November 16, 2017
“Working Families United” launched with $1 million budget to save Temporary Protected Status
From UNITE HERE’s press release:
Five leading American labor unions, backed by the AFL-CIO, have unveiled the creation of a joint campaign initiative focused on saving Temporary Protected Status, revealing nearly one million dollars already raised and throwing its weight behind H.R. 4253 (115), the TPS bill introduced today by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
UNITE HERE, IUPAT, Bricklayers, UFCW, and the Iron Workers publicly launched Working Families United today, an immigrant worker advocacy coalition that will be running a nearly million–dollar campaign to extend Temporary Protective Status in the coming weeks. The partner unions represent tens of thousands of TPS union workers in hospitality, construction, and trades who would lose their legal worker status if TPS is not renewed.
Working Families United is the only major TPS advocacy organization funded exclusively by labor, and has the formidable backing of nearly one million dollars for advocacy in the final weeks of the 2017 congress. The TPS campaign budget will include a variety of ad buys and will center around key congressional targets crucial in bipartisan passage of HR 4253/SBX.
There are over 320,000 TPS holders in America, working legally, paying taxes, and contributing to the economy. Many have been in America for decades and have raised families that include American born children. In addition to reaping significant economic damage on the hospitality and construction industries if not extended, termination of TPS would also eliminate a major source of tax revenue, as TPS holders pay hundreds of dollars of fees to have their immigration status renewed regularly. TPS designations to countries with humanitarian or environmental crises have been renewed annually, but are now threatened under the Trump administration. Labor unions are making a strong statement that people who have lived here for decades and played by the rules should be offered a path to legalization and citizenship. [UNITE HERE]
Here’s how TPS works: If a country experiences a natural disaster or armed conflict, the Homeland Security secretary can issue a TPS designation, which allows affected nationals who are in the U.S. to remain and apply for work permits. The status requires renewal every six to 18 months, but in the past these were given freely. Now the Trump administration has signaled the government will no longer rubber stamp TPS renewals. Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke chose last week to terminate the status for Nicaraguans and to allow a six-month renewal for Hondurans — a short-term reprieve that reportedly irked the White House. The administration now faces a Nov. 23 deadline to decide whether to renew TPS for roughly 59,000 Haitians approved for the status. When then-Secretary John Kelly issued a six-month extension to Haitians in May, he advised enrollees to make travel arrangements to return to Haiti. [POLITICO]