“We will not go away silent”
A recording of today’s press call is available here.
On a press call today, a panel of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders, local Virginia leaders, and organizers discussed the ongoing terror integral members of Virginian communities are experiencing as the Trump administration races to terminate their immigration status and the urgency surrounding their activism.
Panelists discussed the impact TPS terminations will have on the thousands of TPS and DED holders in Virginia that depend on these programs to continue working and living in their communities, and how the looming expirations of the program pose an existential threat to people’s livelihoods in Virginia and beyond.
Luis Angel Aguilar, Virginia Director at CASA said, “If we remove TPS holders from the Virginian economy, we’ll lose $1.3 billion in GDP. People won’t be able to pay their mortgages and there will be huge consequences to local economies. We have to find a permanent solution. The average TPS recipient has lived here for 20 years. It’s critical moving forward that we do not rely on an injunction. We as a people can do something about it, we can demand our Congress to pass legislation to fix this and ask executive power to sign legislation. Our Virginia economy and society receives a great help from our TPS and DED holders. It’s incredibly important for us to show the impact of our families here and how they make a difference.”
Nikita, TPS Holder & DMV TPS Organizing Fellow at Adhikaar, said, “I want to continue to call this country home, while being able to live together with my family. But time is running out. TPS has not only allowed all its recipients and their families stay safe together in this country, it has allowed them, as workers, to contribute to this country’s economy. Because of this, there is a dire need of permanent residency. It scares me to know that all of this is dependent on a lawsuit, that may or may not be successful. That’s why I ask those listening to support us, act now, call your Senators to pass the SECURE Act, and to continue to spread our stories. We will not go away silent.”
Francis, DED Holder from Fairfax, Virginia said, “Life in America has been good thanks to TPS and DED, so I’m very grateful for that. I’ve found that with my status, there are so many opportunities in America. People have been here in the U.S. for 20 to 30 years and we need to protect the foundations that they’ve laid in this country. It’s important that our legislators approach problems surrounding TPS and DED as their own, as problems of other American residents. America is truly a place that you as an individual will make what you will. Opportunity should and needs to be afforded to these people.”
Hector Cendejas, Manassas Park City Councilmember said, “TPS recipients are working in different sectors and are also entrepreneurs. For those recipients who live in the DMV area, it’s important for them to be self-sufficient, have their business licenses, etc. These businesses bring revenue to jurisdictions and to the communities (police, fire department and other essential services). We need a permanent solution for us as a jurisdiction to flourish. When it comes to children, many TPS recipients were born in the US. If there’s no program, children will be forced into foster care, which is also costly. Also, with no parents caring for their children, this will affect the children’s education, health care, mental health, housing stability, etc. We need a permanent solution now.”
Carla Bustillos, Legislative Affairs Committee Member at the NOVA Chamber of Commerce said, “TPS and DED holders are very important to the NOVA Chamber of Commerce. We have a number of businesses that would feel the impact if TPS were to be canceled. For example, one of our biggest firms here is a construction contractor that has over 200 employees who are working and living here on TPS, while other smaller business may have around 15 employees on the program. In this area, some contracts require that legal status for hiring, so it’s essential for many that TPS and DED continue. These are people that are legally working and are also contributing to the economy and our country through tax dollars. TPS recipients pay about $4.5 billion every year in taxes. The program has had an immensely positive effect on our communities and economy and these workers need a permanent solution.”