On September 14, 2020, a divided federal appeals court overturned a lower court’s nationwide injunction blocking the administration from ending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for citizens of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. Maine was one of 21 states that filed a brief supporting the plaintiffs’ challenge to the TPS termination effort.
TPS is offered to citizens of countries that the U.S. deems unsafe due to natural disasters, wars, civil conflict and instability, so that those already in the U.S. on the date that their country is designated for TPS can apply to remain and work here legally. It is typically offered in 18 month increments, and has often been extended repeatedly.
Approximately 195,000 Salvadorans have had TPS since 2001, and more than 50% of them have lived in the U.S. for over 20 years. As of 2018, they were parents of 192,000 U.S. citizen children. Nicaraguans have had TPS since 1999, Haitians since 2010, and Sudan since 1997.
Maine has hundreds of individuals with TPS living and working throughout the state who are integral members of our communities and labor force who face being placed in removal proceedings in 2021 if this ruling stands. The plaintiffs have indicated they will seek further appellate review, but these individuals, who have solid roots in the U.S. and in Maine, deserve a path to permanent residency.
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act in June, 2019, which would provide a path to permanent residency for those with TPS and with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status (DACA). The Senate has never taken up the bill. It is past time that it do so.