Warner, Kaine push for TPS protections in next COVID-19 relief bill
The eligibility of thousands of essential workers in the National Capital Region with Temporary Protected Status is in question due to ongoing efforts by the Trump administration to terminate the program.
U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are urging Senate leaders to include an automatic extension of work authorizations for TPS recipients in the next COVID-19 legislation, citing TPS recipients’ critical work to help combat COVID-19.
The push comes on the heels of yesterday’s Ninth Circuit decision in Ramos v. Nielsen, which ruled that the Trump administration can move forward with ending TPS for El Salvadorans.
“As the nation and region continue to grapple with the health and economic consequences of COVID-19, TPS holders are on the front lines, serving our communities,” the senators wrote in a letter to Senate leadership. “In Virginia alone, an estimated 6,700 TPS holders work in industries deemed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as ‘essential critical infrastructure’ including health care, agriculture, and manufacturing. Automatically extending work authorization for TPS holders is not only the morally correct thing to do, but also in the best interest of the National Capital Region’s, and the United States’ public health.
“While DHS has automatically extended status and associated EADs for TPS holders from these nations through at least March 6, 2021, such assurances should be built upon as we quickly near DHS’s expiration deadline. In a moment where their essential services are needed most, we would be unwise to turn our back on TPS holders,” the letter continued. “The quickest means to retain the critical talent and work of TPS holders in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic is to automatically extend all work authorizations. This would mitigate any processing backlogs at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and help TPS holders and their families weather this uncertain time.”
Virginia is home to more than 27,500 recipients of TPS – a temporary legal status granted to foreign citizens fleeing violence or disaster in their home countries. Many TPS residents, whose home countries remain too dangerous to return, have lived in the United States for decades, developing strong ties and making countless contributions to their local communities.