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A Damper for the Philippine Independence Celebration

joe-mauricio

By: Joe Mauricio

 

The Philippines is celebrating its 121st anniversary as an independent country. This should have been a joyous celebration of freedom and yet it’s doomsday for many Filipinos at home and abroad, as the celebration is dampened by the action of the American government to permanently close its immigration fi eld offi ce in Manila on July 5, 2019.

The U.S. Congress should do its job and pass a bill to protect legal applicants processing in the more expeditious way and protect immigrants brought to America as children. Two years ago, President Donald Trump ended the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals or DACA. This is a program that granted a reprieve from deportation to a lot of Dreamers, the immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

At that time, the president issued a challenge on Twitter: “Congress, get ready to do your job.”

The House did just that on June 4, 2019, passing the American Dream and Promise Act, a politically doomed but praiseworthy bill that would grant a path to citizenship to thousands of Dreamers.

The bill that was approved by every Democratic member of the House along with seven Republicans would extend permanent legal status to nearly 1.6 million people who came to the U.S. as children, but not an enrolled DACA.

Recipients of Protected Status, a special designation for immigrants from nations ravaged by natural disaster or other humanitarian crises can now enroll under the protected immigrant status. It’s a shame that the Republican- controlled Senate is unlikely to approve the bill.

Allowing the Dreamers to remain in the U.S. without fear and without any strings attached would be the moral thing to do.

It also would be good politics. And, speaking of good politics for both Democrats and Republicans, will be to pass a bill that will re-open the offi ce of USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) in Manila, Philippines.

With a tension over the South China Sea, the United States needs some friends in the region. A tested friend, that is!

Republicans in the Senate may lack the courage or conviction to check President Trump’s cruelty. If lawmakers truly believe Mr. Obama overstepped the law by trying to achieve immigration reform through executive orders, they ought to embrace the House’s Dreamer Bill and send it to Trump to sign.

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