Get Real: Do Filipino illegal aliens residing in the US really need Temporary Protected Status?

The Philippine government is appealing to the US government for a granting of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to hundreds of thousands of undocumented Filipino nationals illegally residing in the United States. The appeal builds upon the Philippines’ claim to being unable to fully recover from the devastation wrought by super-typhoon Haiyan (a.k.a. Yolanda) across its central provinces in November this year without such a grant. Up to 200,000 Filipinos currently located in the US reportedly stand to be eligible to avail of this concession.

“Placing the Philippines under TPS will allow eligible Filipinos to stay and work in the US in order for them to assist in the county’s continuing recovery efforts after Typhoon Yolanda that devastated Easter Visayas last month, killing more than 6,000 people and affecting more than 16 million,” Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

Temporary Protected Status could be a boon to US illegal aliens like Jose Antonio Vargas.
Temporary Protected Status could be a boon to US illegal aliens like Jose Antonio Vargas.
According Section 244 of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act

(1) In general.-The [US] Attorney General, after consultation with appropriate agencies of the Government, may designate any foreign state (or any part of such foreign state) under [Temporary Protected Status (TPS)] only if-


(B) the Attorney General finds that-

(i) there has been an earthquake, flood, drought, epidemic, or other environmental disaster in the state resulting in a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in the area affected,

(ii) the foreign state is unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return to the state of aliens who are nationals of the state, and

(iii) the foreign state officially has requested designation under this subparagraph; or

(C) the Attorney General finds that there exist extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state that prevent aliens who are nationals of the state from returning to the state in safety, unless the Attorney General finds that permitting the aliens to remain temporarily in the United States is contrary to the national interest of the United States.

But is the Philippines really lacking in sufficient resources to support the victims of Haiyan’s devastation?

Already, much of the rest of the country is gearing up (and spending big sums of money to do so) to celebrate the coming Christmas holidays. Evidence that there is enough disposable income to go around is abundant as malls, casinos, restaurants, and amusement facilities are lighting up in anticipation of the rush of consumption and household spending that usually marks this time of the year in the Philippines.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), remittances sent by the country’s army of overseas foreign workers (OFWs) reportedly “surged to a record high in October” which means that the Philippine economy will be awash with cash and buzzing with economic activity over the next several months.

Personal remittances, which include cash and non-cash items sent home by Filipinos abroad rose 8.8 percent to $2.282 billion in October, also an all-time high. This brought the January to October level to $20.452 billion, 6.8 percent higher than last year’s level.

Last month, the central bank said cash remittances may surge in November and December following the destruction caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

This is consistent with earlier claims issued by the BSP that the impact on the economy of Typhoon Haiyan has been “contained”. According to BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo, “remittances in November and December will post ‘stronger growth than in the previous months of 2013 to cover for the extra cost of rehabilitation’ in Yolanda-hit areas in the Visayas.” Other “analysts” also back this claim…

The projected increase “shields the economy from slow down since remittances provide for consumption spending,” which is one of the two key factors to Philippine growth other than services, said John Paolo Rivera, an independent consultant and former economist at De La Salle University (DLSU) in Manila, in an email over the weekend.

Indeed, the Philippines is seemingly in a good economic position and is touted as the emerging economic rockstar of Southeast Asia after posting 7.6 percent economic growth in the first half of the year — the “fastest” in the region.

The biggest Philippine cities are home to an increasingly affluent middle class and a small but powerful and wealthy elite class of big industrialists and business leaders. The awesome scale of the resources at the disposal of the Philippines’ economic elite is such as to attract the attention of big-time global luxury brands. Bloomberg reports that “Such is the wealth being generated in at least the upper echelons of Philippine society that Bayerische Motoren Werke AG in September opened its first Rolls-Royce showroom in Manila.” The same report also paints a pretty peachy picture of what lies ahead for the Philippines, putting all the worry around the challenges of rebuilding after the disaster in proper perspective…

The bank forecast that while the typhoon may cut full-year 2013 GDP growth to 6.9 percent from its earlier estimate of 7.1 percent, the nationwide impact won’t be long-lasting and the 2014 estimates should rise to 6 percent from 5.6 percent due to the boost from rebuilding.

Bloomberg also noted that the “history of comparable catastrophes shows that reconstruction can be a boost for developing nations.”

Awash in cash: Recently-opened Rolls Royce showroom in Manila
Awash in cash: Recently-opened Rolls Royce showroom in Manila

So there we have it. It seems the Philippines does not really need any further concessions from its former colonial master. It has an economy big enough and awash with enough cash to support any need for new employment and economic activity to fund disaster recovery. Perhaps if we start by scraping off all the hypocrisy that coats Philippine society’s quaint calls for “more support” for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, we can find it in our faculties to be a bit more resourceful and more self-reliant in light of the vast resources that have always been at our disposal.

[Photo of Jose Antonio Vargas and Rolls Royce Philippines showroom courtesy TIME Magazine and PhilStar respectively.]


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of

Leave a Reply

60 Comments on "Get Real: Do Filipino illegal aliens residing in the US really need Temporary Protected Status?"

newest oldest most voted
Notify of

The answer is no.

If there is more pride left in this country then I say no. Same goes to those OFWs who have committed crimes abroad and are now asking for help from the Philippine government.

The Philippines has had enough shameful things already, I am almost ashamed to say I am a filipino.


begging bowl and victim mentality rolled into one
and as far as the govt is concerned the more ofw’s the higher the remittances.
the creation of jobs at home as pnoy aquino promised, but naturally has not achieved would be a higher priority rather than again showing the country’s inability to solve anything without uncle sam’s help. and that extends to the large number of ‘free’ consultants being provided by the us govt – i think some even write aquinos speeches – and from corporates, particularly IBM and mckinsey consultants.


This tendency to exploit and milk-dry some benefactor’s kindness and compassion now comes so naturally to Pinoy society. Unfortunately, this current government reinforces such tendency even more. They make it appear as if it were a kind of achievement to be proud of—as if being a victim for life is a badge of honor they’ve long been dreaming of wearing.

In actuality, the values that pinoy society claims to uphold oppose what it instinctively practices.


Rolls Royce first produced a car in 1904 and turned up in the Philippines 109 years later. Better late then never.
With one of the world’s lowest gdp per capita a measly 2,600 usd a year Rolls Royce will not be selling many cars in the Philippines.

I personally think it is just flat wrong and a very bad idea for the U.S. to give temporary protection status to any illegal immigrants regardless of what country they are from after all they are there illegally in the first place having to hide, be discrete, stay in shadows and skirting the immigration laws, rules and regulations and avoiding having to submit the required applications, documentation, pay the required fees and seek permission as other immigrants have done and as we U.S. citizens are expected and required to do when we visit, live and work in other foreign countries!… Read more »

the aquino administration says that one million filipinos would benefit from TPS.

seems to me people should respect the laws of other countries even if there is no rule of law in their own, rather than going illegal and then using yolanda as an excuse.


is Santa white or black?
ask a filipino and they will say he is American.
merry xmas

I’m an immigrant living in the USA. I was born and raised in Hungary a former communist country. We were ruled by the Ottomans (Muslim Turks) for about 300 yrs. Our country was also devastated by the Mongols, Habsburgs than the Nazis followed by the Communist with 2 world wars between them and recently we were ruled by the Soviet Union. Yes, the soviet Union was our colonial rulers as oppose to you who who were ruled by the USA! We don’t use our tragic history as an excuse to get sympathy or hands out. We don’t come to the… Read more »

Well, seeing how the funds for the recovery are being stolen/mis-used/under-utilized, YES they need the temporary protected status. Millions of Meh-hee-cans are dragging the wages of American citizens down the toilet, so a few hundred thousand more Filipino’s really are not going to make much of a difference, plus they had no plans on leaving anyway and don’t have the plane fare either, do they?

Jerry Lynch

The answer is NO!


Filipino illegal immigrants asking for undeserved special treatment won’t lead to anything good for Filipinos as a whole.

Here’s how I see it… If a Filipino is in the US on a Tourist or otherwise temporary and legal visa status and that person/s resides in one of the affected areas of STY Haiyan (Yolanda), then YES, give them an extension. However, It does not make sense to grant blanket amnesty to any Filipino, especially if they are 1) NOT from one of the affected areas and 2) are in fact in the US illegally. Call me insensitive or callous but, considering the shameful manner in which we (foreigners) are treated here by your immigration bureau, I thinks its… Read more »
Hyden Toro

It is like a government of a foreign country, asking our country, to violate its own LAW. To accomodate the distinctive traits of Filipinos, to sneak in the good old U.S.A.

Undocumented aliens are not allowed to work. If they are working, and caught, they will be deported. Americans are outraged of these undocumented alens, because, they take their jobs.
Anyway, there are enough TNTs (tago ng tago) Filipinos in the U.S. And, asking the U.S. to give immigration status to these TNTs is laughable. I sympathize with these people, but let us learn to follow other countrys’ laws.


In cyprus many filipina maids went illegal, usually stealing any valuables from their employer before leaving and then working as prostitites in nicosia/limassol.
If caught, a free plane ride home to philippines, and then easy enough to get a passport in another name and return, or try same trick in another country.

I am not sure how long it took for the people of New Orleans to recover from the devastation bought about by Typhoon Katrina, but from what I remembered, it took them quite a while and by the way, this is America- The United States of America. Typhoon Haiyan was more stronger and more destructive than Typhoon Katrina and you expect a Third World country to stand on its own without any help from other countries. Any help would benefit the country and now knowing that most of the Aids given were being hidden and never made it to the… Read more »

Every blue moon the press will announce that the PBI has picked up overstayers and deported them so whats the problem…LOL wow other countries love to pick on the US and their tough laws but hey “Do onto others as they do to you”, it’s time to purge all illegals not just Mexicans and Latin Americans.

Jerry Lynch

@libertas: You said, “One Filipino baby is born every second. That is over 350,000 births per year.” You must have gone to a Philippine school if that is the extent of your math skills. At that rate there would be 31,536,000 new babies (NOT 350,000) every year and if you add that to the current 110,000,000 and even if the number of babies never rose past “one…a second” the population of the country would in less than 3 years.