Filipinos in the U.S. illegally have been warned by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines not to expect help as the administration of American President Donald Trump looks to begin cracking down on illegal immigration.
Duterte insisted that “out of respect” he supports Trump’s immigration policy.
Duterte went on to warn Filipinos abroad to follow the law in their host nations.
“To Filipinos (in the United States), you better be on the right track. If you are not allowed to stay there, where you are staying, get out because if you are caught and deported, I will not lift a finger. You know that it is a violation of the law,” Duterte said.
“If he has policies to protect his country, I will understand … So out of respect, I will not interfere,” Duterte added.
Duterte went on to say that he was open to some policy of allowing refugees to settle in his own country.
“In the name of humanity and God, we’ll have to make some adjustments,” the Philippine President said. “If there is a compelling reason for us to offer sanctuary, I’m one of those who will say OK to those who have nowhere to go.”
The Philippines has a history of welcoming refugees with concerted efforts. Most recently the country allowed some 3,000 “boat people” from Myanmar and Bangladesh to settle there.
Still, the Philippines does not have a wide open door policy. The last international row over immigration occurred in 2015 when then President Benigno Aquino refused to accept refugees processed in Australia.
The Philippines is not included in the immigration ban recently issued by Trump, a group headed by Filipino immigrants said.
The Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC), a non-profit organization run by Filipino immigrants based in the U.S., made the clarification based on a statement issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through its spokeswoman Gillian Christiensen.
“Please help us disseminate this information to our kababayan (citizens) green card holders in the US,” MHC executive directors Rev. Arnedo S. Valera, Jesse A. Gatchalian and Grace Divina Valera, said.
Trump’s executive order imposed a 90-day ban on people entering the country from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also prevents all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days.