Palace hopes Biden admin will relax US immigration policies

Photo by Tomasz Zajda

WHILE Malacañang expects no major changes in the United States’ foreign policy under President-elect Joe Biden, it hopes for a shift in the U.S. immigration policy that will treat Filipino immigrants better.

“Sa tingin ko ang Amerika din naman ay consistent sa foreign policy, so walang rin major changes yan (I think America is consistent with its foreign policy so there will be no major changes there),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday, November 9.

“Pero…pagdating sa larangan ng immigration, inaasahan natin na sana na magkaroon ng policy shift under a Democratic administration dahil napakadami ng Pilipino na naninirahan sa Estados Unidos (But…in the area of immigration, we expect there will be a policy shift under a Democratic administration because there are many Filipinos living in the United States),” he added.

Malacañang also hopes the new leadership will help undocumented Filipino workers in the U.S. get a chance to become legal residents. There were approximately 313,000 undocumented Filipinos from 2012 to 2016, according to Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates, making up about 3% of the country’s total undocumented population.

“Bagamat mayroon iilan sa kanila ay ‘yung mga tinatawag natin TNT o mga iligal, ay napakalaking papel ang ginagampanan nila sa Estados Unidos at mabigyan sana sila ng pagkakataon na maging legal sa Estados Unidos (Although some of them are TNT or illegal, they play a huge role in the United States and we hope they will be given a chance to become legal in the United States),” he said.

Roque said Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will reportedly keep an open mind about Biden and avoid making judgments until he finally gets to work with the new U.S. president.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte | Malacañang photo by Richard Madelo

“Other than congratulating him, I think the president is keeping an open mind as he should. It will be a new start but we have no prejudgments as far as president-elect Biden is concerned, other than the position that we’re able and willing to work with all leaders of the world,” the spokesman said.

According to Roque, they have trust that the ties between the country and the U.S. will remain stable.

“Tiwala naman tayo na dahil napakalapit ng relasyon ng Pilipinas at ng Estados Unidos, patuloy na magiging mas mabuti pa ang ating samahan sa ilalim ng pamumuno ni President Duterte at ni President-elect Biden (We trust that with close ties between the Philippines and the U.S., we will continue and even see better relations under President Duterte and President-elect Biden),” he said.

Duterte was among the world leaders who congratulated Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris after their projected win in the 2020 presidential election.

“On behalf of the Filipino nation, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wishes to extend his warm congratulations to former Vice President Joseph ‘Joe’ Biden on his election as the new President of the United States of America,” Roque said in a statement on Sunday, November 8.

Roque also assured that the Philippines will continue its commitment to enhancing its relations with the U.S.

“The Philippines and the United States have long-standing bilateral relations and we are committed to further enhancing the relations with the United States under the Biden administration,” he said.

“We look forward to working closely with the new administration of President-elect Biden anchored on mutual respect, mutual benefit, and shared commitment to democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” he added. “Congratulations and we wish him all the best.”

Biden on Saturday, Nov. 7 emerged victorious after securing the necessary 270 electoral votes to win. California Sen. Harris, Biden’s running mate, meanwhile made history as the nation’s first woman and Black and South Asian to be elected as vice president.

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