Donald Trump has been systematically terminating protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who have had permission to live and work here, some for decades now. While a court has left Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for people from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan in place for now, beneficiaries and their families are still in limbo. Now, in what’s being billed as the largest event yet in support of the program, families from all TPS nations will mobilize in Washington to tell Trump and the new Congress that permanent protections are needed now.
“I joined the lawsuit because there’s a lot of people who don’t have a voice. I’m the union leader and I’m their voice,” Wilna Destin, a UNITE HERE member, told Remezcla. She’s among the 50,000 Haitian TPS recipients who had their protections targeted in what a federal judge said was a racist attack by the Trump administration. “I’m a mother and I want to raise my kids and support them throughout their lives,” Destin continued. “I look forward to becoming a grandmother and babysitting their children.”
Like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, TPS recipients have called the U.S. their home for years. “On average, Salvadorans with TPS have lived in the United States for 22 years, Hondurans for 23 years, and Haitians for 17 years,” the Center for American Progress (CAP) reports. More than 275,000 U.S. citizen children have a parent who is a TPS recipient, meaning that uprooting one person will mean uprooting an entire family—or forcing them to go underground. This is cruelty, and putting TPS recipients who have already been following the rules for years onto a path to legalization is a no-brainer.
Efforts to protect TPS recipients already have had bipartisan support in Congress. “Having TPS allowed me to come out of the shadows,” said Caesars Palace worker Nery Martinez, one of the dozen UNITE HERE members who plans to mobilize in the nation’s capital this week. “My wife is also on TPS and we have two beautiful children who are American citizens because they were born here. I’m flying to Washington, D.C. to tell Congress that if TPS is not renewed, we will lose our jobs, we will lose our ability to support our children, and our lives will be destroyed because our children would lose both of their parents.”