CUSP to U.S. Senate: “No More Temporary Solutions. Pass Permanent Legislation to Protect TPS Holders Now!”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2021

CONTACT
Jeralyn Cave, Jeralyn.cave@gmail.com, (412) 682-0798
Asha Noor, asha@africans.us, (202) 420-9744

National Immigration Coalition to U.S. Senate: “No More Temporary Solutions. Pass Permanent Legislation to Protect TPS Holders Now!”
Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP) Urges Passage of SECURE Act to Provide Pathway to Citizenship for 400,000 TPS Holders
 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, a national coalition of immigrant rights organizations urged Congress to pass legislation allowing over 4000,000 Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders to secure permanent protection by providing a pathway to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. In testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, members of Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP), a coalition of national organizations working to win permanent status for immigrant communities, urged the swift passage of the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency Act (SECURE Act, S. 306). The legislation would allow current TPS holders to apply for permanent status after three years of U.S. residency, providing much-needed stability to their communities. 

“Unfortunately, many immigrants fleeing political turmoil, armed conflict, environmental disaster, epidemics, and other extraordinary conditions in their home country don’t find protection in the United States,” said Guerline Jozef, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance. “What they find is an unjust immigration system that threatens to send them back to perilous conditions at any moment, despite the fact that they have made America their home. TPS holders like Rose Tilus and Namrata Pokhrel have started businesses, completed higher education, added to our economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, and lived here for sometimes up to 20 years. We have an obligation to provide a permanent solution to those who have added so much to our nation, and that includes passing the SECURE Act.”

There are currently 411,000 TPS holders in the United States from countries including Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria,Venezuela, and Yemen. Individuals are granted protected status for a defined period between 6-18 months. When a nation’s status is recertified by the Department of Homeland Security, TPS holders from that country must reapply and pass a background check. 

“As one of approximately 56,453 TPS holders from Haiti, I am a Family Nurse Practitioner who has worked on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rose Tilus, Haitian TPS holder from Rhode Island and witness at the Senate Hearing. “I tested positive for COVID-19 and all of my family members living with me got COVID, including my aunt who ended up in the hospital and on a ventilator for a week. Fear and anxiety are always in the background, that I might suddenly have to leave my home. I’ve lived in the United States for 20 years, since I was 17 years old. TPS allowed me to get my undergraduate and master’s degrees. I love my work, I love serving the community in Rhode Island.” 

Testimony from TPS holders underscored the need for federal legislation protecting workers and exemplified a collection of  CUSP member stories submitted to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee detailing the experiences and reflections of immigrants from around the globe. 

“I am a Sudanese TPS holder, and I have been here for 20 years. That's more than half my age, and I’ve been working and paying taxes, so I would love to see TPS become permanent, and for us to get a clean path to citizenship,” said Ahmed Osman, a Sudanese TPS Holder from New York. “We don't know what the future holds, and nothing is guaranteed in this way. TPS the way it is now doesn’t offer security, no future, no longevity. I have never lived in my home country, nor can I live anywhere else since this is the only place I’ve ever really ever known. We need a real solution!”

“In the past, the immigration ‘solutions’ passed by Congress have failed because they have been temporary fixes to a long-standing issue,” continued Jozef. “Some TPS holders have placed their lives and futures on hold, living deadline to deadline, because they lack a pathway to a permanent life in the U.S. Despite this, many go on to become leaders in their communities, leaders of the nation’s social movements, and employers in our neighborhoods. Imagine what our nation would be if we provided this group with the stability that allowed them to thrive?”

 

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Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP) is a collaborative of grassroots immigrant community organizations working together to win permanent status for our members and communities, and build a more inclusive immigrant rights movement that centers the needs and experiences of African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, Arab/Middle Eastern, and API immigrants.

The UndocuBlack Network (UBN), founded in 2016, is a multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people that fosters community, facilitates access to resources and contributes to transforming the realities of our people so we are thriving and living our fullest lives. UBN has chapters in New York City, the DC/MD/VA area, and Los Angeles, CA.

Adhikaar (Nepali: rights) is a New York-based non-profit, organizing the Nepali-speaking community to promote human rights and social justice for all. We are a women-led workers’ center and community center focused on workers’ rights, immigration rights, access to affordable healthcare and language justice. We organize the Nepali-speaking community to create broader social change; build coalitions on advocacy campaigns that address our community's needs; center women and the most impacted communities in our leadership; engage members in participatory action research; and implement community education, workplace development training, and support services.

African Communities Together (ACT) is an organization of African immigrants fighting for civil rights, opportunity, and a better life for our families here in the U.S. and worldwide. ACT empowers African immigrants to integrate socially, get ahead economically, and engage civically. We connect African immigrants to critical services, help Africans develop as leaders, and organize our communities on the issues that matter.

Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization that advocates for fair and humane immigration policies and provides  bond support and humanitarian, legal, and other social services, with a particular focus on Black immigrants, the Haitian community, women, LGBTQAI+ individuals and survivors of torture and other human rights abuses. Since 2015, HBA has provided services to asylum seekers and other migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, in U.S. detention, and during U.S. immigration proceedings.

National Network for Arab American Community (NNAAC) is a national consortium of independent Arab American community-based organizations. The Network’s primary mission is to build the capacity of Arab American non-profit organizations that focus on the needs and issues impacting their local community while collectively addressing those issues nationally

 

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