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Clarke Leads Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers to Protect TPS Migrants

Clarke, Ros-Lehtinen, and Jayapal’s ASPIRE TPS Act would allow all TPS eligible individuals to apply for lawful permanent resident status and create a new “protected” status

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) introduced bipartisan legislation to allow TPS eligible individuals to apply for lawful permanent resident status and allow those who have been here for more than five years to legally remain in the United States through a newly-proposed “protected” status.

The ASPIRE TPS Act would protect TPS eligible individuals from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Central America and Haiti who could otherwise be sent back to life-threatening conditions in their home countries. It would do so in a manner that preserves equality between countries and is based in bipartisan principles to maximize its chances of advancing in today’s heavily polarized environment.

The Act to Sustain the Protection of Immigrant Residents Earned Through TPS (ASPIRE TPS) Act would provide meaningful protection to every individual who possessed a TPS or DED designation on January 1, 2017.  A PDF of the legislation is available here.

“The Temporary Protected Status program was created with bipartisan support to protect human life. It advances American interests and values and we must work in a bipartisan manner to do the right thing and protect hardworking immigrants from being sent back to countries where their physical wellbeing could be cast into doubt,” said Clarke.

“Our nation has welcomed TPS beneficiaries who are fleeing unexpected circumstances in their home countries, and given them a new opportunity to flourish here in the U.S. These TPS beneficiaries have embraced their new lives and work to improve our communities. Many are now business owners, stellar employees, bright students, and contributors to our economy and our way of life while also providing much needed financial assistance to their families. I am proud to be joining my colleagues Yvette and Pramila, to allow these members of our society to maintain their legal status and give them the certainty to plan for their future. I welcome our Congressional colleagues from both sides of the aisle to join us on this endeavor,” said Ros-Lehtinen.

“It is easy to tell a nation’s character by what—and who—that nation is willing to stand up for. When it comes to the rights and lives of immigrants, we cannot be silent. Defending Temporary Protected Status to protect those fleeing war, disease, and natural disasters is a priority that crosses party lines and political barriers. I’m honored to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce the ASPIRE TPS Act and help bring justice for these immigrants who have been the backbone of our society for decades,” said Jayapal.

BACKGROUND ON TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS (TPS)

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) provides a safe haven for migrants who are unable to return home due to dangerous situations in their native countries – whether it be armed conflict, natural disasters, or other extraordinary circumstances.

To obtain TPS, eligible migrants report to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), pay a processing fee, and receive registration documents and a work authorization. The major requirements for migrants seeking TPS are proof of eligibility – a passport issued by the designated country, continuous physical presence in the United States since the date TPS went into effect, timely registration, and being otherwise admissible as an immigrant.

Individuals who received TPS are not on an immigration track that leads to permanent residence or citizenship.

At press time the following Member had signed-on as original co-sponsors: Representatives Ros-Lehtinen, Jayapal, Lofgren, Jackson Lee, McGovern, Lee, Hastings, Wilson and Correa.

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