Petition to grant TPS status to Ph shifts into high gear

A poster on the petition for a TPS status for the Philippines

A poster on the petition for a TPS status for the Philippines

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – With an online petition to designate the Philippines with a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in danger of not gaining enough signatures, Filipino-American leaders are turning to other means to pursue the proposal.

Just 13 days are left before the Feb. 1 deadline to gather 100,000 signatures on the We the People petition to the While House and a measly 22 signatures have been posted.

But San Francisco lawyer Rodel Rodis and other leaders of the petition are not worried – they are using other means to pursue the TPS proposal that is vital to helping Filipino victims of  typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.

” Mine is not the only White House petition for TPS I learned, ” Rodis said in a statement. ” The other one, by Z National Association of Domestic Workers, is also gathering signatures.”

Rodis said the White House petition is not the only avenue. State legislatures and city councils throughout the US have endorsed the TPS proposal.

” We’re dealing with it on multiple fronts, the WH petition is only one of them,” he said.

With the Feb.1, 2014 deadline looming, the We the People petition on the White House website has generated too few signatures that  it is not even publicly searchable.

A notice on the website says:

“It’s up to you to build support for petitions you care about and gather more signatures. A petition must get 150 signatures in order to be publicly searchable on WhiteHouse.gov.”

A number of Filipino-Americans have complained that they have not seen the petition posted on the website.

The website’s URL is https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/authorize-department-homeland-security-grant-temporary-protective-status-tps-philippines/T8t1ZZxqAmerican

Another Filipino-American leader behind the TPS proposal, Arnedo Valera, said a more effective way to gain TPS is direct pressure on the Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

“Raise our demand to a high level,” said Valera, co-commissioner of the Washington, D.C.-based Migrant Heritage Commission. “Keep sending your letters.”

Valera said that with political pressure and the support of some members of the U.S. Congress, the Obama Administration will relent.

A bi-partisan group of Senators, including New York’s Chuck Schumer, and Philippine president Benigno S. Aquino III have endorsed the proposal.

A TPS designation provides a variety of benefits to Filipinos living in the United States, including a hold on deportation and faster adjustments of immigration status.

A country may be designated for TPS if it has been impacted by a natural disaster that has “result[ed] in a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions” such that the country is “unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return” of its nationals currently in the United States.

The U.S. has provided the TPS designation to countries hit by disasters in the past, including Haiti, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Another online petition, initiated by Rodis, is posted on the change.org website, with basically the demand as the White House petition.

It is asking President Obama to extend TPS to the Philippines for “Filipinos in the United States who are out of status  and who lost their homes, offices, jobs, businesses, friends, families, and communities when Super Typhoon Haiyan struck their neighborhoods, their towns, their islands.”

” (This) will provide temporary relief that will allow them to remain in the United States where they can work to earn income to remit to their families in the Philippines.”

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2 thoughts on “Petition to grant TPS status to Ph shifts into high gear

  1. Good day sir!

    I read your article on inquirer.net about the TPS petition far short of the 100k signatures needed. It was dated Jan. 7. At that time, no link was published on the site and I couldn’t find the petition on the website. So I made one and copied the request from your article and tried to spread it around. It somehow made 316 signatures, which is still far short but at least it was published on the we the people website, the deadline on Feb. 7, which is only shy of 3 weeks from now. However, I saw another article from you last Jan. 21 about the same topic. The link featured was showing only 60 signatures. I’m not after the limelight, but I really care for the cause because some of my friends have problems with status. But maybe if the one with more signatures garner more, with your help being a journalist, more will sign the petition. I’m usually at work and had a packed schedule lately, so I wasn’t able to do much spreading recently. Here is the link:
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/grant-temporary-protected-status-tps-filipinos-united-states/XkPbf2ts

    I thank you for your efforts but without much push on this matter, the white house will just ignore our petition, especially since its been almost 3 months since the catastrophe. I hope we as a community could intervene in a positive way.

  2. Thank you for your attention and interest in the issue. We’ll give it a little time and do an update closer to the deadline. What you did was the right thing – forward the petition to your friends and have them sign. You’re right, This is an important thing to Filipinos in the U.S. and those back home.

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