17,900 Floridians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are working in essential sectors like food, healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation, according to data released this week by the Center for American Progress. They are literally risking their own lives to save ours. Yet Florida’s two Republican Senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, have done nothing to help protect these workers and make sure they are included in Covid-19 responses, strategies and remedies.
President Trump is working to end TPS, the program that gives an estimated 400,000 people nationwide protection from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S. TPS, which impacts certain immigrants from Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador and elsewhere is in legal limbo as courts decide whether Trump’s efforts to end the program are legal.
If Trump gets his way, the more than 11,600 TPS holders working in healthcare, 76,100 working in the food supply industry and 6,900 working in transportation nationally right now would be deported and separated from their children and communities, which would hit Florida’s economy hard.
As highlighted in the Center for American Progress Report:
“The average TPS holder from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti has lived in the United States for 22 years. Now, in addition to caring for their own families, more than 130,000 of these individuals—like so many other Americans—are providing a service to the entire nation at great personal risk. Whether they are providing care to older Americans in nursing homes, growing or processing food in plants to ensure that grocery store shelves remain stocked, or cleaning hospitals that treat COVID-19 patients, many thousands of TPS holders are keeping the country safe every day.”
According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
Floridians need Senator Scott and Senator Rubio to step up and be advocates for the industries and workers that are keeping the Florida economy moving forward and Floridians safe. Both Senators Scott and Rubio seem to believe that their support for President Trump is more important than protecting Florida workers with TPS or the communities they serve. Instead of continuing to lean on the President’s anti-immigrant rhetoric to fire up the Republican base, Republican lawmakers must recognize the vital contributions of essential TPS workers, guarantee that they are included in the Covid-19 relief packages, and secure their status in this country as frontline workers and heroes in this crisis.