3 LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES URGE PROTECTED STATUS FOR PHILIPPINE NATI ONALS IN U.S. IN WAKE OF TYPHOON HAIYAN

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November 22, 2013 (San Diego) -- Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) led a delegation letter calling on the Department of Homeland Security to temporarily halt the deportation of Filipino nationals because of the devastating impact Super Typhoon Haiyan has had on the Philippines.

“It would be irresponsible to send individuals into a situation with the level of destruction and suffering occurring in the Philippines right now,” said Davis. “I hope acting Secretary Beers will recognize the gravity of this situation and provide some certainty and relief to those who may be facing deportation.”

Davis and several her House colleagues, including local Democratic representatives Juan Vargas and Scott Peters, asked for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Filipino nationals in the U.S.  TPS is designed to protect individuals from being sent home to countries that may be too dangerous for them to return. It would also grant them permission to work in the U.S. 

The destruction cause by Super Typhoon Haiyan has displaced 4 million people and more than 5,000 have died. 

San Diego has the second highest Philippino population of any city in the U.S.

 

Full text of the letter is below:

 

November 20, 2013

 

The Honorable Rand Beers

Acting Secretary

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Washington, D.C. 20528

 

Dear Acting Secretary Beers,

The impact of Super Typhoon Haiyan on our longstanding ally the Philippines has been devastating.  In the wake of this tragedy, I’m proud of the speed and effectiveness with which the United States has responded. 

However, there is another way in which we can show our support for the Filipino people in this time of need.  I write to urge you to designate the Philippines for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which would temporarily halt deportations of Filipino nationals and grant them permission to work in the US.  Due to the unsafe and chaotic conditions caused by Typhoon Haiyan, continuing to deport these individuals would be irresponsible and dangerous.

TPS is intended to protect those in the United States whose home countries are too unsafe for them to return.  Given the destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines certainly qualifies.  Over 4 million people have been displaced by the storm, several thousand remain missing, and there are reports that more than 4,000 have died.  The typhoon has done hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage to the country’s infrastructure, leaving much of the country isolated and without power.  With severe shortages of medical supplies and a lack of clean water in many areas, the spread of diseases such as typhoid and dysentery is a serious concern.

As the Philippines still struggles to cope with the aftermath of this deadly storm, one of the most meaningful ways in which we can show our support is to give qualified Filipino immigrants a reprieve from the threat of detention or deportation to a disaster-stricken nation.

I ask you to grant the Philippines Temporary Protected Status so that individuals will not be forced to return to a nation still reeling from such a terrible tragedy.

Sincerely,

 

Rep. Susan Davis

Rep. Sam Farr

Rep. Juan Vargas

Rep. Scott Peters

Rep. Jerry McNerney

Rep. Mike Honda

 

Congresswoman Davis represents the 53rd Congressional District, which includes La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and parts of San Diego, El Cajon, and Chula Vista. She is senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, serving as the Ranking Member of the Military Personnel Subcommittee.  She also serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.