40K Filipinos now eligible for Obama's deportation shield – study
MANILA, Philippines – An additional 30,000 Filipinos in the United States are seen to benefit under US President Barack Obama's new immigration plan that aims to temporarily shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The Pew Research Center said on Friday, November 21, that 15% of around 200,000 undocumented Filipinos in the US, or an estimated 30,000 individuals, are eligible for the relief under Obama's controversial new immigration policies, unveiled last Thursday, November 20.
The executive actions the President revealed expands deferred deportations to millions of undocumented immigrants and their parents (Deferred Action for Parental Accountability), while cracking down on illegal immigration at the country's border and prioritizing deportation of those with criminal records.
The expansion ups the number of Filipinos to benefit from Obama's programs to around 40,000 or 23% of undocumented Filipino immigrants in the US, including those already qualified under his 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. (READ: Undocumented youth in NY urged: apply for deportation deferrals)
Undocumented immigrants from Latin America, particularly Mexico, will gain most from Obama's actions, the Pew data showed. An estimated 44% out of 5.8 million – or around 2.6 million – Mexicans will benefit from the expansion, with a total of 3.2 million Mexicans now eligible.
Under Obama's new plan, the US will grant a work permit and temporary protection against deportation to immigrants without proper travel documents who have stayed in the US for at least 5 years, have children who are American citizens or are legal residents, have registered, have passed a criminal background check, and are willing to pay taxes.
Pew, a nonpartisan fact tank based in Washington DC, also said the percentage of undocumented immigrants from Asia qualified for the deferred deportation will increase by 3-fold given Obama's new plan.
"About a third of unauthorized immigrants from Asia (34%)... will be eligible. Still, prior to yesterday’s announcement, just 10% or less of unauthorized immigrants from these countries had been eligible," the report said.
Of countries with 100,000 or more unauthorized immigrants, the Philippines has the lowest percentage of immigrant population that will benefit from the immigration relief programs, Pew data showed.
All in all, an estimated 5.3 million undocumented immigrants – or 48% out of a total of 11.2 million people – will be shielded from deportation under the 2012 DACA and the new plan, as well as those covered by Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs. (READ: Post-Haiyan, PH seeks US immigration relief)
The Pew Research Center said its figures are based on augmented data of the 2012 American Community Survey from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series.
Philippines-to-US migration data
According to latest government data collated by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) in 2013, around 271,000 "irregular" Filipino migrants are in the US.
The CFO statistic consists of Filipino migrants in the US who are undocumented, are without a valid residence or work permit, or are overstaying tourists and workers.
The US, which maintains strong military and diplomatic ties with the Philippines, remains the top Filipino migrant-receiving country in the world.
Thirty-three percent (33%) of Filipino migrants or over 3 million Filipino migrants are in said country as of December 2012, based on CFO data.
These include permanent migrants who are to reside in the US, temporary migrants whose stay depend on their US employment, and irregular migrants who are not properly documented.
Not only is the US the top destination country for all Filipino migrants regardless of status, it also tops the list of countries in terms of marriage migration from the Philippines.
The US has the most number of nationals with Filipino spouses who had to migrate to the world's largest economy from 2004 to 2013, based on CFO data.
There were 9,743 Filipinos who migrated to the US by virtue of marriage to US nationals in 2013, a far cry from Japan in second place with 1,992 Filipino "marriage migrants."
Obama was clear in stating that his executive action is not the first of its kind in US history. (READ: Republicans to fight 'illegal' Obama immigration plan)
It neither gives incoming undocumented immigrants relief nor long-time undocumented immigrants "a free pass to citizenship," he said.
He considered the action a temporary solution given what he regarded as the US Congress' "failure" to pass a comprehensive immigration reform law due to political gridlock. – With KD Suarez/Rappler.com