Philippines not covered by Trump travel ban
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - February 4, 2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – The executive order signed by United States President Donald Trump banning citizens of seven countries from entering the US does not include the Philippines, an official of the US Department of State said yesterday.

The official, who asked not to be named, was reacting to an immigration law firm based in the US that released an alert claiming that a draft EO is under review which would include the Philippines in Trump’s travel ban.

“The countries covered by the travel ban are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen,” the official said.

Ohio-based firm Hammond Group LLC earlier said the draft order would modify Trump’s Jan. 25 EO titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”

Trump defended the EO that banned nationals of the seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US and fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who disagreed with him. 

The Philippine embassy and consulates in the US are closely monitoring developments related to new immigration policies issued by Trump that may affect Filipinos there.

“We endeavor to provide advice to Filipino communities in the US on the basis of complete and accurate information,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement.

Trump has vowed to strengthen the campaign against violators of immigration laws, which he believes are taking away jobs from Americans and legal immigrants.

He has signed an executive order stopping citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US for the next 90 days and suspending the admission of refugees for 120 days.

The DFA confirmed that out of the 3.4 million Filipinos in the US, around 310,000 are undocumented.

350,000 OFWs face deportation

Meanwhile, some 350,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) face deportation and repatriation due to the economic crisis in the Middle East and the immigration policies of Trump against undocumented migrants, according to the labor group Migrante.

In a statement, Migrante acting secretary general Mic Catuira said the government should be prepared to absorb these workers to prevent a labor crisis on the local front. – With Helen Flores, Sheila Crisostomo

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