Washington, D.C. – On April 30, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders working on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic in New York joined immigration experts and advocates to discuss their critical role in protecting New York communities during this crisis even as the Trump administration is trying to deport them.
In the midst of an unprecedented global health crisis, New York TPS holders are part of the frontline response to combat the spread of the Coronavirus in the state. In New York alone, 12,500 TPS holders are working in occupations at the forefront of the Covid-19 response, with 2,100 working in health care occupations. But the Trump administration is still trying to remove them from their communities despite their hard work and dedication to the country they call home, especially during this health crisis.
“During these terrifying times, as an essential worker I continue to work every day, putting myself at a higher risk of contracting the virus, despite taking precautions. This is the reality of hundreds of thousands of other immigrants across the country who are on the front lines during this health crisis,” said Crisanto Andrade, TPS holder and member of Make the Road New York. “And, as if it was not alarming enough, TPS holders like me are also waiting for the courts to decide our future. That is why I call for our work permits to be extended and urge Congress to act to protect and provide a permanent solution — including, a pathway to citizenship — for DACA, TPS recipients, and the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the country.”
Bishnu H, Nepali TPS holder, New York delivery worker and Adhikaar member said, “I am 44 years old. I am a TPS holder and work in Manhattan in food delivery. My children and my wife are still in Nepal. Despite all the danger and stress during these times, I still need to go to work. During this time, I am exposed to contracting Coronavirus, fortunately that has not happened- but I am worried and scared. I am the only one in my family that is able to work. My single income pays for everything from school tuition for my kids, rent here and in Nepal, to everyday expenses. I am a simple person. I don’t live on a lot nor do I ask for a lot. Through TPS I, like hundreds of thousands of other TPS holders, have a work permit and pay taxes which helps me support my family and this country. If TPS holders are given permanent residency, it would let hundreds of thousands of immigrants like me continue to work, help save lives and rebuild the economy. As an essential worker, I know my value — and that this economy depends on us. We have put our lives on the line to support our community. My request to everyone in Washington D.C. is to give us permanent residency now and ensure TPS status and work permits are extended until we can achieve permanent residency.”
Megha Lama, Immigration Organizer at Adhikaar said, “We have been working on the ground and in the policy sector. We have seen how immigrant communities are being impacted by this health crisis. Immigrant communities have been ignored for too long and we cannot let this continue happening.”
Anu Joshi, Vice President of Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition said, “The emergent data on the impact of Covid-19 has highlighted inequities of our society and the disproportionate impact on low income immigrant workers. Neighborhoods in central Queens have emerged as the epicenter of the city, state, and country’s growing outbreak. These same neighborhoods are home to the essential workers who put their lives at risk on the frontlines. These are the low-income immigrants who make sure our families are cared for, our homes and offices are cleaned, and our grocery stores stay stocked. Immigrant workers make up more than 50% of frontline workers in New York City and 33% of frontline workers statewide. 121,000 TPS holders across the country are in essential jobs and almost half of TPS recipients in New York State are essential. TPS workers are doing all this work under a cloud of fear about their immigration status which the Trump administration is actively seeking to eliminate. There needs to be a permanent solution for TPS holders to stay together with their families and continue serving as essentials. In the middle of this crisis we need more than words: we need action.”
Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communications at America’s Voice said, “New York City and the tristate area are the epicenter of the Covid-19 crisis and New York is the quintessential gateway to immigrants past, present and future. Covid-19 has already exposed the vast inequalities of our country and immigrant workers are pulling their weight and combating the virus head on with 12,500 TPS workers in New York State alone. There has always been an underlying appreciation for immigrants and it is ever more present in this crisis as they are delivering our food and ensuring our health and safety. Despite this, the President and the administration has continued to shift blame and use them as a political prop. We are waiting for the courts to tell us what the future of TPS holders have, as we clearly see these immigrants demonstrating the hard work they are doing for their country and for their family.”