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Congress Needs to Pass a Clean DREAM Act with TPS To Protect Nearly 1 Million De-Legalized

Katherine Culliton-González

As the Trump Administration takes the unprecedented action of de-legalizing nearly a million residents, a Clean DREAM Act with TPS is urgent—leaders of both parties in Congress must act before January 19.

For the first time in recent history, the United States is actively de-legalizing persons. Yesterday, the Trump administration rescinded Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a humanitarian form of legal status, for more than 195,000 Salvadorans who have been granted this type of immigration relief for over 17 years. They are the parents of more than 192,000 U.S. citizen children. Their deportation would cost the U.S. economy over $109.4 billion in the next 10 years. This cruel and unusual measure did not take into account that El Salvador recently declared a national state of emergency due to widespread human rights violations, making it life-threatening for Salvadorans in the U.S. to be returned.

As Elie Wiesel stated for posterity: “No human being is illegal.”

This is on the heels of rescinding TPS for Haitians in December, based on the flimsy analysis that the poorest country in the hemisphere had sufficiently recovered from the devastating earthquake of 2010, which had prompted President Obama to grant TPS for Haitians living in the U.S. President Trump was quoted making racist remarks about Haitians shortly after their legal status was rescinded.

The Trump Administration also rescinded TPS for Nicaraguans and Sudanese.

Rescinding TPS follows Trump’s cancellation of DACA status for nearly 800,000 young people who had arrived in the U.S. as children. Every day that Congress fails to act, 122 people lose their DACA status and may be deported. All in all, nearly 1 million residents have been recently de-legalized by our country. The not-so-hidden secret is that the overwhelming majority are people of color.

This is not America. The new American demos is tired of our families and communities being threatened and ripped apart by cruel and discriminatory policies that seek to exclude them. We keep hearing that a wall must be built, while families are being torn apart and people seeking asylum are being detained without due process—but America is a “nation of immigrants,” with a history of celebrating walls being torn down. The higher the wall is built, the more people fleeing for their lives will perish. The more constitutional rights are trampled, the more the foundation of our democracy crumbles. The more we permit racial and religious divisions in who belongs and who may be deported, the less we are as a nation.

As Elie Wiesel stated for posterity: “No human being is illegal.”

We must do better, and we must call on the leaders of both political parties—including Representative Pelosi and Senator Schumer—to pass a clean DREAM Act with legalization of persons who had TPS, and without funding for Trump’s border wall.

We stand by our prior statement of December 21, and continue to urge Congressional leaders not to fund the January 19 continuing budget resolution unless it includes these demands.