More than 18,000 TPS holders in Florida on the frontlines battling Coronavirus
In a new article for WUSF News, reporter Daylina Miller highlights the increased anxiety TPS holders in Florida feel regarding their jeopardized status in this country, even as they risk their lives on the frontlines of this pandemic. In her article, Miller highlights the contributions that TPS holders are making in the midst of this unprecedented public health crisis and how immigrant advocates are pushing for an extension of TPS and COVID-19 benefits.
Across the nation, immigrants are putting their lives on the line and serving this country as doctors, nurses, teachers, maintenance, food production and other essential workers. Even as TPS holders continue to demonstrate how invaluable their presence is in this country, pending court decisions threaten to disrupt their ability to work and remain legally in this country.
Miller’s reporting is excerpted below and is available in full here.
Marleine Bastien with the Family Action Network Movement said many TPS holders work in occupations considered essential during the pandemic, like nurses, doctors, teachers and sanitation workers.
“In Florida, there are over 18,000 working at the forefront inside this epidemic and yet at the same time, they have to worry about having to be asked to pack their bags,” Bastien said.
Rony Ponthieux, a TPS holder and nurse at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital, said it’s time for the U.S. government to think about fair treatment for TPS recipients.
…“I’ve been here for 21 years, and I’m working in the hospital to saving lives. We are in a war and the enemy is the virus. And the soldiers are not the U.S. Army, they are the health care providers. And I can tell you that many, many, many TPS recipients are in the frontline. They are the soldiers come fighting. And guess what? I’m one of them,” he said.
The Family Action Network Movement is urging the U.S. Senate to pass the proposed American Dream and Promise Act that helps provide a path toward permanent resident status for these immigrants, but said they need short-term relief, too.
“We also would like at least to give peace of mind to the 300,000 TPS recipients for their work permit to be extended,” Bastien said. “So that would relieve some of the impacts of waking up every day with dread.”
…Bastien’s group, and other immigration advocates, are asking Trump to extend TPS work permit deadlines, as well as include these individuals in COVID-19 stimulus packages.