Chicago, Feb 11, 2019 – COPAL and other members of the Alianza Americas network and dozens of immigrant leaders from across the country, will gather in Washington, DC to ask members of Congress to take up the urgent task of protecting people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). As Congressional negotiators seek to beat a deadline for passing a 2019 budget bill, these immigrant leaders will urge them to stop wasting taxpayer money on walls and detention, and instead make everyone safer by protecting long-term residents who are at risk of losing their work permits and even being detained and deported in coming months.
Around 300,000 people from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haití, Sudán del Sur, Liberia, and Nepal are at risk if Congress does act now. Experts calculate that the US GDP could lose up to US$ 45 billion from the loss of workforce productivity from the Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS holders. In addition, some 279,000 US citizen children with TPS-holder parents could face family separation if their parents are deported.
Dozens of TPS holders and their families, along with community-based organizations from across the country will gather in Washington DC this week to speak to members of Congress about the harsh realities for families and communities of canceled work permits, family separation and deportation. A delegation of Alianza Americas members will visit members of Congress on February 13 and 14. The organizations and TPS beneficiaries will also come together on Feb 12 to join the “March for Justice”, organized by the National TPS Alliance.
Delegation participants explained their reasons for joining this effort:
Vanessa Velasco, Community Outreach Specialist at CARECEN San Francisco, and TPS holder, affirmed that people with TPS, DACA and DED protections have been under attack during the first two years of the Trump administration. “It is time for legislators to put an end ot the constant attacks and to pass laws that protect immigrants”, she said. From Boston, Patricia Montes, Executive Director of Centro Presente, explained that her team is joining the effort out of concern for people who are currently protected by TPS y DACA, but, she added “without forgetting the thousands of Central Americans currently fleeing the crises in that region.” From the midwest, Rico Durán, Lead Organizer at COPAL en Minneapolis, noted that the state of Minnesota is hope to a significant number of families with TPS and DED, and he called on elected officials to “protect the social fabric of our communities.” Speaking from Texas, Christian Aguiluz, Community Organizer in CRECEN in Houston, reminded members of Congress that there is no need to waste more taxpayer dollars on walls or detention. He added, “We are going to make our voice heard in Washington, D.C. to demand that our legislators support a permanent solution for TPS and DACA beneficiaries”.
For his part, Oscar Chacón, Executive Director of Alianza Americas, had the following statement on the eve of the delegation: “In this critical moment, as Congress negotiates a budget deal, it is absurd to squander yet more financial resources on border control measures, the most of absurd of which is building a border wall. For three decades, billions of dollars have been wasted on these measures. What does require an urgent solution from policymakers is the precarious situation of families and individuals who have been living here for many years and who now find themselves facing possible arrest and deportation. We also urgently need to restore our asylum system– so that people who flee their countries out of fear for their security can effectively exercise their right to request political asylum and have that request processed on US soil. Finally, we must undertake a major re-orientation of US foreign policy toward southern Mexico and Central America, so that we can gradually and collectively address the factors that force so many people to flee their countries of birth.”
Alianza Americas is a network of 50 immigrant-led organizations representing more than 100,000 families across the United States. It is the only US-based organization rooted in Latino and Caribbean immigrant communities that works transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable way of life. Learn more at alianzaamericas.org. COPAL is a member of Alianza Americas.
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COPAL (Comunidades Organizando el Poder y la Acción Latina) is a membership organization with a mission of uniting Latinxs in Minnesota in active grassroots communal democracy that builds racial, gender, social and economic justice across community lines. Follow our activities at Facebook, You Tube and Instagram.