FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2019
Contact: Jason Tengco, NaFFAA Executive Director
Washington, DC – As the largest federation of organizations advocating for Filipinos in the United States, the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) strongly disagrees with the United States Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision to restrict all temporary work visas for Filipino workers. The DHS decision bans the issuance of H-2A (for seasonal agricultural work) and H-2B (for non-agricultural work) visas for foreign workers from the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, and Ethiopia for the period lasting from January 19, 2019 to January 18, 2020.
“Wholesale actions like this rob opportunity from law-abiding, hard-working foreign workers who only want to contribute to the American economy while providing for their families,” said NaFFAA National Chairman Brendan Flores.
The visa ban has a direct negative impact on Guam’s economy according to Congressman Michael San Nicolas (GU). “Foreign workers from the Philippines have long contributed to Guam’s growing economy, from supporting US military projects to relying on their skilled labor in nursing, construction, and critical professional and human services,” says Congressman San Nicolas. “The DHS decision to deny H-2B visas for Filipino workers is negatively impacting Guam’s operations, forcing companies to turn down bids for contracts, and face potential liquidated damages. We sincerely hope that the contributions of Filipino foreign workers will not get lost in the national debate on immigration.”
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO (APALA) Executive Director Alvina Yeh stated, “By quietly banning low-wage Asian workers, the administration is dangerously upholding the model minority myth, hoping to easily sweep us out the door, but we will not stay silent while our Filipino brothers and sisters are singled out.”
Flores concludes, “A sweeping ban of Filipinos seeking work visas in the U.S. is an extreme step that punishes all. NaFFAA urges the Administration and Congress to address these issues by passing comprehensive, commonsense immigration reform that creates opportunity for workers, addresses human trafficking, and reunites family members with their loved ones here in America.”
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The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. Established in 1997, NaFFAA promotes the welfare and well-being of the 4 million Filipinos and Filipino Americans throughout the United States. NaFFAA’s vision is to serve as the voice of all Filipinos and Filipino Americans by uniting, engaging, and empowering diverse individuals and community organizations through leadership development, civic engagement, and national advocacy.