Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers Report On “Temporary Protected Status” For Filipino Immigrants In Light Of Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November with devastating consequences to the country.  With over 5,600 Filipinos dead and almost 28,000 injured or missing, the nation remains in a state of devastation as rebuilding and relief efforts begin. For the 500,000 Filipino immigrants residing in the United States as undocumented immigrants or as immigrants on short-term visas, Typhoon Haiyan also may have a significant impact on their immigration status.  A nationwide campaign to have Filipino immigrants granted “temporary protected status” is gaining momentum.

“Temporary protected status” is a designation that can be granted by the U.S. President in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in circumstances where an armed conflict or environmental disaster temporary prevents a country’s nationals from safely returning to their home country.  A designation of “temporary protected status” will allow eligible immigrants, including many undocumented immigrants, immigrants with expired visas, and immigrants on short term visas, to get work authorization and deportation protection for up to eighteen months.  Immigrants with “temporary protected status” may also send support, including monetary relief, back to their home country.  Under certain circumstances, immigrants with “temporary protected status” may also travel outside the United States to return to their home country to visit sick family members, bury relatives and work on relief efforts.

Among the many Filipino immigration advocacy groups leading the national effort to obtain “temporary protected status” are: the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations, the Philippine Community of Southern New Jersey, the Kapitbayan Philippine American Association of Chester County, the Philadelphia Filipino Folk Arts Society, the Philippine Medical Society Group of Greater Philadelphia and the Filipino-American Associations of Philadelphia, Bucks County and Central Pennsylvania.

In the past, President Obama and the DHS have granted “temporary protected status” to Haitians following the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and to Syrians in light of their ongoing civil war.  Philippine President Beningo Aquino III formally requested “temporary protected status” for Filipino immigrants at the end of December.  A response from President Obama is expected any day now.

Of the 500,000 Filipino immigrants currently residing in the United States who would be affected if President Obama grants the “temporary protected status” designation, a large number reside in Southeastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey.  Currently, over 21,000 Filipino immigrants are located in this part of the country.

The Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Handle all Filipino Immigration Matters

The granting of “temporary protected status” will drastically change the lives of Filipino immigrants.  If you or a loved one will be affected by the change in the Filipino immigration status, you need an experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyer to guide you through the complex immigration process.  The dedicated Philadelphia immigration attorneys at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are here to assist you in all your immigration law needs.  Our attorneys handle all types of immigration matters, including those related to deportation, asylum, employment, visas, the labor certification process and abuse petitions.  The Philadelphia immigration law firm of Surin & Griffin, P.C. is conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia.  Call our attorneys today at (215) 925-4435 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyer Helps Father Return to the U.S. to Bid Farewell to His Son

Philadelphia immigration lawyer, Elizabeth C. Surin, Esq., partner at Philadelphia immigration law firm of Surin & Griffin, P.C., effectively represented a grieving father and former illegal alien seeking the right to re-enter the United States to bury his 10-year old son who died in a house fire in Pennsylvania.  Ms. Surin appealed to the Customs and Border Patrol requesting a humanitarian parole for her client.

Ms. Surin’s client entered the U.S. illegally as a teenager.  He later married a U.S. citizen. After a traffic violation, the man was turned over to immigration authorities and he agreed to leave the U.S. voluntarily. Since then, with the assistance of Ms. Surin, he has been pursuing legal permanent residency in order to reunite with his wife and son.

Ms. Surin’s win on behalf of her client is significant because it is estimated that the American government only approves a quarter of the 1,200 requests from immigrants requesting short-term entry due to an emergency situation.   Read the full story.

The Philadelphia immigration law firm of Surin & Griffin, P.C. is a full service law firm helping clients with immigration and nationality law issues.  Our law offices are located in Center City Philadelphia but we represent clients around the world. The Philadelphia immigration attorneys of Surin & Griffin, P.C. are multilingual.  If you have an immigration problem, call us today at (215) 925-4435 or contact us online.

Two Philadelphia-Area Residents, Including Philadelphia Immigration Lawyer, Advocate for Haitian Refugees

The people of Haiti suffer from unspeakable poverty and deplorable conditions.  Haitian immigrants who reach the United Stated have limited options obtaining the goal of American citizenship.  Two Philadelphia-area residents advocate for the Haitian people, often putting their safety and well-being ahead of their own.

A woman from Lansdowne, Pennsylvania was arrested at the Canadian border while trying to help 12 immigrants from Haiti enter Canada from the United States.  The Canadian Border authorities charged Janet Hinshaw-Thomas with immigrant trafficking.  Although Ms. Hinshaw-Thomas was released on bail, she faces criminal charges, the maximum of which is life in prison if she is convicted.

Ms. Hinshaw-Thomas has long advocated for the rights of immigrants and refugees.  For the last thirty years, she has spearheaded Prime: Ecumenical Commitment to Refugees, an organization that assists refugees in moving to a safer location.

Ms. Hinshaw-Thomas was attempting to relocate the 12 Haitian immigrants into Canada for several reasons.  Perhaps these people had requested political asylum in the U.S. and were denied, which is very likely as asylum is difficult to obtain.   Additionally, in the U.S. Haiti is not one of the seven countries on the list for temporary protected status (TPS.)  If you are from a country with TPS and you are in the U.S. either legally or illegally, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will not force you to return to your country of origin.

In Canada, a list of “moratorium countries” is comparable to the United States’ TPS.  Haiti makes the list in Canada, making the country a safer haven for Haitian refugees: the government will not send an illegal immigrant back to Haiti.  Moreover, the Canadian government provides immigrants with basic social services such as housing and healthcare.

Another local Philadelphia resident has committed their time and efforts to Haiti and the fight for the safety of its people and improved conditions from poverty.  Thomas M. Griffin, Esq is a Philadelphia immigration lawyer who has advocated for the people of Haiti for more than a decade.   Mr. Griffin was instrumental in opening a clinic in the poorest city of Port-au-Prince known as the slum of Cite Soleil. Mr. Griffin’s goal was to treat the illnesses and diseases the Haitian people routinely face because of their impoverished lifestyle such as parasites, diarrhea and malaria.  However, the larger goal of the clinic is to educate the people of Haiti on what makes them sick, such as dirty water. Education and awareness is the key to future prevention.

Thomas M. Griffin is a well-known Philadelphia citizenship attorney, human rights investigator and advocate.  He has appeared before Congress as an expert on Haiti.  In addition to being a partner in Philadelphia’s immigration law firm, Surin & Griffin, P.C., and Mr. Griffin is a former Director of the Lamp for Haiti Foundation, a health and human rights clinic in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  Mr. Griffin is fluent in Spanish and Haitian Creole.

Read the full story recently published in Philadelphia Weekly.

About the Philadelphia Immigration Law Firm of Surin & Griffin, P.C.

Surin & Griffin, P.C. is a full service Philadelphia immigration law firm helping clients with citizenship and nationality law issues.  Our firm is located in the borough of Center City in Philadelphia but we practice around the globe.  The Philadelphia immigration lawyers of Surin & Griffin, P.C. are multilingual allowing us to help clients throughout the world with their immigration problems.  If you have an immigration problem, call us today at (215) 925-4435 or contact us online.