Coffman Introduces ‘TPS Act of 2018’

Bill Would Help Over 436,000 Gain Legal Status

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Washington, January 10, 2018 | Daniel Bucheli (202-225-7882) | comments

Washington, D.C.— Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) introduce H.R. 4750, the ‘TPS Act of 2018’. The legislation, if passed, would end the government program known as Temporary Protection Status (TPS), while granting permanent legal residency to qualified TPS enrollees.  On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that the legal status for 262,000 Salvadorans, under TPS, would be terminated in September 2019, forcing them to either leave the country or find another legal path to remain here.

This legislation will help those who have been living and working in the United States, under TPS for many years, to have a legal status that would give them a path to legal permanent residency and remove the fear of deportation,” said Coffman.

Congress created TPS in 1990 as part of the ‘Immigration Act of 1990’ (P.L. 101-649) to establish a uniform system for granting temporary protections to foreign nationals who are considered to be unable to return to their home countries due to armed conflict, civil war, hurricanes and earthquakes.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has the sole discrepancy to list which countries qualify to be deemed TPS eligible. Once such determination is made, protections are issued for a period of six to 18 months, and can be renewed indefinitely if conditions in those countries do not change.  Currently all who reside in the U.S. under TPS have paid a processing fee, have gone through a background and criminal check and have been granted working documents from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). According to a Congressional Research Service report (CRS), there are currently over 436,000 total TPS enrollees, of which approximately 90% of participants come from El Salvador (262k), Honduras (86k), Haiti (58k) and Nicaragua (6k).

In 2001, due to devastating earthquakes in El Salvador, over 260,000 Salvadorans were allowed to remain in the United States under TPS.  They were supposed to return when conditions improved but the federal government never required them to return.  Coffman is sympathetic to those under TPS, who have been here so long that they have become part of the fabric of our communities with not only children born in the United States but sometimes even grandchildren.  

Some have held the same job while some are small business owners.  However, Coffman also believes that the TPS program is fundamentally flawed in that those from impoverished countries will never want to return, even after conditions have improved, so this legislation terminates the TPS program.

We need to help people with humanitarian aid where they are instead of having them come to the United States.  This program was a really bad idea from the start and is completely unrealistic in thinking that, once here, they would be willing to return to their home countries where conditions may have improved but are still nowhere near the living conditions here in the United States,” said Coffman.

In the TPS Act of 2018, Coffman’s legislation does not increase legal immigration to the United States.  It accomplishes this by subtracting the number of TPS enrollees, allowed to immigrate to the United States and apply for permanent legal residency, from each of the existing green card categories allowed in a calendar year over several years.

I fully understand the concerns that by converting TPS enrollees into legal immigrants that I would be dramatically increasing the annual limits on green cards, but I’m not since I’m subtracting the number from the annually allowed green cards so the existing caps will remain in place,” added Coffman.

Bill Highlights:

•          Extends TPS for a period of 3 years for current program enrollees;

•          After 3 years, qualified enrollees may apply for a legal permanent residency or a

            “green card”;

•          50,000 green cards would be deducted annually for this program proportionally from

             each of the existing green card categories;   

•          The TPS Act of 2018 would end all future TPS enrollment

Click HERE to see a copy of the ‘TPS Act of 2018’.

 

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