TPS Recipients Demand Justice from U.S. Senate
In the wake of the Dream and Promise Act passing the House, hundreds of TPS recipients and allies marched from the DNC to the RNC calling for action from the Senate
March 24, 2021, WASHINGTON, DC — Hundreds of Temporary Protected Status, TPS, recipients and activists marched from the DNC to the RNC, demanding justice for TPS from Congress at 12 noon today. TPS recipients were joined by immigrant activist groups, Adhikaar, Alianza Americas, IAmerica, African Communities Together (ACT), CASA, Florida Immigrant Coalition, FANM, FIRM, Liuna Local 202, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), National TPS Alliance, NAKASEC, Presente.org, Painters Union, SEIU, Working Families United, and 32BJ SEIU in calling on Senators to secure permanent protections for TPS recipients now.
The march began at the DNC with rally cries such as “TPS Presente.” Activists then marched to the RNC where current TPS leaders called upon Senators Toomey, Tillis, Burr, Sasse, Fisscher, Scott, Rubio, Lankford, Cornyn, Boozman, Portman and Cassidy to support the SECURE Act to ensure permanent residency for people with TPS and DED. A truck with a large screen playing videos of TPS recipients on loop also followed the march.
The House of Representatives passed The Dream and Promise Act or HR6 last week. It provides a path forward for individuals with TPS status, DED holders and DACA recipients. TPS recipients will be granted legal permanent residence and have removal proceedings canceled. Now it is time for the Senate to deliver a pathway to citizenship for TPS recipients. Over 130,000 TPS recipients work on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic as essential workers keeping our society afloat for the past year. 670,000 people are currently protected by TPS.
Ali Abdulatif, Sudanese TPS holder & ACT member, Virginia: “Living without permanent status is a very painful experience. It has meant not only having to live separated from my wife and three children with no clarity as to when I might be able to see them again, but that all the burden of raising our children is on my wife. Permanent status would allow me to be reunited with my children and my wife and would give me the opportunity to truly ensure their wellbeing and mine. It would allow me to feel finally settled in the place and community I’ve called home for 21 years.”
Dinesh Thapa, Adhikaar member and Nepali TPS holder from Houston, Texas: “I have been living and working in Houston, Texas since 7 years. Like the 15,000 other Nepali TPS holders in this country, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to live and work in the US. Having lived in the US for so many years, and having suffered and survived the pandemic and the winter crisis together with other Texans, I feel my home is here. I have become an important part of Texas, and I cannot imagine making the most of myself anywhere else. I want to raise my family in Houston. Residency would allow me to fulfill my dream of investing in a business so I can support both my family, my community and the economy. Being temporary has had its tolls on me. We need certainty, and we need permanency. We’re calling on Senator Cornyn to support the SECURE Act now.”
Elena Aguilar, CASA activist, York, PA: “Like other TPS holders, I am working to build the York economy as a small business owner and activist. Senator Toomey we are calling on you to recognize the families who have lived for decades in Pennsylvania by supporting permanent residency for TPS holders.”
Rony Ponthieux, Haitian TPS holder & FANM Member, Florida: “My name is Rony Ponthieux, I’m a Haitian immigrant, a TPS worker, a registered nurse, and an essential worker during COVID-19. I work at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 battleground where I save lives every day. I came to the U.S. 21 years ago with my wife, Marjory Ponthieux where we establish our lives. I was granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) by immigration officials when the earthquake left Haiti in shambles a decade ago. Since then, my wife and I have had two children, put ourselves through nursing school, and bought a house in Miami-Dade, but our immigration status has stayed true to its name: temporary. I want to thank the House of Representatives for passing the Dream and Promise Act of 2021 that will trailblaze a path to permanent residency for thousands of TPS, DACA, and DED recipients. Now I urge the Senators from Florida, the state where I live and work, Sen. Rubio and Sen. Scott, to vote in favor of a comparable bill without delay for President Biden to sign. I also call upon the Biden Administration to redesignate TPS for all the Haitian Nationals that came after July 2011. Our immigrant families deserve it. It is time to act.”
Rosa Cecilia Martinez, National TPS Alliance, Salvadoran TPS Holder, New York: “I am a mother of 2 US Citizen Children and a TPS Holder from El Salvador. I have been a part of the National TPS Alliance for the past 4 years, we sewed the Trump administration, marched in the rain, lobbying congress and traveling the country to keep my family together. Our fight has brought us to this critical moment as we continue to fight. For the past 3 days, I have been on a hunger strike led by the TPS community to demand that congress finally delivers on a Permanent Residency now that HR6 has passed the House. We have had several meetings in New York with Senator Chuck Schumer and he told my daughter not to worry, that he will make sure HR6 becomes law. Well today I am here to make sure that he delivers on this promise.”
Ana Campos, a mother of two DREAMERS and 32BJ SEIU essential cleaner in Alexandria, VA with TPS, who came her 20 years ago from El Salvador: “Many essential workers like me with TPS have been working here legally for over 20 years – saving lives and keeping this economy going. My husband and I are homeowners, paying our mortgage and taxes to support this country. So many immigrants have gotten sick and died from COVID to save other people’s lives. When you sacrifice and contribute this much, it can only mean one thing – this is home.”