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ICYMI: “Honor immigrants on COVID-19 front lines by helping their families stay here”

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131,300 TPS Holders Across the Nation Are Working in Essential Industries While Under Threat of Deportation & Family Separation from Administration

In an op-ed at the Des Moines Register, Ta-Yu Yang and Jeanne K. Johnson make the case that frontline workers, including TPS holders and Dreamers, deserve protection from a country they are risking their lives to serve as the coronavirus crisis persists.

While they care for our sick and elderly, teach our children, make our food, build our cities and more, they also must worry about deportation and separation from their families by the Trump administration. Immigrants, TPS holders included, continue to serve our nation in this time of crisis- we owe them the decency of a pathway to citizenship and protections for their families.

The op-ed is excerpted below and available in full here.

We have been forced by COVID-19 to dramatically change everything, including our definition of who our heroes are. In addition to the armed services personnel and first responders, heroes now include front-line soldiers in this war against the “invisible enemy,” as President Donald Trump described COVID-19.

Health care soldiers are applauded and honored every night at 7 p.m. in New York City and elsewhere.

… Honor is rightly due to these new American heroes.

But what if they are not Americans? In fact, many of these heroes are not Americans.

And many of them do not have a path to permanent residency and citizenship. This, we believe, is a crucial issue to which our thoughts must turn.

These new heroes are Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients; they are “Dreamers” on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status; they are Cancellation of Removal (COR) appellants; they are asylum seekers awaiting adjudication; and they are contractees to agricultural producers.

We have ended up in a system in which nearly a million Dreamers are facing imminent deportation simply because that is what Trump decreed.

We have ended up in a system in which asylum seekers, who are escaping violence and domestic abuse, are mired hopelessly because former Attorney General Jeff Sessions changed the rules to require that they must legally show that their home countries “condone” the violence and abuse.

… The honor is due to those front-line soldiers in the war against COVID-19.

Ta-Yu Yang and Jeanne K. Johnson are lawyers in Des Moines.