Union Pledges to Take Fight for Central American, Haitian TPS to Congress

New York, NY – The termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for recipients born in Nicaragua by the Department of Homeland Security, and the non-commitment to protect Honduran TPS beyond July 2018, is an inhumane and immoral decision that could have devastating impacts on hundreds of thousands of families and the U.S. economy.

UNITE HERE represents thousands of TPS holders within the hospitality industry across the United States of America. The hospitality industry prospers through the efforts of immigrant workers, and our industry has one of the highest rates of TPS recipients. TPS recipients, like the thousands our union represents, are dedicated and longtime employees, many of whom have been at their jobs for over a decade. Major American corporations including Disney that employee TPS recipients have joined our union in calling on DHS, Congress, and the Trump Administration to extend TPS.

Through their unionization, UNITE HERE TPS recipients serve guests in the hospitality industry every day in the literal sense, and also serve their country by standing up to some of the largest corporations in the world to hold them accountable for fair wages, affordable healthcare, and better standards that improve conditions in every city where our members work. These TPS holders are exemplary employees who make America what it is.

“Because of the astounding cruelty and foolhardiness of Donald Trump and the Department of Homeland Security, today tens of thousands of lives could be ruined with this TPS termination,” said Maria Elena Durazo, general vice president of UNITE HERE and architect of the union’s national immigration campaign. “Ending TPS for Nicaraguan recipients or any others will forcibly tear apart American families, taking TPS recipients who have lived in the U.S. for over twenty years from their American-born children, from their jobs, and from their homes. This inhumane decision will be a stain on American history. Donald Trump has taken employees who serve our country and turned them into targets for deportation overnight—and is keeping hundreds of thousands more in limbo.”

With this inhumane decision from DHS, and Donald Trump too cowardly to act, the onus falls now on Congress to take action to save TPS to protect Nicaraguan recipients as well as recipients from Honduras, Haiti, and seven other countries. As of today there are 320,000 TPS holders working in the United States with 273,000 U.S-born children—including UNITE HERE member Belinda Osorio’s family in Orlando, Florida. Belinda is a Honduran TPS recipient who has lived and worked in America for over 20 years, building a life with a union job, a husband, and two American children. Her oldest is fourteen. Belinda is an exemplary member of her community, active in her children’s school, and a leading union activist fighting for a raise at Walt Disney World Orlando for the 39,000 workers there.

UNITE HERE has run one of the most high-profile TPS campaigns in the immigration community over the past year, with union members of UNITE HERE with TPS interviewed everywhere from The New York Times to the Wall Street Journal to Al Jazeera and Salon.com, and in DC lobbying the federal government for extension—and we will not end that work now. We will continue advocating for TPS extensions for Nicaragua and comprehensive pathways to citizenship for all immigrants in the upcoming budget fight and beyond.

Contact: Rachel Gumpert, (202) 285-0464

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UNITE HERE represents 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada, including many immigrant, DACA, and TPS members.