February 09, 2021

Duckworth, Durbin, Senate Democrats Introduce Secure Act For TPS Recipients


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) to introduce the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency (SECURE) Act, legislation to allow qualified Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients to apply for legal permanent residency.

 “Despite experiencing uncertainty and discrimination, TPS recipients have helped our nation get through this deadly pandemic by serving as frontline workers and contributing to our local communities and small businesses,” Duckworth said. “We must take action to fully welcome and protect these individuals who came to our nation seeking refuge from violence, which is why I’m proud to help Senator Van Hollen re-introduce legislation that will do just that.”

“TPS recipients are vital contributors to our communities.  More than 130,000 TPS recipients are serving as “essential critical infrastructure workers” during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is time for Congress to give these longtime residents the security and certainty they deserve,” said Durbin.

In addition to Duckworth, Durbin Van Hollen, and Cardin, the legislation is cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI, Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Mark Warner (D-VA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

TPS is a temporary, legal status granted to foreign citizens whose safe return is endangered by conditions in their home country such as an ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, epidemic, or other extraordinary events. Currently, there are approximately 411,000 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 is granted for set periods ranging from six to 18 months, requiring the Department of Homeland Security to extend a country's TPS designation on a recurring basis. Every time a country is recertified for TPS, recipients must reapply and pass a thorough background check.

The uncertainty of their status in the U.S. and continued unsafe circumstances in their home countries has created considerable hardship for TPS recipients and their families, including hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizen children. The SECURE Act will provide stability for these individuals and their communities by giving them the ability to apply for legal permanent residency.

Text of the legislation can be found here.