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ICYMI: Reintroduction of the SECURE Act Paves the Way to Permanent Protection for TPS holders

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The Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency (SECURE) Act allows Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients to apply for legal permanent residency. 

Yesterday, Senators Chris van Hollen (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) joined TPS holders and advocates on a press call to announce the reintroduction of the SECURE Act. TPS holders have been living, working, and contributing to the economy in communities across the U.S. for decades. The SECURE Act provides an opportunity for families to apply for legal permanent residency, stay together in the only home many of their U.S. citizen children have ever known, continue to build successful small businesses, fight on the frontlines against COVID, and plan for the future.

Below are key stories highlighting the announcement of the reintroduction and lifting up the experiences of TPS holders who stand to benefit from the legislation:

From the The Hill: “Maryland senators push for permanent status for TPS holders

“Maryland’s Democratic senators are hoping to secure permanent status for more than 400,000 residents who first came to the U.S. temporarily.

…“For decades, our country has welcomed and protected those fleeing violence and turmoil around the world,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said in a release.

“Many have lived here legally for over twenty years – and have come to call our country home. But over the last four years, the livelihoods of these individuals have been under constant threat. Now, alongside the Biden Administration, we must prioritize providing TPS recipients security and certainty.””

From Newsweek: “Maryland Senators See Joe Biden’s Immigration Policy as Key To Grant Citizenship To TPS Holders

“Both [Md. Senators] believe that Biden’s early moves to reform the U.S. immigration system have created a political environment where the SECURE Act could possibly become a reality.

The administration of former President Donald Trump had argued that immigrants living in the U.S. with TPS should be deported back to their home countries as the status was meant to be temporary and the conditions that first compelled them to immigrate to the U.S. had likely improved.

However, Van Hollen and Cardin believe that the Trump Administration’s threats of deportation and the requirement that TPS immigrants must re-apply for the status U.S. every six to eighteen months, both created a destabilizing environment for TPS recipients.”

Clara Garcia Reported for EFE and NBC 4 Washington: “Senators From Maryland Reintroduce Legislation to Allow TPS Recipients to Apply for Green Cards

“Supporters and activists argue that many TPS beneficiaries know no other home than the U.S.

‘We need today, for predictability and safety, to know that families will stay together here in the United States,’ Cardin said.

The bill, which Van Hollen said is cosponsored by another 20 legislators, would offer more than 400,000 people currently under TPS a chance at a green card.

‘We think we’re in a much better position right now to be able to move forward with the SECURE Act,’ Cardin said. ‘We recognize there’s going to be challenges. That’s why what we’re doing here in this news conference is so important. It’s to get as much community support as possible to move the SECURE Act.’”

In CBS 13 Baltimore : “Senate Democrats, Including Cardin, Van Hollen, Reintroduce Bill To Allow Immigrants With Protected Status To Become Legal Residents

The SECURE Act would, according to the lawmakers, allow those who have fled armed conflict or other events to apply to become legal permanent residents. They said around 411,000 people from 10 countries from Central America, Asia, the Caribbean, northern Africa and the Middle East would qualify.

‘We believe in keeping families together,’ Cardin said. ‘The SECURE Act will make sure we keep families together. It will make sure that we have predictability.’”

WDVM also reported: “Van Hollen, Cardin reintroduce the SECURE Act

“First introduced in 2019, the SECURE Act would allow Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients to apply for permanent residency. TPS offers temporary legal status to foreign citizens who are endangered by conditions in their home country, whether it be an armed conflict, epidemic, etc. Over the last 4 years, many of these recipients have had questions surrounding their status. The Trump Administration refused to recertify their designations, leaving many TPS recipients in a state of limbo.

‘We want to make permanent changes, so God forbid we have another president who wants to turn back the clock, we have protections in permanent law,’ said Sen. Chris Van Hollen.

The senators are hopeful that permanent legislation will be passed, as providing long-term protection for TPS is a part of the Biden-Harris administration’s strategy.”

See also support for the reintroduction of the SECURE act on Twitter from original cosponsors Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).