TPS holders in Boston push for permanent status
A group of immigrants, advocates and local elected officials gathered in front of Boston City Hall yesterday to urge the Biden administration to create a path to lawful permanent status for thousands of immigrants who fled crises in their native countries and now call Massachusetts home.
Catch up fast: The current protections come under the Temporary Protected Status designation, which offers work permits for two years at a time for people from up to 15 countries, but were put in jeopardy when the Trump administration tried to end the policy.
- Boston-area TPS holders say their protections have gotten short-term extensions after representatives sued the Trump administration, but their latest extension runs out on Dec. 31
Why it matters: An estimated 13,250 TPS holders live in Massachusetts, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service. They have raised children, opened businesses and built their lives here, but have no direct path toward becoming permanent residents.
- President Biden had campaigned on promises to let TPS holders continue to live in the U.S, but his administration hasn't decided whether to re-designate TPS for El Salvador, Haiti, Nepal and other countries.
- Designations for El Salvador and Haiti expire on Dec. 31. TPS holders say the fast-approaching deadline has fueled uncertainty about their long-term plans.
- Meanwhile, the administration has added TPS designations for Venezuela, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Ukraine and Ethiopia.
What they’re saying: “It’s so hard to be in this stretch every year or every 15 months or every nine months to repeat and repeat the same story again,” says Doris Reina-Landaverde, a TPS holder from El Salvador and member of the Massachusetts TPS Committee. “We still live the nightmare of being separated from our families.”
- “The president with the flick of a pen can make everyone’s life easier, can make everyone sleep easier,” says Boston City Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune, a Haitian-American resident who has family members with TPS designation.
The other side: Critics of TPS say recipients are relying on permissions based on decades-old natural disasters and conflicts and should return to their native countries.
- “What illegal alien population won't receive a TPS designation by the end of President Biden's first term?” wrote Preston Huennekens, government relations manager for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, in a press release after the Biden administration designated TPS status for Afghanistan.
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