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Groups Hold Congressional Briefing to Urge Permanent Protections for Dreamers and TPS Holders

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Yesterday, immigration experts and advocates held a briefing to urge the incoming 116th Congress to prioritize permanent legislative action for Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders. Time is running out for these communities, including thousands of families who are facing an uncertain future regarding their immigration status, and many fear separation, deportation, and insecurity in the coming months. Between TPS holders, Dreamers, and their children, over a million lives are in limbo.

As the 116th session prepares to take office, legislators must prioritize the Dream Act and permanent solutions to protect TPS and DED holders. Congress must act urgently to avoid the pain and trauma that comes with family separation and so families can continue to live safely while contributing to their communities. Families deserve the opportunity to live without fear of deportation or separation, Congress must act now.

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (NY-07) said, “As Democrats enter the majority in the House next year, we’ll have a unique opportunity to reverse some of the damage inflicted by this Administration’s anti-immigrant policies. In doing so, we’ll be able to protect some of our most vulnerable neighbors who are currently living fearfully, day-to-day, unsure whether they’ll be able to remain in the country. As we move forward, I plan to continue pushing my bill, the ‘American Promise Act’, which would assist recipients of TPS and provide them with a pathway to citizenship.”

“For decades our country has welcomed and protected immigrants seeking a better life or fleeing violence and turmoil. TPS recipients and DREAMers have lived here for many years and we cannot in good faith send them back to some of the most dangerous places in the world when they call America home. What’s more, these men and women have bright futures, jobs, and businesses – they contribute to our local economies – making this not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. That is why I’ve introduced the SECURE Act, which would allow qualified TPS recipients to apply for legal permanent residency, and why I’m a strong supporter of the DREAM Act. Together, we must keep fighting to pass legislation on these issues and give these men and women the peace of mind they deserve,” said Senator Van Hollen (D-MD).

Lia Parada, Director of Government Affairs at the Center for American Progress, said, “Dreamers and TPS recipients are part of the fabric of our society and reside in every Congressional district in America. Up until President Trump took aggressive steps to strip status from these individuals—many of whom have lived in the U.S. for decades—they and their families lived, worked, and contributed without fear of deportation. Today the protections these communities have relied upon are held together by a tenuous series of federal court injunctions. Congress must take the lead and enact permanent protections for undocumented youth and TPS holders. Doing so means passing the Dream Act and the American Promise Act in the first 100 days of the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives in the next Congress sending a clear message and legislation to the Senate for action” said Lia Parada Director of Government Affairs at the Center for American Progress.”

Perla Canales from SEIU said, “For me and hundreds of thousands of immigrants, it would be a nightmare to have TPS expire. I know that for Dreamers, who’ve also lived here legally for years now and who grew up here, the nightmare is that DACA will be ended. I have sleepless nights wondering what in the world I’m going to do if Congress fails to act, which is why I have been speaking out every chance I get, so the public and lawmakers understand what can happen to us and our families.”

“More than one one million individuals currently living the U.S. with TPS and DACA have built their lives her over decades are are deeply ingrained in communities across the country, said María Praeli, Government Relations Manager at FWD.us. “They contribute to our communities and our economy ever single day.  TPS holders – along with DACA recipients like myself – deserve stability and certainty, not to have the lives they’ve built ripped out from under them. Creating a pathway to citizenship for these vulnerable populations will create the stability they deserve in the country they call home, and allow them to keep contributing to our economy and society.”

TPS holders (National TPS Alliance) said, “TPSianos are a significant part of the US workforce and not addressing TPS will have a direct impact on the US economy. Our over 350,000 U.S citizen children do not deserve to lose their parents- it is inhumane. Many of our families are mixed families and many of our TPS families also have Children with DACA. We are the next wave of family separation and we must urgently work to prevent this catastrophe. We ask that Congress stand and directly collaborate with TPS and DACA families and that we stand as a united front.”

Randy Palacios of United We Dream said, “As a DACA recipient my future is uncertain in the United States. If I could have a wish for Christmas this year it would for Congress to pass a clean Dream Act. Our wish is to be treated justly, fairly, and humanely. Our wish is to be included and accepted as Americans. Most of my family members have DACA or TPS. The termination of both would be devastating to us.

As Congress debates funding for ICE and CBP and Trump continues his demands for an unnecessary wall, I want to be clear: Any solution that benefits my family and immigrant communities should not come at the cost of attacks on any our communities. I’ve seen firsthand the cruelty of ICE and CBP agents, I have seen firsthand the hatred that fuels the demands for a wall that seeks to separate and divide our communities.”

Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, said, “The Trump administration is worsening the situation by creating more undocumented people. Their cancellation of TPS and DACA threatens hundreds of thousands of American families, whose heads of households were protected from deportation through TPS and DACA. Congress must act immediately to bring peace and permanence to these families and to prevent the economic and moral catastrophe of leaving widows and orphans of deportation.”

Bill Samuel, Government Affairs Director of the AFL-CIO, said “We will not sit on the sidelines as the rights and status of our brothers and sisters with TPS and DACA are threatened. Once again, we call upon Congress to address this created crisis by providing a well-earned path to citizenship for more than a million working people who have contributed so much to our nation.”