The government of the Philippines has given its assurances that it will extend assistance to Filipinos potentially deported because of President Donald Trump’s decision to scrap a policy designed to allow undocumented migrant children to live legally in the US.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme was implemented under former President Barack Obama and shields immigrants who came to the US illegally as children – known as “dreamers” – from deportation.
On Wednesday, the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said that the government would open its coffers “to assist immigration-related cases such as those arising from the decision of President Trump,” as quoted by the state Philippine News Agency.
“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 a statement from the Philippines Embassy in Washington, DC.
— Philippine Embassy in the USA (@philippinesusa) September 6, 2017
Trump announced his decision to abolish DACA on Tuesday, potentially putting 800,000 people registered with the programme at risk of deportation. Of the 3.4 million Filipinos in the US around 310,000 are undocumented, said the Philippines embassy.
“While we hope for the best in the form of a legislative solution, those affected should likewise prepare for the worse,” said Cayetano, who urged the Filipino community in America to remain optimistic.
“In any event, we are ready to welcome and assist our kababayans (countrymen) in whatever way we can if they are returned to the Philippines,” he added.
Some 15 American states will challenge Trump’s decision in court. University leaders in California this week vowed to protect their vulnerable students.
“This backward-thinking, far-reaching move threatens to separate families and derail the futures of some of this country’s brightest young minds, thousands of whom currently attend or have graduated from the University of California,” said the president of UC, Janet Napolitano.