NEW YORK - In the wake of super typhoon Yolanda's (International name: Haiyan) devastation in the Philippines, Democratic US Senator Charles Schumer and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan are calling on the Department of Homeland Security to grant temporary protected status (TPS) for Filipino nationals who are in the US on a legal visa.
These are Filipinos who are on temporary visas such as H1B work visa, F1 student visa or B1/B2 visitor's visa that are about to expire.
Schumer said the temporary protected status aims to provide a temporary relief to people from countries devastated by natural disasters. It would allow them to legally stay in the US for a set period of time while their country recovers from the devastation.
"There are many Filipino people in New York, outstanding citizens, having good Filipinos here and for those who are on visas and can't go home, hopefully they're allowed to stay for a period of time, until their homeland is back in shape," said Schumer.
Schumer, who is the chairman of the Immigration Sub-Committee that has jurisdiction over Homeland Security, is hopeful that TPS will be granted.
In the past, the US has extended temporary protected status to Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua who were also devastated by natural disasters.
Cardinal Dolan said it's the right thing to do.
"This makes imminent sense. This is justice. This is fairness. This is classical American hospitality. And let's do it!" he said.
Schumer said undocumented Filipinos who are on deportation proceedings may also be granted TPS if and only if they have no criminal records.
"The general policy of the US has been to not deport people unless they have criminal records," Schumer said.
Cardinal Dolan added he is praying for the victims of typhoon Yolanda.
"Jesus says do not be afraid. He's not gonna abandon us. We went through this a year ago with hurricane Sandy, and now we see great rebuilding and resilience, it'll come, don't give up," he said.
TPS, as the name suggests, is only a temporary relief for a set period of time for Filipinos residing in the US who may be in danger if they have to go back home. But that also means that once the Philippines has recovered, they would eventually have to go home.