MANILA— The Philippine government on Wednesday assured it is prepared to extend assistance to Filipinos who may end up getting deported as a result of Washington’s decision to abolish a program that allowed undocumented immigrant children to stay legally in the United States (US).
“We will authorize with certain limitations the use of the Assistance to Nationals Fund and the Legal Assistance Fund to assist immigration-related cases such as those arising from the decision of President Trump to revoke the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals or DACA,” said Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano in a statement.
Cayetano also called on members of the Filipino community in the US, particularly those affected by the change in policy, to remain hopeful and actively support efforts for the passage of legislation which would benefit those enrolled in DACA.
“While we hope for the best in the form of a legislative solution, those affected should likewise prepare for the worse,” he said.
Cayetano noted other possible legal options for the affected Filipinos should also be explored.
“In any event, we are ready to welcome and assist our kababayans in whatever way we can if they are returned to the Philippines,” added the DFA chief.
US President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday he is revoking the DACA program and gave the US Congress up to March 5, 2018 to come up with a law that would prevent the deportations of as many as 800,000 people covered by the program.
“The DACA program provides temporary legal status that allows qualified undocumented immigrant children from the Philippines and other countries to stay, study and work in the US,” said Chargé d’Affaires Patrick Chuasoto of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Chuasoto said of the 3.4 million Filipinos in the US, around 310,000 are undocumented.