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House Members Highlight TPS Contributions in Immigrant Heritage Month Speeches, Urge Biden Administration to Act On Relief

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In the ongoing celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month, members of Congress, including Reps. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) took to the House floor this week to uplift the stories of immigrant constituents, highlight their contributions to their communities, and urge the Biden administration to act on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and other forms of relief for long-settled immigrants and their families.

“SEIU union members from both New York and Virginia joined in-person to hear the floor speeches, and several others from California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, and Texas participated virtually,” SEIU, the I Stand With Immigrants Initiative, and FWD.us said in a joint release.

“During Immigrant Heritage Month, I rise to honor my constituent, Maria Barahona, a shining example of the resilience and contributions of our immigrant community,” said Rep. Gomez. “Maria, a home care provider and TPS recipient from El Salvador, embodies the American spirit through her unwavering commitment to serving others.” We’ve previously highlighted Maria’s story. She cares for two senior citizens, including a disabled U.S. military veteran. “These individuals have dedicated their lives to their families, their communities, and their country, and it’s my job to make sure they receive the dignified care they deserve,” she said earlier this year.

“TPS gives Maria the ability to work and care for her community,” Rep. Gomez continued. “Her story is not just one of personal triumph, but a testament to the invaluable impact of immigrants to our nation.”

“Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize June as Immigrant Heritage Month,” said Rep. Velázquez. “This month we celebrate the invaluable contributions of immigrants and the positive impact that they have on our country. In that spirit, I would like to share the story of one of my constituents. Gerald Michaud is a Temporary Protected Status recipient from Haiti who received TPS after the devastating 2010 earthquake. Gerald was in Florida on a business trip when he learned that his home country had been devastated by the catastrophic earthquake and he would be unable to return home safely. However, with his TPS status, he has been able to live and work in the U.S. and support his family in Haiti.”

“TPS provides temporary protection from deportation and work authorization for those who can’t safely return to their home countries due to extenuating circumstances,” Rep. Garcia said during her speech. “TPS protects immigrants like Ana Rodriguez. Ana is a janitor in Houston who fled a civil war – a civil war – in El Salvador and has lived in Houston for more than 20 years. Thanks to TPS, Ana has spent 20 years making meaningful contributions to the greater good of Houston and our nation.”

Expanding TPS to more nations is a win-win for our country. Not only does TPS allow eligible immigrants to live and work here when dangerous conditions in their home countries make it safe to return, but it’s a boon for our economy. “In 2021 alone, TPS holders contributed more than $2.2 billion in taxes, including almost $1 billion to state and local governments,” the American Immigration Council said last year. “They also held $8 billion in spending power, which supports countless U.S. businesses when spent on items like groceries, haircuts, or rent.”

Over 40 bipartisan mayors and county executives recently added their voices to the calls urging the Biden administration to act on relief. “Our request is rooted in the belief that extending the dignity of legal authorization to work for our residents born in Mexico, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and other countries would be a positive step forward,” the more than 40 mayors and county leaders wrote in their May letter. “These individuals have embraced the United States as their home and have, over decades, worked diligently, paid taxes, raised families, started businesses, and bought homes.” 

RELATED: Happy Immigrant Heritage Month from America’s Voice

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