Pastor of the United Church of Christ in Wellington Avenue in Chicago, said while it took subsequent TPS country applicants only one month to be granted TPS after devastating calamities engulfed their countries, the U.S. government is taking its time – now more three months — to act on the TPS request by Filipino nationals in the U.S. and by the Philippine government of President Noynoy Aquino

 

Dale said it took them nearly seven years to get the U.S. government to adopt the Temporary Protective Status. Subsequent requests for applications of TPS later applied not only to countries with civil wars but also to those hard hit by massive typhoons or hurricanes or cyclones, earthquakes and other calamities.

He urged the Department of Homeland Security to issue now a TPS order for undocumented Filipinos, who have been waiting for the grant of the immigration humanitarian relief since Yolanda/Haiyan swept through the Philippines last Nov. 8.

FIL AMS URGED TO CALL WH, USSD & USDHS

Pastor Dale was one of the resource speakers invited by Filipino American household organizer Myrla Baldonado for Latino Union of Chicago and the Chicago Coalition of Household Workers (CCHW) at its office at 3416 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago’s northside.

Ms. Baldonado, who was recently cited as one of the two Filipinos out of the 15 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women at the White House as “Champions of Change,” urged Filipinos and Filipino Americans and friends to call the White House at 202.456.1111, U.S. State Department Secretary John F. Kerry at 202.647.5291 and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson at 202.282.8495 to request Secretary Johnson to approve a department order for TPS for Filipinos.

She said when someone calls Secretary Kerry, he or she should urge him to “recommend to DHS for granting Temporary Protective Status to Filipinos in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.” If the voice mail is full, caller may dial Kerry’s Chief of Staff David Wade at 202.647.5548.

Another speaker at the event, Marlon L. Pecson of the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance in Chicago, said that if granted TPS, “lovable Filipino nationals can keep on remitting their dollars to their relatives in the Philippines, who are still struggling to survive the calamity.”

Another Filipino American, Boy Asidao, at the semi-circle town-hall meeting, however, cautioned U.S. government officials from tying the humanitarian grant of TPS to other US military, economic and other interests with the Philippines. “The U.S. should only limit grant of TPS based on humanitarian consideration, not on aggressive behavior of China against its neighbors, for instance.”

A Filipino woman caregiver, who has been separated from her child during the last 15 years, wants TPS to be issued so she can visit her child in the Philippines without fear of being barred from returning to the U.S. as TPS beneficiaries are allowed to file advanced paroles and are given work permits.

JUST DECLARE THE TRUTH

Regarding hesitation by some TNT’s (tago nang tago, Filipino words for undocumented immigrants, who keep on hiding) to embrace TPS for fear that statements they used in their applications could incriminate them after the effectivity of the TPS lapses, immigration lawyer Arnedo Valera, Director of the Fairfax, Virginia-based Migrant Heritage Commission, said “there is no cause for alarms for TPS applicants for as long as they declare in their applications only the truth.”

Pastor Dale said his church was one of the religious and refugee service organizations and two individual undocumented aliens, who brought a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco against various government officials, including U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburg in 1985, challenging prosecutions of harboring undocumented aliens in the class action suit  titled American Baptist Churches (ABC) v. Thornburg.

The class suit brought by undocumented Guatemalans and El Salvadorans, who could not go home to their homelands because of civil wars, later allowed the undocumented complainants to stay in the U.S. and were granted work permits and allowed to travel outside the U.S. and to return to the U.S. in what is now called Temporary Protective Status while their countries were recovering from calamities. The U.S. government and ABC came to a settlement in the case, enshrining the TPS into the U.S immigration law.

Earlier, a group of Filipino Americans led by Atty. Loida N. Lewis paid a courtesy call last Jan. 30 at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. to appeal to Philippine Desk Officer David Arulanantham, Director David Foran of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, Migration and Mr. Foran’s assistant, Jim Bean, to recommend to Secretary Kerry for a favorable recommendation of issuance of TPS to Filipino nationals.

Philippine Deputy Consul General Romulo Victor M. Israel, Jr., who attended the meeting, said passing TPS will be a win-win solution because it will not only benefit economically the TPS requesting country but it will also benefit the host country because the TNT’s are earning income in the U.S. and paying taxes and application fees, etc. to the U.S. government. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

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PHOTO CAPTION AND CREDIT

PIONEER ADVOCATES FOR TPS: Rev. Dan Dale, Pastor of Wellington Avenue Unitedd Church of Christ in Chicago urged Secretary of State John F. Kerry to recommend to U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue an order for Temporary Protective Status (TPS) at a townhall meeting of the Latino Union of Chicago and Chicago Coalition of Household Workers. Looking on from left are household organizer Myrla Baldonado for Latino Union of Chicago and the Chicago Coalition of Household Workers (CCHW); Mechthild Hart, CCHW Founder, Ellen Asidao and Ed Vergara. (FAXXNA/jGLi Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)

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