Indonesians, who are facing deportation, should be granted the temporary right to live and work in the United States after the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia last month, said the archbishop of Philadelphia.
Justin Cardinal Rigali asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to grant “temporary protected status” to Indonesians, who number more than 5,000 in his region.
This privilege was granted to Salvadorans after Hurricane Mitch hit the Central American region in 1998.
"The recent tsunami in Asia that has caused the suffering and death of countless people will stretch Indonesia's resources to the limit," Cardinal Justin Rigali wrote in a Jan. 7 letter to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.
The cardinal argued that if Indonesians were allowed to stay and work in the U.S., they would be able to supplement the humanitarian effort in their homeland by sending back remittances.
A Homeland Security spokesman told the Inquirer that the agency was considering the request.
The Department of Homeland Security announced last week that it would stop deporting people from Sri Lanka and the Maldives for four months, reported the Inquirer. Noncriminals from other tsunami-struck countries can ask for the same reprieve.