Chairman of the Committee on Immigration Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) joined fellow Councilman Mathieu Eugene (D-Brooklyn) on the steps of City Hall on Dec. 19 to call on the U.S. Congress to support and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to designate Temporary Protected Status to the Philippines.
The TPS designation, proposed by Eugene, would permit eligible Filipino nationals already living in the United States to remain in this country while the Philippines recovers from the recent devastation of the category-five typhoon Haiyan.
“Part of my district in Elmhurst, Queens, is home to the city’s largest Filipino community,” Dromm said. “I have worked with many advocates living in this community to address work and human trafficking issues that hurt this growing group. Last Sunday, in commemoration of the one month anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan hitting the Philippines, I attended a vigil to continue to keep the focus on the disaster.
“I am encouraged by the resilience of the Philippine people. We must press forward by granting TPS status to Filipino immigrants living in the United States.”
If the TPS goes through, Filipino nationals, many of whom had their homes destroyed by the storm, will be able to continue living here without worry of deportation or being arrested.
“The devastation and the loss of life in the Philippines is tragic,” said Immigrant Protection Unit’s Director, Irina Matiychenko, on behalf of the New York Legal Assistance Group. “The TPS would protect individuals who would be endangered by returning home, and empower Filipino nationals temporarily living in the United States to aid in the recovery of their homeland.
“As one of the largest providers of free immigration legal services in the country, NYLAG has seen firsthand the plight of foreign nationals living in the U.S. when disaster strikes their home countries.”
Queens is home to one of the largest Filipino populations in the nation. Woodside is commonly referred to as Little Manila because of its large Filipino population.
“The devastation from Typhoon Haiyan has long-term implications for Filipinos,” said Jonna Baldres, National Alliance of Filipino Concerns deputy secretary-general. “The recovery needs are great. We call on the Philippine government to make an official request to the U.S. government to grant Filipinos Temporary Protective Status.”
Typhoon Haiyan is one of the largest storms to hit the southern Philippines, killing at least 5,260. The actual death toll is still unknown.