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TPS Recipients and Community Leaders in Miami Discuss Extension

Marleine Bastien, FANM Strongly Supports the Passage of the Heroes Act
Marleine Bastien
Executive Director
Family Action Network Movement (FANM)

[MIAMI]  On Wednesday, December 9th, at 1:30pm TPS recipients, community leaders, and immigration advocates held a press conference to discuss the Federal Register notice extending TPS for beneficiaries under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan through Oct. 4, 2021.

They also emphasized the immediate need to find a permanent solution for TPS.

A recording of the press conference is available here.

Family Action Network Movement (FANM)

Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of Family Action Network Movement (FANM), stated, “TPS recipients in the US who have been waiting anxiously for a decision woke up with their hearts lighter. In the couple of weeks leading to this date, FANM has received many calls from TPS recipients anxious because they were being pressured by their employers. TPS recipients have amongst themselves 275,000 US born children so of course they were concerned about what is going to happen. They were anxious. Many of you who called FANM indicated how hard it was for you to go to sleep because you were so anxious. We have good news to share with you today. In compliance with the judge’s injunction, in the cases of Ramos v Nielsen and Saget v Trump, which were lawsuits brought by several immigrant organizations and some TPS holders, some of you are on this press event today, DHS published that they would continue to respect the judge’s injunction. They would continue TPS for nationals from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras, and Nepal until October 4, 2021. What does that mean? Your work permit will automatically continue until that date. Your employers cannot fire you. They cannot pressure you. For most of you, you will still have on your work permit the date of July 2018. That’s not going to change but that doesn’t mean that you are not in compliance and that you cannot work. If you are having issues and problems with your employers, we ask you to contact us.”

Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC)

Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), stated, “While today’s announcement is welcome, and we know that the fight continues, we still need permanence. Many of the TPS Holders have lived the majority of their lives in the US and need permanent protection. TPS Holders are residents of this country, taxpayers, consumers, producers, essential workers, and their status and paperwork should reflect that. The recent storms, Iota and Eta, have deeply affected the region and the countries of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. Those most affected are the marginalized, the black and indigenous communities. We need to respond in an ethical manner and extending TPS is one of those ways. While we are happy for this extension, multiple countries still need protection including Guatemala. Congress needs to work together to pass a stimulus relief that includes all immigrants regardless of status during these extraordinary times. ”

American Civil Rights and Immigration Lawyer

Ira Kurzban, American Civil Rights and Immigration Lawyer, stated, “ I want to alert people to something that is going on right now that I think affects TPS and DACA recipients which is an Omnibus Bill which is being passed in Congress under the Cares Act which is very important. What is happening is that the high tech industry is putting a bill that has a very high likelihood right now of getting passed, HR1044. HR1044 basically says for the next ten years all visas that are work related would go to Indian nationals because they made a promise many years ago to Indian nationals that they would get them residency.  This bill has never had a hearing in Congress. It’s been passed through in the House without a hearing. It’s been passed by unanimous consent in the Senate. They are trying to slip it in this Omnibus Bill. It’s a bad bill for many, many reasons but one of the reasons why it is bad is, if you have TPS or you have DACA now and you want to become a resident in another way through work that is going to be delayed for ten to fifteen years as a result of this legislation. It’s going to give every visa that’s available as a practical matter to Indian nationals for the next ten years. Why is that important? If they are going to pass this legislation, then they can put TPS and they can put DACA in the Omnibus Bill that’s going to be passed in Congress in the next week or two.”

TPS Organizers

Paul Namphy, TPS Organizer, stated, “This is an opening for over 410,000 TPS holders of which 400,000 of them were covered by the six countries that were mentioned in the Federal Register notice. This is very, very important for our communities both in the Americas and beyond. This is a possibility to keep your job without harassment or difficulty. This is a possibility to extend your driving privilege, to continue your activities and your livelihood. This is also a possibility for family cohesion because we are talking about more than 275,000 children of TPS holders many of whom are from Haiti and Central America. This is very important.”

Lili Montalvan, TPS Organizer and Holder from El Salvador, stated, “In 2001, my life changed and I was granted TPS status. I was able to open a bank account and get a driver’s license. Later, I got married with my husband Walter and we had two children, one of whom is 18 and the other 7.  In 2019, my husband was deported and I became a single mother. I am fighting not only for myself but also for the TPS community. While this is an extension for nine months, we are aiming for a permanent solution. I need to stay here for my children. Like many others, we want to stay here and help support our children with their studies.”

TPS Holders

Rony Ponthieux, TPS Holder from Haiti, stated, “I’ve been in the US for more than twenty one years. I’m a frontline nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital. I am taking care of patients with COVID. As a TPS beneficiary, I am glad they extended TPS for nine months. But trust me, don’t be too happy. It’s not over. In nine months, we are going to find ourselves in the same situation. In January, we will have a new administration. We need to keep on pushing and fighting. I urge everyone to get in touch with elected officials and members of Congress so they can work with the administration to have a new program for TPS Recipients so we can have something permanent.”

Farrah Larriuex, TPS Holder from Haiti, stated, “ This extension is a short relief. It gives us some time to continue to fight for permanent residency. We TPS recipients have paid our dues in this country. We are an asset for the development and progress of the United States. As the country is about to welcome the Biden-Harris administration, TPS recipients, along with advocacy organizations, we ask President Elect Joe Biden to remember his promise to us which is to stand for TPS.” 

Corinne Gentillon, TPS Holder from Haiti, stated, “My name is Corinne Gentillon. I am a TPS Recipient from Haiti. I have been living in the US since 2010. I am twenty years old and am currently a student at St. Thomas University. Because I am a TPS recipient, I have been struggling getting financial aid for my education. I am here to say we need a permanent solution not only for young TPS recipients but also for DACA recipients and everyone else who is going through the same issues as I am.”

Maria Molina, TPS Holder from El Salvador, stated, “I am very happy with the nine month extension because I am able to stay employed in my two jobs. In one of these jobs, I work Wednesday through Friday as a 9/11 caller. We need a permanent solution because this is just a bandaid on something that needs to be permanent, something that will help all families heal. I have a daughter that was born here, she is now 18 years old. In January, she begins her second year of college. She is studying to be a pediatrician. I am her financial provider. What we need and what we demand is an executive action for all of us under TPS status, something that is more permanent. ”

Claudia Lizardo, TPS Holder from Honduras, stated,My name is Claudia Lizardo and I am from Honduras. I came here in 1995. I was blessed to have the first TPS in 1998. I was able to get my driver’s license, my social security, and a good job. I had the opportunity to study cosmetology and graduate. I got married in 2000 and I had two daughters. There was always this point of anxiety when the extensions for TPS were going to come to an end. I lost my oldest daughter in 2014 to cancer. My second daughter has auditory problems. Right now, I am a single mother and I am helping my daughter who cannot hear. I am always nervous when the date for the end of the TPS extension comes because I have my daughter, who is deaf, and my granddaughter who depend on me.” 


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