Just one day after the House of Representatives passed the American Dream & Promise Act, which would provide a pathway to US citizenship to an estimated 4.4 million undocumented immigrants living in the US including Dreamers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, Temporary Protected (TPS) holders, and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) beneficiaries, TPS Families began a 43 day hunger strike.
The hunger strike, according to TPS participants, is to pressure the Biden administration and Congress to take immediate action on the demands of TPS families, who continue to wait for President Biden to deliver on his promise to fully restore the TPS program and for congress to finally grant a permanent residency for over 400,000 TPS beneficiaries.
“I am a daughter of a TPS holder,” said Rebecca Vazquez, “and today, I am beginning this hunger strike to demand that the senate passes HR6 and that congress continues to act by pushing any and all legislative packages which would guarantee my mother the permanent residency she deserves. We have fought long and hard to arrive at this critical moment.”
“Today we begin this strike to ensure that as we push Congress to pass a permanent residency for all TPS Holders,” added Felipe Arnoldo Diaz, coordinator of the Nelsy Umanzor TPS Committee. “Biden fully must fully restore the TPS program and expands the program to provide much needed relief for many in our community who cannot return to this country due to natural or political disasters.”
The National TPS Alliance is a grassroots organization comprised of over 50 committees nationwide, advocating for the permanent residency of beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status from the countries of El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Nicaragua, Nepal, Syria, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Yemen.
From March 19 through April 30, participants in the strike will not eat in pursuit of several demands: immediate “green” cards for eligible immigrants, full TPS restoration for all 12 original countries, and expanding the TPS program “to the maximum extent permitted by law” for all other countries experiencing natural and political disasters.
Throughout the duration of the hunger strike, participants will be in a temporary campaign site located in Liberty Plaza of Washington DC, where TPS families will also host weekly press conferences, teach-ins, live musical performances, and hand out educational materials.
“With the change of administration and temporary reprieve from a Capitol held hostage by nativists, we are arguably in the most crucial moment of our struggle, and we must take advantage of this opportunity before the window closes,” TPS officials stated on their organization’s blog.
“Now is the moment for congress to take immediate action for our families and finally pass legislation conferring the permanent residency and equality we have earned after all this time. We call on Congress to pass legislation reflecting the national interests and will of a majority within the country, we call on President Biden to make use of robust authority under the TPS statute to protect immigrant families, and we call upon federal courts to vindicate our rights by siding with our struggle in favor of TPS families’ bedrock constitutional rights.”