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Kaine, Soto ask Biden to designate countries devastated by Eta, Iota with TPS

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Back-to-back hurricanes Eta and Iota ripped through Central American last November, and have left the region to a difficult recovery already exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several countries, including Guatemala and Honduras, have asked for TPS in the wake of the devastation.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., are pressing the Biden administration to designate Temporary Protected Status for those from countries devastated by the hurricanes Eta.

“I lived in Honduras in 1980 and ‘81, so that gives me a particular interest in the TPS program; I have focused a lot of attention on it since coming to the Senate in 2013,” Kaine said. “When we did comprehensive immigration reform in 2013; I worked hard to make sure that that bill in the Senate included strong protection for TPS recipients, including a path for them to move towards citizenship. I’m also a cosponsor of the SECURE Act, which would give current individuals with TPS the ability to apply for legal permanent residency… 58,000 TPS recipients from the countries of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Nepal, and Sudan live in the DMV area, and they are strong contributors to our communities and our economy.

“The Trump administration, over and over again, tried to terminate the TPS programs for more than 400,000 TPS residents in the US. President Biden called these terminations politically motivated… I’m pleased that Joe Biden has said immigration reform is a first priority. Just as I did in 2013, I’m going to not only write the administration and urge them to take appropriate administrative action, but I’m going to do all I can to make sure that comprehensive immigration reform gets done for the first time since 1986 and when it gets done, it provides ample protections for TPS recipient,” Kaine said.

“It’s a new day in Washington particularly as we look for a more human, more comprehensive, and more workable immigration policy here in the United States under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris,” Soto said. “Whether it is the extension of DACA or whether it is Temporary Protected Status. Folks from Central America including Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala already have the temporary protected status.

“We have many folks who live in Florida, some of which have called Florida their home for nearly 20 years. This is another key TPS issue. This is exactly what the temporary protected system program was intended to help remedy. A key distinction is that TPS is a more firm status — it provides for extensions. We need to think long term for people who are here with their families in the United States. Our TPS communities are a priority for Congress.”


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