COPAL took part in a coordinated advocacy delegation urging Members of Congress to protect people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The educational visits with legislators took place between the 12th and 14th of February in Washington, DC.The delegation included CARECEN Los Ángeles, CARECEN San Francisco, CRECEN Houston, Centro Presente, and COPAL MN. We were accompanied by an official from Community Outreach “SomerViva,” a program of the Somerville, Massachusetts mayor’s office that provides support to the immigrant community in that municipality.
Dozens of TPS holders and their families, along with our community-based organizations from across the country gathered in Washington DC to speak to members of Congress about the harsh realities for families and communities of canceled work permits, family separation and deportation. All TPS and DED holders are vulnerable to losing their migration status. Protections for those with DED are scheduled to end on March 31. TPS holders from South Sudan and Nepal will lose status on May 2 and June 24, respectively. TPS protections from Nicaragua, Sudan, Haiti and El Salvador, have been extended due to a preliminary ruling issued by a federal judge in California, but the lawsuit does not cover all the countries for which protections were canceled under the Trump Administration. Nor does the lawsuit provide permanent protection or stability for the these individuals. In addition, the preliminary ruling does not require the government to issue of new work permits reflecting the extended protections. As a result, many people find their jobs in jeopardy.
Given this critical context, the members of the delegation had the following demands for legislators:
- A permanent solution for people who are currently protected under temporary measures such TPS, DED, and DACA. In the short term, this includes the urgent need to keep people under protection and to maintain valid work permits.
- End the shocking and still ongoing practices of family separation at our border and stop funding unnecessary and harmful detention as asylum seekers wait for their cases to be heard.
- Ensure that people currently seeking asylum and protection in the United States can do so on US soil.
- Reshape US foreign policy toward Central America so that over time, fewer people will be forced to flee the region and to put their lives at risk seeking safety in other countries.
The following offices were visited:
- Dianne Feinstein, Senator (D-CA)
- Kamala Harris, Senator (D-CA)
- Tina Smith, Senator (D-MN)
- Dick Durbin, Senator (D-IL)
- Charles Schumer, Senator (D-NY)
- Nydia Velázquez, Representative (D-NY)
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,Representative (D-NY)
- Sylvia García, Representative (D-TX)
- Lizzie Fletcher, Representative (D-TX)
- Norma Torres, Representative (D-CA)
- Barbara Lee, Representative (D-CA)
- James McGovern, Representative (D-MA)
- Ayanna Pressley, Representative (D-MA)
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. We are going to continue making our voice heard in Washington DC to demand that our legislators support a permanent solution for TPS and DACA beneficiaries. La lucha sigue!
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.