On December 4, 2013, during a press conference held by a number of TPS advocacy groups, at the offices of the New York Legal Assistance Group in Manhattan, partner Rio Guerrero called upon the Philippine government to seek TPS from the U.S. government. Watch the video below:
Partner Guerrero is also scheduled to testify before the New York City Council on Tuesday, December 17th, on behalf of the American Immigration Lawyers Association – New York Chapter, regarding the benefits of TPS for the U.S.
TPS for Filipinos in the U.S. and Humanitarian Relief in Response to Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda
We extend our most heartfelt concerns and prayers to all those suffering in the Philippines due to Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. We are saddened by the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda upon the Philippines and our relatives and friends – our kababayans.
Humanitarian Immigration Relief Efforts
In the wake of the unprecedented devastation of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda which has killed nearly 6000 Filipinos, displaced millions more, and decimated homes, businesses and lives throughout the Philippines, Guerrero Yee LLP immediately began working on humanitarian immigration relief efforts for Filipinos inside the United States and the Philippines.
On Tuesday, November 12th, partner Rio Guerrero met with U.S. Senator Cory Booker, his staff, and staff of U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. Partner Rio Guerrero raised the need for humanitarian immigration relief for Filipinos during that meeting. Ultimately, the tireless efforts of those U.S. Senators and their respective staff led directly to the issuance of a bipartisan letter from the U.S. Senate that now includes the support of over twenty U.S. Senators, advocating for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for the Philippines and other immigration relief such as humanitarian parole and expedited petition and application processes for Filipinos. See a copy of that letter here.
Guerrero Yee LLP thanks and applauds those U.S. Senators – in particular, Senators Menendez and Booker – for their leadership on this urgent humanitarian issue and their continued support of the Filipino people. Partner Rio Guerrero continues to work with both U.S. Senators Menendez and Booker on additional advocacy and relief efforts.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a November 15th notice identifying certain relief for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. See a copy of that notice here.
However, so much more can be done to help Filipinos in the Philippines and in the United States. Specifically, Guerrero Yee LLP is actively lobbying the U.S. and Philippine government for the following humanitarian immigration relief benefits for Filipinos.
TPS – Designation of Temporary Protected Status for the Philippines would allow certain Filipinos to:
- remain in the United States even if he/she is potentially or deemed deportable;
- receive authorization to travel internationally; and
- obtain work authorization.
Filipino nationals should be granted automatic extension of nonimmigrant visas to give them time to apply for even longer extensions. Under these emergency conditions the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should allow fee waivers for all such applications.
Parole should be granted generally to all Filipinos who are waiting for immigrant visas, allowing these individuals to unite with their families in the United States immediately.
DHS should temporarily suspend all deportation orders to the Philippines.
It is estimated that half a million Filipinos within the U.S. would be eligible for TPS. The current U.S. immigration law and policy in place does not provide the relief set forth above to those 500,000 Filipinos who may potentially benefit from TPS.
Significantly, TPS would be the immigration solution that thousands of Filipinos living in the United States without status have been waiting for. While TPS alone does not confer “green card” status, a small number of persons holding TPS may seek “green card” status through another petition process.
On behalf of the National Filipino American Lawyer Association (NFALA), partner Rio Guerrero and other NFALA leadership are driving, in tandem with other immigrant advocacy groups nationwide, towards securing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Filipinos in the U.S., before both the U.S. federal government and before the Philippine government. In fact, partner Rio Guerrero, along with other advocacy group leaders, met with the Philippine Consul General in New York Mario De Leon Jr. to advise the Philippine government regarding the benefits of TPS to the Philippines.
Moreover, partner Guerrero was instrumental in the drafting of the NFALA advocacy letter ultimately given to the Philippine Ambassador to the United States Joseph Cuisia Jr., for delivery to the President of the Philippines, the Honorable Benigno Aquino III. A copy of that NFALA advocacy letter may be found here.
Our Typhoon Relief Efforts
Guerrero Yee LLP is also contributing to the actual relief efforts in the Philippine. Partner Rio Guerrero, as an Advisory Board Member of the Filipino American Museum (FAM), helped coordinate the Bayanihan Spirit fundraising event that took place in DUMBO, Brooklyn, in New York City on Thursday, November 21st, that raised nearly $15,000.00 in charitable giving to National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON). Those monies will be distributed to NGOs in the Philippines accordingly. A related FAM online auction of art donated by Filipino-American artists hopes to raise the total donated amount over $30,000.00 during the coming weeks. Proceeds from the fundraising auction will also be donated to NAFCON.
As a member of the Steering Committee of the Filipino American Lawyers Association of New York (FALANY), partner Rio Guerrero participated in a Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda Relief fundraising event that took place on November 24th at the Public House in Manhattan that raised over $5,000.00 in relief effort funds.
Guerrero Yee continues to support Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda relief fundraising and advocacy efforts.
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