By Samuel Medenilla
The Department of Labor and Employment called on the approximately 271,000 undocumented Filipinos in the United States to come home and not wait to be deported under the planned crackdown by U.S. president-elect Donald Trump.
Labor secretary Silvestre Bello III pointed out they should not wait for the deportation to avoid being blacklisted by the U.S. government.
“It is probably better if they voluntarily come home… they could also act for the legalization of their stay there,” Bello said in a press conference.
He also announced DOLE’s readiness to provide livelihood and employment assistance to the affected undocumented Filipinos.
“We have already established a mechanism for the business and employment opportunities (for the affected OFWs),” Bello said.
DOLE made the assurance after Trump said in a television interview he is prepared to deport at least 2–3 million illegal immigrants with existing criminal records; he, however, did not elaborate if illegal migrants with good conduct will be hit as well.
Bello said he is confident only a few OFWs will be affected by Trump’s latest “protectionist” pronouncement.
The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier had a similar announcement, saying that Trump’s plan would not have a “calamitous impact” to the Filipino community.
“We have very minimal illegal OFWs in the U.S. Most of our OFWs there are documented and are legal, especially our seafarers,” Bello said.
Based on the 2013 stock estimate from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), there are currently 3.5 million Filipinos in the U.S., of whom 3.1 million are permanent migrants. Around 130,000 are OFWs, while the remaining 271,000 are in the U.S. with a irregular status.
CFO defines irregulars as those not properly documented, without valid residences, or who may be overstaying in a foreign country.
Tags: Come home DOLE tells undocumented Pinoys in the US, DFA, DOLE, Donald Trump, Filipino community, financial assistance, immigrants, livelihood, Manila Bulletin, Silvestre Bello III, undocumented immigrants, United States