Senators encourage Biden administration to protect TPS holders
Temporary Protected Status for 58,000 people in Virginia and Maryland is in jeopardy due to efforts by the Trump administration to terminate the program.
Virginia Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen are pressing the incoming Biden administration to take swift action to provide stability for TPS recipients and their families from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Nepal, and Sudan.
“We write today to reiterate our support for immediate action to protect the hundreds of thousands of Temporary Protected Status recipients whose continued lawful status in the country remains in jeopardy as a result of the Trump administration’s efforts to terminate their protections and to urge you to promptly issue additional TPS designations and redesignations based upon a sober assessment of country conditions and an exercise of your clear statutory authority. We are pleased that President-elect Biden has pledged to grant TPS to Venezuelans already in the United States, something for which we have advocated. It is critical, especially during the ongoing public health and economic crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, for the Biden-Harris Administration to act quickly to provide clarity and long-term stability to TPS recipients in our communities.”
This is from a letter written by the senators addressed to Alejandro Mayorkas, who has been designated the nominee to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security in the Biden administration.
In the letter, the senators highlight that over the past four years, the Trump administration has taken action to terminate TPS protections for recipients from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Nepal, and Sudan, a move that President-elect Biden has described as “politically motivated.”
While the Trump administration recently extended TPS and associated work authorization documents for these individuals until Oct. 4, 2021, TPS protections could still be removed without swift action by the incoming Biden administration.
“TPS recipients from these six countries represent approximately 400,000 residents and over 97 percent of all TPS recipients nationwide. We are proud to represent over 58,000 TPS recipients in the National Capitol region alone. Additionally, approximately 63,100 U.S. citizen children of TPS recipients, many of whom are school-aged, live in our region. We cannot overstate the importance of our desire to protect those American children from the brutal choice they and their families will face if the Trump administration’s terminations are permitted to go into effect.
“Their parents will immediately lose their permission to work. And each child will be forced to either separate from their parents or be uprooted from the lives they have built in this—their own—country. In Virginia and Maryland alone, an estimated 13,300 TPS holders work in industries that DHS deems ‘essential critical infrastructure’ including health care, agriculture, and manufacturing. These individuals have worked alongside other Americans at great risk to themselves and their family members to help keep the country running, and they will continue to play an important role in the recovery and rebuilding ahead.”
In addition to calling for a swift reversal of the Trump administration’s TPS policies and urging the incoming Biden Administration to explore executive actions to provide stability for TPS recipients, the Senators ask the incoming Biden Administration to send an immigration bill to Congress that includes pathways towards lawful permanent residency for TPS recipients.
The senators also urge the administration to redesignate El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua for TPS and issue a new TPS designation for Guatemala due to the devastation from Hurricanes Eta and Iota.
A copy of the letter is found here.