Wednesday, March 19, 2014

National AAPI Enrollment Week of Action Google+ Hangout

Posted by Gautam Raghavan on March 18, 2014 at 09:53 AM EDT
Please join the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as community leaders from across the country, on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 5:00 PM ET for our National AAPI Enrollment Week of Action Google+ Hangout!
Approximately 1.9 million Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) are projected to benefit from new options for health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. With the open enrollment period for coverage in 2014 ending on March 31, many are still unaware of the health coverage options available to them through the Affordable Care Act. 
We invite you to join Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health; Meena Seshamani, Deputy Director in the Office of Health Reform; and community leaders as they answer your Affordable Care Act questions. Please join us so you can learn more about the opportunities to improve the health of the AAPI community and find out how to #GetCovered by March 31, 2014.  
Please submit your Affordable Care Act questions for the Google+ Hangout to the Office of Minority Health by Tuesday, March 18, 2014, and join the conversation on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 5:00 PM ET.
·         DATE: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
·         TIME: 5:00 PM ET
·         LINK:
Gautam Raghavan is an Advisor in the White House Office of Public Engagement.


Rodel Rodis

(SAN FRANCISCO) -Thursday, March 27 has been designated as the Community Call to Action Day urging members of the Filipino community in the United States to call the US State Department (202-647-6575) and urge US Secretary of State John Kerry to recommend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the Philippines to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The March 27 Call for Action was agreed to by a coalition of Filipino American community groups in a national telephone conference call held on March 18 to discuss the status of the campaign to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to the Philippines, a move that may benefit approximately 200,000 Filipinos in the United States who are currently out of status.

Arnedo Valera of the Migrant Heritage Commission, the Washington D.C. group which initiated the call for TPS for the Philippines last November, reported that Philippine Desk Officer David Arulanantham at the US Department of State confirmed that the favorable recommendation for TPS for the Philippines is now on the desk of Secretary John Kerry, awaiting his review and signature.

“This positive development is the result of our community’s unified campaign to lobby the State Department,” said Loida Nicolas-Lewis, national chair of US Pinoys for Good Governance (USP4GG), who moderated the March 18 national conference call.

“We must not let up now. We're close but we're not there yet. We need to continue to lobby the US government until TPS is finally approved for the Philippines,” added Jon Melegrito, spokesman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).

Under US immigration law, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of State, may designate a country, or portions of a country, for TPS when conditions exist - such as an ongoing armed conflict or an environmental disaster in the country - that temporarily prevents the country’s nationals in the US from returning safely.

Once a country receives TPS designation, nationals of that country residing in the U.S. would not be deportable and may receive temporary legal status that allows them to  receive employment authorization and even permission to travel abroad.

Community groups represented at the conference call were urged to ask everyone they know, even non-Filipinos, regardless of their immigration status in the US, to call the US State Department Comment Line at 202-647-6575  on Thursday, March 27. People can call that message board even before March 27 but an extra effort should be made to call in on March 27.

After a voice message is heard, press: 4 for operator, then ask for the comment line, and then leave the following suggested message: “Temporary Protected Status for the Philippines must be designated. I urge Secretary of State John Kerry to recommend to the Department of Homeland Security that TPS be designated for the Philippines. My name is (say name) from (say city and state).”

When Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010, the US government granted TPS to Haitian citizens in the US extending them temporary legal status in the US for a period of 18 months. This has been extended several times since because Haiti has still not recovered from the damage of the earthquake.

Last year, the US government extended TPS to Syria because of the civil war that is raging there. Aside from Syria, Sudan and South Sudan were also granted TPS in 2013. Other countries that have also received TPS designation in past years include El Salvador, Nicaragua, Somalia and Honduras as a resulting of devastating natural calamities that have occurred in those countries.

A bipartisan group of 20 US senators led by New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) sent a letter to Pres. Barack Obama urging him to grant TPS to the Philippines. “Typhoon Haiyan has wrought unparalleled destruction and tragic loss of life in the Philippines,” declared the senators in their letter to Pres. Obama.

“Victims of Typhoon Haiyan clearly meet the eligibility requirements for TPS, and we urge you to extend this designation as soon as possible. The United States has demonstrated its commitment to assisting the Philippines with the recovery effort through foreign aid, military assistance and relief supplies,” the letter added.

"There are officially at least 200,000 Filipinos in the US who are out of status and would greatly benefit from TPS designation of the Philippines," said J.T. Mallonga. spokesman of the Filipino American Legal Defense & Education Fund (FALDEF) based in New York.

"Their hopes that the Philippines would be granted TPS are buoyed by the fact that Pres. Obama has supported immigration reform that would legalize the status of 11 million people in the US and that he will be visiting the Philippines in April of 2014 and could present the Philippines with a special gift," Mallonga added.

“Granting TPS to the Philippines would allow hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in the US to send billions of dollars of their income to the Philippines to aid an economy that was devastated by Supertyphoon Yolanda,” said Dr. Celia Lamkin, a TPS advocate from Saipan who participated in the March 18 conference call

“For the sake of our mother country, we urge all Filipinos in the US to save the date and make the time to call the State Department on March 27,” said Loida Nicolas-Lewis.

                                THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2014                        
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is attainable. We need to press the US State Department to support TPS now. Please call the US State Department Comment Line at 202-647-6575.  Press: 4 for operator, then ask for comment line. After message press # and then 2 to make priority and then # to send. Leave this message: Temporary Protected Status for the Philippines must be designated. I urge Secretary of State John Kerry to recommend to the Department of Homeland Security that TPS be designated for the Philippines. My name is (say name) from (say city and state).”

Rodel Rodis
2429 Ocean Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94127
(415) 334-7800

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Be Informed Re Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) Before March 31st

The Philippine Consulate General and FALDEF invite you to an informational discussion on the AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.  With the March 31, 2014 enrollment deadline fast approaching, you will need to know:
- how to enroll
- what you will need to enroll
- your benefits and rights under the Act (as an individual and/or and employee)
- how your business will be affected (as an employer)
- how your services will be affected (as a provider)
Our distinguished panelists will discuss these issues and more. Please join us on;
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 7 pm
Kalayaan Hall
556 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10036

Friday, March 7, 2014


Obama can help Filipinos with TPS

By Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii)
(As published in The Hill) >>

(Sen. Mazie K. Hirono and FALDEF Director Patricia Astorga, Esq.)


 Last November, Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm ever recorded on land wrought horrific destruction across the central Philippines. With sustained winds of nearly 150 mph and waves higher than many of the buildings in the region, Haiyan caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and left more than 6,000 people dead, 27,000 injured and 4 million displaced.


Families in the United States responded with an outpouring of sympathy and support, and our nation immediately assisted through foreign aid, military assistance and relief supplies. Months later, however, the resources and infrastructure of the Philippines are strained and communities are still struggling to recover.



There is much that the federal government can do to ensure the Philippines continues to receive critical support in this time of tragedy. One commonsense measure is the Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act I have introduced with Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), which would provide expedited tax relief for Americans making charitable donations in support of Typhoon Haiyan recovery efforts. We should make it easier for American families to do what they can to help our friends in the Philippines.


We must also call on the Obama administration to recognize that a key component of relief efforts must be to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to the Philippines. Designed as an emergency measure for nations facing extreme hardships, such as those caused by natural disasters, TPS would allow Filipino nationals without permanent resident status to continue to stay in the U.S. and provide working authorization temporarily until TPS status ends. This would greatly assist relief efforts by giving the affected regions more time to recover before accepting returnees.


The Filipino American community across our nation has joined together to launch a national movement to advocate for TPS. Some of these groups include the Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. The Relief 2 Recovery coalition has held nationally coordinated press events, vigils, call-in days and collected thousands of signatures of support. Led by domestic workers, legal advocates and faith and community leaders, Relief 2 Recovery has also organized meetings with the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Philippine Embassy.


In an era that too often sees partisan gridlock, members of Congress from both chambers and both sides of the aisle have come together to support granting TPS. In bipartisan letters to the Secretary of Homeland Security, we recognized that “due to natural disaster, the Philippine government is currently struggling to address significant loss of life, repair extensive damage to infrastructure, and provide sufficient and timely aid to millions of survivors.”



While the efforts of millions across the world have provided relief to the communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan, our work to rebuild lives and infrastructure in the Philippines is far from over and the country is not in a position to accommodate returning nationals. We urge the Department of Homeland Security to support recovery efforts by granting TPS to the Philippines.



Hirono is the junior senator from Hawaii, serving since 2013. She sits on the Armed Services; the Environment and Public Works; the Judiciary; and the Veterans Affairs Committees.


Friday, February 21, 2014

A "Full-Court Press" on TPS | FALDEF, NAFFAA & USPGG Leaders meet with Homeland Security Officials

February 21, 2014

Contact:      Bing Cardenas Branigin
                        Tel. 202-361-1024

Jon Melegrito

A ‘Full-Court Press’ on TPS

FALDEF, NAFFAA & USPGG Leaders meet with
Homeland Security officials

Washington, D.C – Mounting a ‘full court press’ for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Filipino nationals,  leaders of the Filipino American Legal Defense and Education Fund (FALDEF), NAFFAA and US Pinoys for Good Governance (USPGG) recently met with Rob Silver, Legal Counsel for Alejandro N. Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Mayorkas was formerly Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
DHS Legal Counsel Rob Silver (left) responds to Loida Lewis and JT Mallonga who urged DHS to grant TPS to Filipino nationals.

            The meeting, which took place at the DHS main headquarters in Washington, D.C., followed an earlier meeting with Department of State officials responsible for presenting arguments for TPS to Secretary John Kerry.  Filipino American leaders engaged top level staff representing the Office of International Migration, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, which play a key role in the approval of TPS.

            “It’s been three months since Typhoon Haiyan and we’re still waiting for the U.S. government to act on what is clearly a humanitarian crisis,” says FALDEF President JT Mallonga, who led the delegation to DHS. “That’s why we’re mounting a full-court press because time is of the essence.” Joining Mallonga at the meeting were Loida Nicolas Lewis and Angie Cruz of USPGG, and Jon Melegrito of NaFFAA.
FALDEF President JT Mallonga presents a copy of “Memorandum of Law” regarding TPS to
DHS Legal Counsel Rob Silver (left) while Loida Lewis looks on.

Although the Federal government shut down because of a snowstorm, the meeting at DHS went through. “We are eager to listen to what you have to say,” said Silver, who commended Cruz, Lewis and Mallonga for traveling all the way from New York during stormy weather. “We at DHS are completely aware of the devastation caused by Typhoon Yolanda and its impact on Filipinos here in U.S. That’s why we immediately issued immigration relief measures to ease their plight.” On November 15, a week after Typhoon Haiyan hit Central Philippines, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issued reminders to Filipino nationals that they may be eligible to benefit from such measures as change or extension of nonimmigrant status.

“We appreciate these relief measures,” Lewis told Silver. “But TPS is urgently needed now and I hope you will convey this to Secretary Johnson.” Lewis also underscored the importance of the issue to US-Philippine relations. “I am sure President Obama would like to see this matter resolved when he visits the Philippines in April. A denial of TPS would have serious repercussions.” 

Mallonga, who prepared an 8-page “Memorandum of Law,” presented a copy to Silver at the meeting. “TPS is mainly a humanitarian relief,” Mallonga argued. “In the case of the Philippines, Haiyan poses a threat or danger to many Filipinos’ lives. Factors such as displacement, deprivation, extreme poverty and violence brought on by Typhoon Haiyan warrant a humanitarian response from the United States.”

            FALDEF, NAFFAA and USPGG are part of a nationwide campaign, led by Relief 2 Recovery, a coalition of more than 100 civic and faith-based organizations and labor unions.   In the last three weeks, leaders and activists have barraged the White House, DHS, DOS and congressional offices with letters, e-mails, phone calls, faxes and personal visits. They have also resorted to social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to mobilize mass action across the country.  It’s organizing efforts have successfully enlisted the support of nearly 100 US Senators and Representatives from both parties. The Philippine Government has also weighed in, officially requesting DHS to grant TPS.
DHS Legal Counsel Rob Silver (center) met with Fil-Am leaders (from left) Angie Cruz, Jon Melegrito, Loida Lewis and JT Mallonga at the DHS headquarters in Washington DC on Feb. 13.  

            In the meantime, DHS has has announced that the week of Feb 24-28 will be a period of public engagement around TPS for the Philippines. Through a tele-conference, DHS officials will provide background information, field questions and gather feedback. 

            “As a community, we can not let up on our efforts now,” says Lewis. “We have to keep calling DHS and urge them to act expeditiously and favorably on this urgent matter.” 
The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a non-profit, non-partisan tax-exempt organization established in 1997 to promote the active participation of Filipino Americans in civic and national affairs.  NaFFAA is the largest national affiliation of Filipino American institutions, organizations and individuals. Its thirteen-member regions cover the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, the Marianas Islands, and American Samoa.   NaFFAA partners with local affiliate organizations and national coalitions in monitoring legislation and public policy issues affecting Filipino Americans and advocating for issues of common concern.

NaFFAA National Office
1322 18th St NW, Washington DC 20036-1803
Phone: 202.361.0296


11th National Empowerment Conference
San Diego, Calif.
August 7-9, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

TPS National Call-In Day : February 7, 2014

National Day of Action! FEBRUARY 7

Decision for TPS is to be made soon, let’s continue to call and urge the State Department and Department of Homeland Security and say: ” I urge the (State Dept) or (DHS) to grant TPSnow.” Say your name,city and state.
State Dept : 202-647-6575

URGENT TASK: CALL STATE DEPARTMENT AT 202-647-6575, immediately press 8 and tell Secretary Kerry that you are urging the US to grant TPS for Filipinos.

February 7, 2014 : NATIONAL CALL-IN DAY
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) hangs in the balance! We need to convince the State Department to support TPS NOW!

Call the State Dept. Comment Line at 202-647-6575 NOW!
It only takes 1 minute.

Without the State Dept.'s positive recommendation, the Dept. of Homeland Security will NOT grant TPS!
No State Dept = No TPS

Will you help nearly 1 million Filipinos? We need everyone to help NOW!

We can do this but we can only do this together. Take action and tell your friends to take action!

For more information about TPS, please visit
Take action by liking their Facebook Page, signing the petition, by calling DHS and the White House, by donating to the relief effort.

And the Campaign on TPS continues… please call DHS and White House:

CAMPAIGN UPDATE: The Temporary Protected Status for Filipinos public campaign has created massive awareness and the movement is definitely being felt by the Department of Homeland Security and White House. All the recently coordinated press conferences, vigils, gatherings showed the strength of the TPS nationwide movement. BUT WE HAVEN’T WON YET!

We all need to keep up and sustain the campaign momentum until TPS is granted! Let's bring in the spirit of rebuilding the Filipino nation from the suffering and devastation brought about by Typhoon Haiyan. Let’s take action now, let’s show our support by calling the DHS and/or White House comment lines now.

DHS COMMENT LINE: 202-282-8495
Other State Department staff lines:
Secretary John Kerry: 202-647-5291
Chief of Staff David Wade: 202-647-5548
Deputy Chief of Staff Jonathan J. Finer: 202-647-9572
Reaching the State Department by email
Topic: Messages of Support
Subject: TPS for Philippines NOW
Question: “Temporary Protected Status for the Philippines must be designated. I urge Secretary of State John Kerry to recommend immediately to the Department of Homeland Security that TPS be designated for the Philippines. My name is __________. I stand united with millions of US citizens, Filipinos and non-Filipinos, the documented and the undocumented, together as allies in this national movement for Temporary Protected Status for the Philippines.”
Senators who contributed to letter of support
Sample Script:
My name is _________________ and I am [from ___/represent___] and I urge the State Department to recommend the Department of Homeland Security grant Temporary Protective Status to Filipinos in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Patricia Astorga, Esq.
Licelle Cobrador, Esq.
JT Mallonga, Esq.
4 West 43rd St, Suite 505
New York, NY 10036

(212) 221-1888



Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, decimated many areas and displaced a large segment of the population. Typhoon experts concluded that Haiyan was one of the biggest and most powerful of its kind to date.  In its wake, Haiyan left more than 3 million Filipinos without access to food, water, medical attention, shelter, and other critical supplies. In addition to the millions who lost their homes, an over 5,000 Filipinos are believed to have died in the typhoon and the chaos that resulted afterward, with an additional 23,500 that are injured and more than 1,600 that are still reported missing.

In the wake of Haiyan’s devastation, the Department of Homeland Security should grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Filipino nationals in the United States.  A grant of TPS for Filipino nationals is warranted under the Immigration and Nationality Act (the “INA”)  in light of the extent of the damaged caused by the environmental disaster as well as the “extraordinary and temporary conditions” that currently exist within the Philippines.  Moreover, humanitarian principles and the history and purpose of TPS overwhelmingly justify TPS status for Filipino nationals.


TPS is one of the key humanitarian programs enacted to assist individuals in need of shelter or aid from disasters, oppression, emergency medical issues and other urgent circumstances.  As outlined in Section 244 of the INA, §244, 8 U.S.C. §1254(b), TPS is warranted where:

(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.

Here, the current situation in the Philippines squarely meets the criteria enumerated in §244, 8 U.S.C. §1254(b)(1)(B).  Specifically, Haiyan has resulted in a substantial, but temporary disruption of living in several regions in the Philippines.  Recent estimates show that Haiyan’s damage spanned three times that of Hurricane Katrina in the United States and nearly 300 miles more than that of Hurricane Sandy.[1]  The United Nations estimates that over 600,000 people have been displaced.[2]  A total of 16 million people are estimated to be affected by the disaster.[3]  The damage includes $112 million in demolished crops, $100 million in damage to livestock and fisheries, and along with other assessments comes to a total of $288 million. [4]  Arsenio Balisacan, the Philippines’ economic planning secretary, estimated that the total cost of reconstruction could reach $5.8 billion.[5]  Furthermore, given the significant delay of relief efforts and a lack of resources, the country is unable to handle adequately the return to the Philippines of its nationals living abroad.  Finally, the Philippines, through President Aquino, has officially requested designation under §1254(b)(1)(B). 

In addition, extraordinary and temporary conditions in the Philippines in the wake of Haiyan prevent nationals from returning to the country safely.  Specifically, many areas of the Philippines are still undergoing rehabilitation and the process, although temporary, is slow and has resulted in life-threatening conditions to residents of affected areas.  The Philippines lacks the infrastructure and resources to repatriate nationals currently living in the United States and doing so would impose an insurmountable burden on an already devastated country.

Monday, February 3, 2014

GMA News: Fil-Am leaders meet US State Dep't officials on Temporary Protected Status for PH

As reported in GMA News

WASHINGTON D.C. - Fil-Am leaders from the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC), NAFFAA, FALDEF, US Pinoys for Good Governance, US Medicare Philippines, PNA   and other groups presented arguments to US Department of State officials on the objective and subjective conditions that justify the granting of a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the Philippines.  

Tens of thousands of Filipinos in the United States who are undocumented and have lost their immigration status will obtain work authorization and the right to travel if TPS will be granted to the Philippines, thereby ensuring a lifeline of support for their families, relatives and “kababayans”  in the provision of material and financial donations and remittances.

A TPS recommendation for the Philippines by the US Department of State carries heavy weight as the United States Department of Homeland Security by statute (no need for congressional legislation) makes the final decision and official declaration of TPS designation. 

The US Department of Homeland Security, through its over-all Director Alejandro Mayorkas in his response to MHC's letter last November 11, 2013, stated that it is considering all factors in reviewing the TPS request for the Philippines. President Benigno Aquino III has also requested the US Government for TPS designation. US senators and congressmen, both Republicans and Democrats, have endorsed the granting of the TPS to  US President Barack Obama.
MHC thanked all Fil-Am national organizations and their leadership, including those from other countries, who express solidarity with the cause and are continuously campaigning for the TPS designation. MHC's Atty. Arnedo Valera presented all the legal and humanitarian arguments on why TPS should be granted while FALDEF's Atty. JT Malonga gave additional arguments. Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis mobilized the Fil-Am New York delegation and joined forces with the  Fil-Am DC delegation in presenting a unified stand on the TPS.

Read more at >>  GMANetwork

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Inquirer Global Nation: Grant of TPS Depends on Letters to Kerry

As reported by Dennis Clemente of US Bureau

NEW YORK—Getting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) granted for the Philippines now depends on a letter-writing campaign addressed to the US Secretary of State John Kerry or his assistant, Anne Richard, supporters concluded during a two-hour long panel discussion on Jan. 28 at the Philippine Consulate.

The Filipino American Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc. (Faldef) is encouraging people to ask as many prominent individuals and organizations to sign letters that will be sent to the Secretary of State’s office.
Consul General Mariano de Leon and City Council member Dr. Eugene Matthieu called on Filipinos to work together and spread the word through Filipino-friendly messages about the need for TPS.
City Council member Dr. Eugene Matthieu said the larger public must also informed: “You need to create momentum and get the attention of mainstream media.”

The Department of Homeland Security is still reviewing the request and monitoring the situation in the Philippines. A decision could be made by Feb. 7 this year, advocates said.
Temporary Protected Status or TPS is a humanitarian form of relief for those who are in the United States and have ongoing conflict or an environmental disaster in their country of origin. If granted, it would stop deportations and provide employment authorization documents for Filipinos in the United States, giving them an opportunity to contribute to the rebuilding efforts in Central Visayas and other areas ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan on Nov. 8 last year.

Read more: