March 26, 2019

Kaine Introduces Legislation To Protect TPS Recipients

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine joined Senators Chris Van Hollen, Ben Cardin, and Dianne Feinstein to introduce the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency (SECURE) Act. This legislation would allow qualified Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients to apply for legal permanent residency. 

“TPS recipients have made countless contributions to Virginia and our nation – often after fleeing countries plagued by violence,” said Kaine. “This bill would allow them to keep contributing to the country they’ve come to know and love as home.”  

TPS is a temporary, legal status granted to foreign citizens who are endangered by conditions in their home country such as ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, epidemic, or other extraordinary events. DED is a humanitarian program authorized under the President’s power to conduct foreign relations. The Trump Administration has thrown these families into turmoil by refusing to recertify their designations or to provide clarity on future designations. 

This uncertainty and the continued dangerous circumstances in their home countries has created considerable hardship for TPS and DED recipients and their families, including their American-born children. 

Currently, there are approximately 437,000 people with TPS in the United States from ten designated countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Liberians, originally granted TPS in 1999, are currently the only country protected by DED – that status is set to terminate on March 31, 2019. The SECURE Act will provide stability for these individuals and their communities by giving them the ability to apply for legal permanent residency. Under the bill, all TPS and DED recipients who qualified under the most recent designation and who have been continuously present in the United States for at least three years would be eligible to apply for legal permanent residency.

Senators Kaine, Van Hollen, Cardin, and Feinstein were joined in introducing this legislation by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jack Reed (D-RI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Tina Smith (D-MN). 

The text of the bill can be found here