Without urgent action from Congress, more than one million individuals could face deportation starting March 31
WASHINGTON, DC — Nearly 80 Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders traveled to Washington, DC, on Wednesday to appeal directly to federal lawmakers and ask them to pass legislation to protect these vital communities. Without urgent action from Congress, more than one million individuals could be separated from their families, ripped out of the workforce, and deported, starting on March 31 when protections for DED holders expire.
Participants – who traveled to DC from 12 different states, including California, Colorado, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Utah, New York, and Pennsylvania – included:
- Roxana Chicas, a mother of 3 children and a nurse who is working toward her Ph.D. at Emory University in Georgia. She is a TPS holder who came to the United States from El Salvador 32 years ago. More on Roxana’s story is here.
- Vestonia Viddy, a family law attorney who represents low-income domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Vestonia, who was raised in Delaware, came to the U.S. in 1991 after violence erupted in her native Liberia. She is a DED holder.
- Rony Ponthieux, a registered nurse at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital. He is a dedicated father and husband, and the uncertainty of his status as a TPS holder causes immense stress for his family.
- Stella Linardi, a DACA recipient and student at Cornell University who previously interned with the California Department of Labor. Stella hopes to pursue a career in public policy and law.
Also on Wednesday, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, led by CHC Chairman Joaquin Castro, called for permanent legal protections for TPS holders, DED holders, and DACA-eligible youth during a press conference on Capitol Hill. The lawmakers were joined by Mardoel Hernández, a 50-year-old property manager and tax preparer with TPS who has lived in Maryland for 30 years.
“When I first arrived I waited tables and washed dishes to make ends meet. My goal was to learn English and then purchase my first home, and I worked hard every day to make that a reality,” said Hernández. “I attended classes locally until I was able to speak and after I invested in my home, I decided to continue investing in real estate and dedicate myself to expanding my business.”
Carlo Barrera, a science teacher in Manhattan, also shared how his DACA protections have allowed him to pursue his passion for teaching:
“My students shouldn’t have to wonder if ‘Mr. B’ is going to be able to teach at their school next year after my work permit expires this June,” said Barrera, adding that he is the only person in his family who remains undocumented and at risk of deportation. “My uncertainty is my family’s uncertainty. They – and my students – will continue to carry this weight until permanent legislation is passed. Whether or not I get to return to my classroom this June depends on you, Congress.”
Hernández and Barrera are among the more than one million individuals whose lives have been thrown into chaos due to the actions of the Trump Administration. All are at risk of being deported, separated from their loved ones, and forced out of their communities to return to unfamiliar countries they may not have seen in decades. Only permanent legislative protections from Congress will allow them the certainty to continue living and working in the U.S., and building their lives here.