Pandemic Protection Needed for Many TPS Immigrants on Frontline

In a new article for the Miami Herald, reporter Jacqueline Charles covers the experiences of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders working on the frontlines of the unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic while also fighting to stay with their families here in the U.S. The Trump administration is continuing their attempt to terminate hundreds of thousands of TPS holders’ immigration status and separate more families, despite their heroic efforts to keep American communities safe.
Charles’ reporting is excerpted below and available in full here
As thousands of Central American and Haitian immigrants with temporary status in the United States continue to face the threat of deportation amid the coronavirus pandemic, immigration advocates are pressing the Trump administration to automatically extend work authorizations and to support legislation giving them a pathway to citizenship.
There are over 300,000 people currently benefiting from Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, advocates say. Of that number, over 11,000 are working in healthcare, fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, said advocates, quoting a recent study by the Center for American Progress.
“TPS holders shouldn’t have to worry about being kicked out of their homes, especially while they are caring for our communities and putting their lives on the line,” said Pili Tobar, deputy director for America’s Voice, an immigration advocacy group.
Tobar and immigration experts with the Florida Immigrant Coalition and the Family Action Network Movement called on Republican senators Monday to support and pass the American Dream and Promise Act.
… “We need a real pathway to citizenship for all TPS beneficiaries,” said Paula Muñoz, campaign manager for Florida Immigrant Coalition. “We need the Senate and Congress to take leadership and search for a permanent solution such as the Promise Act…. Anything less would continue to throw TPS recipients in a cycle of waiting for expiration dates.”
While their work permits were renewed due to federal lawsuits opposing the Trump administration’s decision to terminate TPS status for six countries, including Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, beneficiaries of the program still live a life of uncertainty. In the case of Haitians, for example, their documents will expire on January 2, which Miami advocate Marleine Bastien said is right around the corner.
TPS families, she and others say, deserve better, especially considering that thousands are working in essential jobs during the crisis.
Among them is Rony Ponthieux, who has been in the U.S. for 21 years. A nurse since 2006, Ponthieux currently works at Jackson Memorial Hospital in a specialized unit for patients with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
“I put my life in danger. I put my life on the line to save American lives. All of my family is at risk because of me,” he said.
Ponthieux said the administration and members of Congress should think about fair treatment for TPS recipients by making their status permanent. “It’s not time to play games,” he said.
“We are in a war and the enemy is the virus and the soldiers are not the U.S. Army. They are the healthcare providers, and I can tell you that many, many TPS recipients are on the front lines,” said Ponthieux. “They are the soldiers fighting this virus… and I am one of them.”
… “It is too hard for them to be thinking about saving lives and taking care of their families and in addition to that, to have to think about this looming date of early next year where they will probably have to pack their bags,” she said. “How do you ask people to pack 30, 40 years of their lives in suitcases and bags?”
And while she supports any “piece of legislation that will provide relief,” Bastien gave a strong push for the Promise Act, which she said has yet to receive the support of the administration as well as most Senate Republicans, including Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, whom she believes can “take leadership” on the matter.
PLEASE Check back on this blog when the new Immigration Executive Order threatened by Trump is signed. He has announced via Twitter that there will be the temporary suspension of ALL immigration – which he cites in the tweet as being necessary to save American jobs.  Although we do not know the full ramification of this until we read the Order itself, her is my preliminary social media comments: Pardon my profanity!!!

The ramifications of this are huge. It impacts families trying to get together, fiancé’s trying to marry. Let’s hope that it does not endure for too long and if it’s only a concomitant of COVID and can be reversed. We will fight this bastard!! But it does show you where that schmuk’s mindset is! He does not miss a shot to attack demonize and prevent immigration! We are not yet clear on the terms of it, but the bland nature of it is scary. To cite saving American jobs because of the pandemic, in my opinion is a poor excuse for his proven xenophobia. And its political opportunism at its worst!

What Happens to the fiancé who cannot come and be with a future spouse? A family member with another? In the faux name of ‘sparing jobs for Americans’? That preposterous notion purports to uphold ‘rights’ for some while it denies the rights of others!

I Do not know what this means for asylum Seeker’s who are already in the United States. Cases in progress? The status of conditional green card holders? I cannot see how he can hold up those cases in the names of jobs for Americans! These are individuals who need protection from severe persecution or people who have married Americans – and I cannot imagine how America could possibly turn their back on this form of immigration.

We must get this man out of office, PLEASE PLEASE vote blue no matter who! And if you are a Bernie supporter who is refusing to vote blue you should be fucking ashamed of yourself.


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Refugee / Asylum

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