TPS holders demand "reparations and justice" in rally outside the White House

Washington DC - Immigrants' rights activists and allies marched to the White House on Friday to demand an extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and a US reckoning with historic injustice toward TPS countries.

TPS families and supporters march to the White House to demand an extension of temporary protections for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Nepal and a designation for Guatemala.
TPS families and supporters march to the White House to demand an extension of temporary protections for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Nepal and a designation for Guatemala.  © Screenshot/Twitter/TPS_Alliance

The march and rally saw TPS families raise their voices alongside community and religious leaders to demand that President Joe Biden extend TPS for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Nepal and issue a designation for Guatemala.

TPS is a temporary legal status conferred on nationals of designated countries who are already residing in the US. In many cases, TPS holders have been in the country for more than 20 years, and they often have children who are US citizens.

When former President Donald Trump decided to end the program in 2017, TPS holders and their US citizen children filed a lawsuit, which has kept the protections active in the interim. What happens after the legal proceedings conclude is still uncertain.

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Whereas creating a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship through legislative means this year has failed, advocates say Biden can still protect migrants even without congressional approval by extending TPS. Doing so would provide crucial support to more than 400,000 people in the US and their families.

"I was 14 years old when I found out that my mother was a TPS holder, and that Trump terminated her TPS status. Trump is gone, but the Trump TPS terminations hang over our heads," 18-year-old Crista Ramos, the lead plaintiff in the Ramos v. Mayorkas case, said in a National TPS Alliance press release.

"Biden must settle my case and protect my mom and the hundreds of thousands of other vulnerable TPS holders who have built stable lives, families and communities in this country."

TPS holders demand the US address its "historical debt"

Activists at the rally also pointed to the US government's historic role in destabilizing Central American countries as another reason for action now. The US has a pattern of supporting violent coups and pouring billions of dollars into military and paramilitary groups in the region. These actions have created the conditions that lead to migration in the first place.

Martha Fernandez, a TPS holder from Palmdale, California, said, "Protecting our communities is the bare minimum for a government that owes a historical debt to a region ravaged by US intervention and to its people who persistently face mistreatment at our border with their labor having been used to sustain the US economy."

"Designating TPS for Guatemala and redesignating TPS for the countries terminated by Trump is the bare minimum. We need reparations and justice."

Cover photo: Screenshot/Twitter/TPS_Alliance

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