Pinoys in Hawaii worried about possible DACA overturn


Published February 8, 2017 4:31pm

Filipinos in Hawaii have expressed fears that their undocumented kababayans who benefited from an executive order signed by former US President Barack Obama will be deported in light of President Donald Trump’s stricter immigration policies.

Hawaii Civil Rights Committee (HCRC) chair Dr. Amy Agbayani told GMA News’ JP Soriano in a “Balitanghali” report on Wednesday that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) could be revoked as it is a directive and not a law.

“President Obama had an excellent order that would allow them (undocumented immigrants) to go to college and to work, but it was an executive order that can easily be yanked and will, probably, be. And so it’s a big problem,” Agbayani said.

The DACA, issued in 2012, allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the US as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit.

With its possible revocation, Agbayani said the Philippine and US economy could be affected as even undocumented Filipinos are major contributors to remittances and taxes.

“Taxes from undocumented immigrants in Hawaii is significant. One of the things I oftentimes say is every Filipino, including Hawaii-born or undocumented, if every Filipino stayed home tomorrow certain things would shut down, period,” she said.

According to US Homeland Security, the majority of undocumented Filipinos or TNTs (tago nang tago) live in Hawaii.

The Hawaii Civil Rights Committee said most Filipinos work as staff in hotels in Waikiki and other parts of the state.

Despite this fears, the US State Department had earlier stated that Filipinos are still welcome in the US despite Trump’s new immigration policy and ban on certain nationalities. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News