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California TPS Beneficiary Frontline Workers Discuss Their Roles in Combating Coronavirus While Under Threat from Trump Administration

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A recording of the call is available here.


Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries working on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic in California joined immigration advocates earlier today to discuss their critical role in protecting California communities during this crisis even as the Trump administration is trying to deport them.

In the midst of an unprecedented global health crisis, California TPS beneficiaries are part of the frontline response to combat the spread of the Coronavirus in the state. In California alone, 27,700 TPS beneficiaries are working in occupations at the forefront of the COVID-19 response. But the Trump administration is still trying to remove them from their communities despite their hard work and dedication to the country they call home, especially during this health crisis.

Patricia Valle, a custodian and San Franciscan TPS Beneficiary said, “At my job, I have the option to stay home but I choose to go in to work and put my life at risk because I want to help and make my contribution towards the recovery of this country from the Coronavirus crisis. With permanent protection, I would be able to live without threat of deportation and have access to more opportunities.”

“We truck drivers are essential because we are bringing food to the stores for everyone to buy. It’s not just for us but also for the people on top since they also eat from the fruit of our labor. ” said Jesus Perlera, a freight truck owner/operator in the Bay Area and TPS Beneficiary. “We deserve permanent residency now.”

Julio Mejia, a San Franciscio business owner and TPS Beneficiary said, “I own a business that employs 10 people. It is difficult to run a business, especially during a pandemic, and live our lives when there is such uncertainty with our legal status in this country. Having security through a pathway to citizenship would give me the ability to expand my business, see family, and live without this cloud looming over me.”

Vanessa Velasco, Community Engagement Specialist at CARECEN-SF said, “TPS beneficiaries are law abiding and have been making positive contributions to this country for over 20 years. It is time for Congress to create a path towards permanent residency for them.”

“Roughly 400,000 TPS holders live in the U.S and they live in households of roughly 270,000 U.S. citizen children,” said Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communications at America’s Voice. “Of those with TPS, according to the Center for American Progress, about 131,100 just from El Salvador and Honduras, are helping the nation in jobs deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19. Like those with DACA, people who have applied for and received TPS are waiting for a court to rule on the future of the program and are living in limbo during a pandemic. We could see a huge number of people and families face the removal of their work permits and legal status in just the next few months. Taking away legal protections and undocumenting people who have lived and worked here for a long time is both a political and community disaster.”