DHS to discuss TPS with Pinoy groups on Feb. 27

LOS ANGELES – According to a Filipino community leader, two officials confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now looking to meet with Filipino groups regarding the Philippine’s request for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

During a designated period of TPS for the Philippines, eligible Filipino nationals in the will be protected from removal proceedings for a certain period of time, can obtain employment authorization documents, and may be granted travel authorization. TPS-grantees will be able to play a more significant role in the relief work for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

With the EADs, Filipinos can secure income opportunities to be able to send financial aid to their families back home. They will also be able to return to the Philippines to physically help in their families’ recovery, and/or grieve for the loved ones they lost during the calamity.

Pilipino Workers Center Executive Director Aquilina Soriano Versoza  told Asian Journal that DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and DHS Refugee and Asylum Law Division Chief Molly Groom confirmed that their department is looking to sit down with Filipino groups sometime next week, to talk about the developments in the TPS request filed by the Philippine government in December 2013.

One of the groups is Relief 2 Recovery, a national coalition of community organizations advocating for the granting of TPS. Versoza also pointed out that the DHS may also meet with other coalitions and groups aside from theirs.

A document provided by Versoza to Asian Journal revealed that the meeting with DHS will take place on Thursday, February 27 in Washington, DC.

In a previous meeting with Filipinos, staffers from the Department of State said that officials wanted to complete the TPS application process at the soonest possible time.

Public engagement

Aside from meeting with Filipino delegations, the DHS also looks to specifically focus on public engagement regarding TPS, Versoza said.

“[DHS] is giving the issue of TPS for the Philippines a very specific focus, and we’ve already been told, especially by the State Department, that they don’t want this process to drag on,” Versoza said.

“And although they haven’t given us a specific deadline, a specific date [on when the decision will come], they did tell us that they’re actively in the decision-making process.”

At this juncture, Versoza said that the participation of the Filipino community in advocating for TPS is crucial.

She reiterated that with the DHS and State Department being very attentive on how the public responds to the issue, it is important that Filipinos reach out to both departments and express their support for the motion.

She called out to Filipinos across America to join in local and national movements to push for the granting of TPS.

Various efforts for the TPS awareness campaign will be held beginning this weekend.

– February 22 (Saturday) – From 10am to 1pm, volunteers will be promoting awareness about TPS at the Island Pacific on N. Vermont St. in Los Angeles and on Roscoe and Van Nuys in Panorama City. There  will also be an evening forum on TPS, which will also feature a photo action segment in New York.

– February 23 (Sunday) – There will be an interfaith photo action at the University of Southern California.

–  February 24 (Monday) – Social Media Action Day – Advocates and supporters can engage with the US government about TPS through social media.

– February 25 (Tuesday) – The TPS awareness campaign continues from 10am to 1pm at the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles.

– February 26 (Wednesday) –  Community groups will hang massive TPS advocacy banners from buildings in Los Angeles and New York.

– February 28 (Friday) –  Virtual Town Hall Meeting with Congressman Mike Honda.

For those willing to participate in these activities, contact Aquilina Soriano Versoza in Los Angeles (213)422-3341 and Leah Obias in New York (212) 564-6057.

For more information, please visit tps4filipinos.org. 

(LA Weekend February 22-25, 2014 Sec A pg.1)

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