Washington, DC — On TPS Children’s Day, June 13, children whose parents need temporary protected status (TPS) met with White House officials, speaking powerfully and bravely about their love for their families. Later that day, they joined Adhikaar, Alianza Americas, CASA, CUSP, Nicaraguan American Legal Defense and Education Fund, SEIU, SEIU-32BJ for a press conference at Lafayette Park, calling on President Biden and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to swiftly redesignate TPS for El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, and Nicaragua, as well as issue an initial designation for Guatemala.

Their message is clear – it is NOT enough to simply erase the stain of Trump’s anti-immigrant assault on TPS. While we are relieved to hear that 337,000 families will remain together, the Biden administration must take bold action to open TPS for ALL people from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nepal and Nicaragua currently living in the United States. Today’s announcement from DHS is a political choice – not a policy one. This is an inadequate attempt to avoid having to stand up in court and defend the Trump administration, while offering no real relief to the hundreds of thousands of families who need it. We demand more. We demand better.

With her mother by her side, thirteen-year-old Marilyn Consuelo Miranda shared with White House officials and the press conference crowd: “My mother is very important to me. She’s my number one supporter and leads me toward the correct path every day. She’s also my motivation when I feel I can’t do something, especially in my education. I love it when we just chill and talk about our day while watching the television. My favorite moment with her is when she shows me how to sew on the machine when she’s making dresses for my folklore dances, and I help her out. It’s like a bonding time between us. And I’m here today to ask President Biden to keep my mom here with me so she can be there when I graduate high school and when I go to college to become a lawyer. I also want the President to give TPS to other families like mine, from Central America and Nepal.” Marilyn’s mom, Bertha Soledad, is a 32BJ-SEIU member and janitor in Washington, DC, who’s been in the US for more than a decade.

The Trump administration terminated TPS for almost everyone who had it but was stymied by immigrant advocates who took to the courts. The Biden administration had been defending those terminations in court. Ahead of the June 22 Ramos hearing at the 9th Circuit, the children came to DC with their parents to meet with White House staff and congressional offices. They wanted the Biden administration to stop defending the Trump administration in court and instead take the necessary action to redesignate TPS for the Ramos countries, while also acting to protect Guatemalans in the U.S. through an initial TPS designation.

Said Shiksha Gorkhali, 15-year-old high school student and Adhikaar member: “I know no other country besides the United States. I love my school, I love the community we live in. TPS has allowed my dad and mom to live and work here so that our family can be together. TPS was extended but this is not a permanent fix. If TPS for Nepal is ended, and if that means my parents will have to go back to Nepal, our family will be devastated. The US is our home, and my family has built their lives in this soil. My family belongs here together.”

“I live day by day with the fear that one day my parents will be taken away from me. My little sister and I could never imagine living a life without my parents by my side supporting me and my little sister on decisions that we make,” said Karina, 17-year-old high school student and CASA member. “That is the reason why I demand that President Biden must protect TPS. I am here representing all the youth of this country. We are the future of this country. If one day our parents were to get separated from us and we won’t be able to be with them anymore it will affect most of us emotionally and I believe that immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Nepal deserve TPS!”

“Far too often, the humanity of those at the center of our policy decisions is left out of the discussion,” Congressman Dan Goldman said to the crowd. “TPS Justice is not just about numbers, it’s about families. These are children with parents who cannot work to support their families and continue to face economic hardship after fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries to come to America seeking a better life. No child should have to live with the fear that their parents might be sent back into danger or won’t be permitted to put food on the table, and it is incumbent upon us to protect these families.” He and Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar led business and labor leaders in a letter to the Biden administration.

Gustavo Torres, CASA Executive Director, praised the children for speaking out. “These young people are doing something very brave, something that most people wouldn’t have the courage to do. And that is standing up and telling the world about their parents, what they love about them, and why they want their parents to not have to fear deportation. Calling on the most powerful person in the world, U.S. President Joe Biden, to take action. And they are doing it right outside his home, too! These are not future leaders; they are leading now. I’m proud to stand beside them.”

“Children from these countries are often overlooked in the policy debates — today’s decision is evidence of that. Many were born in the U.S., and all face hardship if their parents and siblings can’t work legally, compounded by tragedy if their parents are deported to danger. Every child should have the right to grow up in safety with their family. This is why I was disappointed that today’s announcement failed to protect so many families from the countries that were extended. President Biden can redesignate TPS for these countries for these families who were excluded though they have lived here for decades,” closed Jaime Contreras, Executive Vice President of 32BJ SEIU.

Other activities in the week of action include a Town Hall with Governor Wes Moore on Thursday, and a Facebook Live conversation with Representative Sylvia Garcia on Thursday; and a Twitter Town Hall for #TPSJustice on Friday.