WASHINGTON, D.C. –In the wake of the Trump Administration’s decision yesterday, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine co-sponsored the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency (SECURE) Act to protect people who were displaced by dangerous conditions in their home country and came to live in the United States under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Kaine spoke out this week against the Trump Administration’s decision to end TPS for Salvadoran immigrants displaced by natural disasters, including thousands in Virginia. The SECURE Act would allow qualified TPS recipients to apply for legal permanent residency.
“This bill would give TPS recipients the opportunity to gain permanent residency and continue living, working, and studying in the nation that they have come to know as home,” said Kaine. “As a country, we opened our arms when they came here seeking refuge, and we shouldn’t turn our backs on these families now by forcing them to return to countries plagued with violence.”
TPS is a 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. Until recently, there were 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. TPS status is granted for set periods ranging from 6 to 18 months, requiring the Department of Homeland Security to extend a country’s status on a recurring basis. Every time a country is recertified, recipients must reapply and pass a thorough background check.
TPS recipients now face uncertainty following the Trump Administration’s decision to cancel protections for El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua. This uncertainty and the continued dangerous circumstances in their home countries has created considerable hardship for TPS recipients and their families, including American-born children. 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 recipients who were qualified under the most recent TPS 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.
The text of the bill can be found here.