Palace hails Biden proposal to prioritize legal status for millions of immigrants

US President-elect Joe Biden & PH President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Malacañang has welcomed United States President Joe Biden’s plan to offer legal status to millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

“Ang mabuti sigurong mangyayari, ngayon pa lang inanunsyo na ni President-elect Biden na magpo-propose siya ng batas (One good thing we can expect, is that as early as now President-elect Biden proposed a law) to legalize the stay of 11 million illegal aliens in the United States at siyempre po may mga Pilipino na magbebenepisyo sa batas na ‘yan (and of course there are Filipinos will benefit from that law),” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing on Monday, January 18.

Biden plans to send a groundbreaking legislative package to Congress addressing the goal of immigration reform, according to various reports. It would include a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the country without legal status.

In November 2020, Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez said some 350,000 Filipinos are facing deportation in the country.

Roque expressed hope that the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the U.S. will have “continuity.”

“Pagdating po sa panlabas na relasyon, may continuity naman po ang Estados Unidos (When it comes to foreign relations, the U.S. has continuity),” he said.

The spokesman also dismissed claims that outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump losing the presidential election meant Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte “lost an ally.”

“Wala po kaming comment diyan, walang basehan iyan. Ang mayroon po tayo ay mainit at malapit na relasyon sa bansang Estados Unidos (We do not have a comment on that. It has no basis. What we have is a warm and close relationship with the U.S.),” said Roque.

According to Ateneo de Manila political science professor Melay Abao, Biden would not support Duterte’s controversial war against illegal drugs.

“Duterte has lost an ally. The Biden camp is not likely to compromise on the human rights issue so for sure, it will frown upon the extrajudicial killings and the drug war,” she told Rappler in November.

Biden was inaugurated as the 46th U.S. President on Jan. 20.

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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