Renewed Hope for TPS Holders?

Part IX of a series on TPS
This will be the last post of the series

Historically, immigration reform has been a widely debated issue that typically falls on party lines. The debate regarding Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is no different, as we saw the government shutdown over the weekend when Republicans and Democrats could not agree on a solution to TPS or DACA. A bipartisan solution is needed soon to provide peace and certainty to the 437,000 TPS recipients living legally in the United States.

The Quixote Center strongly condemns the Trump Administration’s ruthless and heartless stance on immigration. Instead, we advocate for legislation that provides security, equality, and dignity to all persons. We believe this is done through providing those who were forced to flee their homes due to ongoing conflict, natural disasters or other extreme circumstances with a pathway to permanent residency. Below we provide an overview to the five proposed TPS reform Acts in the House and Senate.

The Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency (SECURE) Act  

Introduced in the Senate: 11/16/2017

Under the SECURE Act, proposed by Senate Democrats Ben Cardin (MD), Chris Van Hollen (MD), and Diane Feinstein (CA), TPS recipients would be allowed to apply for legal permanent residency (LPR).  The SECURE Act would apply to all TPS recipients who qualified for the most recent TPS designation, and have been continuously physically present in the United States for the last three years. Applicants must pass a background check when applying for permanent residency.

Pros

  • 18 Senate Democrat cosponsors for the Act thus far
  • Applies to all TPS recipients

Cons

  • Lacks bipartisan support

Act to Sustain the Protection of Immigrant Residents Earned through TPS (ASPIRE – TPS) Act of 2012

Introduced in the House: 11/14/2017

Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary: 11/14/2017

Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security: 12/13/2017

The ASPIRE Act, proposed by House Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY), in the House, would create a new “protected status” for TPS holders. The new “protected status” would last for six years, and recipients would be able to renew it for an additional six years. TPS recipients who are able to make a case of “extreme hardship” can apply for legal permanent residency. To qualify for the ASPIRE Act applicants must be a TPS holder on 1/1/2017 and be physically present in the US for five years prior to the enactment of the bill. If TPS holders as of 1/1/2017 don’t qualify for the new “protected status”, they can apply for legal permanent residency if they meet the guidelines.

 Pros

  • 2 Republican cosponsors for the Act thus far
  • 12 Democrat cosponsors for the Act thus far
  • 325,000 TPS and deferred enforced departure (DED) recipients eligible

Cons

  • “Extreme hardship” can be open to interpretation and can be difficult to prove

The American Promise Act of 2017

Introduced to the House: 11/03/2017

Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary: 11/03/2017

Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security: 11/21/2017

House Representative Nydia Velazque (D-NY) introduced the American Promise Act of 2017, which would allow all TPS holders to apply for lawful permanent residency within three years of the bill’s passing if they meet all LPR requirements. Similar to the other proposed bills, applicants must hold TPS before 10/1/2017, and have been physically present in the US for three years since the effective date of the bill. Extreme hardship waivers would be available for those whom do not meet the physical presence requirement. 

Pros

  • 76 Democrat cosponsors for the Act thus far
  • Includes past TPS holders whom have left the US
  • 325,000 TPS and deferred enforced departure (DED) recipients eligible

Cons

  • Lacks bipartisan support 

Extending Status Protection for Eligible Refugees (ESPERER) Act

Introduced in House: 10/31/2017

Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary: 10/31/2017

Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security: 11/17/2017

Under the ESPERER Act, proposed by Representatives Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Alcee Hastings (D-FL), TPS recipients from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Haiti would be granted legal permanent resident status if they arrived in the US and began receiving TPS before 1/13/2011.

Pros

  • 8 Democrat cosponsors for the Act thus far
  • 4 Republican cosponsored for the Act thus far
  • 300,000 TPS recipients eligible

Cons

  • Does not include all TPS recipients

TPS Reform Act of 2017

Introduced in House: 05/23/2017

Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary: 05/23/2017

Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security: 06/23/2017

The TPS Reform Act of 2017, introduced by House Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL), shifts the authority to designate the United State’s participation in TPS from the Executive to Congress, and stipulates that strict and clear limitations for TPS designation would be set forth in order to ensure that it remains ‘temporary’, and is no longer used as a ‘de facto amnesty’ program.

Pros

  • 5 Republican cosponsors
  • Appeases hardline Republicans and ensures TPS is temporary

Cons

  • Does not address the root issue of immigration reform
  • No pathway to permanent residency       
  • TPS designation time open to wide interpretation
  • Does not provide guidelines for who would qualify
  • Shifting power to different branches might not solve the problem
  • Lacks bipartisan support

The Quixote Center believes that the SECURE Act and the ASPIRE Act provide the best permanent solution to TPS and treat all TPS recipients equally and justly through providing them with a pathway to LPR. Please call your legislators to ask them to support these bills because they provide the most hope for a secure future for over 437,000 individuals.

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