In the aftermath of the horrendous devastation inflicted upon the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan, the U.S. government is taking steps to provide relief to the Filipino people, including those currently in the United States. One possibility currently being discussed is the extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to eligible Filipino nationals.
TPS allows certain nationals of a designated country who are living in the United States to receive temporary relief from deportation. TPS also permits eligible foreign nationals to obtain work and travel authorization. The Immigration and Nationality Act gives the U.S. government the discretion to grant a designation of TPS status to a country after certain extreme environmental events, such as typhoons, where living conditions have been substantially disrupted and the country is unable to adequately handle the return of its foreign nationals.
Groups of concerned legislators, including Illinois Senators Richard J. Durbin and Mark Kirk, and Illinois Congresswoman, Tammy Duckworth, have signed letters sent to Rand Beers, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, requesting that the Philippines receive a designation of TPS status. So far, according to official communications, the Department of Homeland Security is still reviewing the situation, but pressure to grant TPS is growing. The last time the United States granted TPS was for Haitian nationals after the destructive 2010 Haiti earthquake. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services keeps an updated list of countries currently designated for TPS on their website.