Sara Lonardo

Issued September 15, 2020

SEIU’s Henry: TPS decision will tear families apart, exacerbate economic crisis amid pandemic

Nearly half a million immigrants who work, live and pay taxes in the U.S. now face a bleak choice.


WASHINGTON, DC - Service Employees International Union International President Mary Kay Henry released the following statement today on the 9th Circuit’s decision to allow the Trump administration to terminate Temporary Protected Status for 300,000 law-abiding immigrants:

“Everyone—no matter where we are from or what color we are—wants the same things: good jobs, the ability to provide for our families and keep them safe, and a better future for the next generation.

“The 9th Circuit’s misguided decision will exacerbate the current economic crisis, create even more uncertainty during the pandemic, and will hurt all working families. Many TPS holders are essential workers, risking their own health every day to keep our nation running. Tearing them away from essential jobs all across the country only makes matters worse in the midst of the pandemic that the U.S. has yet to get under control.

“Nearly half a million immigrants who work, live and pay taxes in the U.S. now face a bleak choice: stay in the communities that they have made their home, or return to nations ravaged by natural disaster or war. If they choose the former, corporations will be able to use the threat of deportation to force them into unsafe working conditions and poverty wages, which will ultimately hurt their coworkers in a race to the bottom. If they choose the latter, we will face another family separation crisis, with the parents of more than 270,000 U.S.-citizen children forced to leave their families. 

“Some, but not enough, of these TPS holders are united in unions where they have the power to fight for their rights. This is one of the reasons why SEIU members are demanding that all working people in this country have the opportunity to join a union, no matter where they work, so they can earn a decent wage, provide for their family and live with dignity. It doesn’t matter if you’re a TPS holder from El Salvador cleaning skyscrapers in Manhattan, a Black nurse in Michigan, or a white bus driver in California. Everyone wants a good union job, a healthy family, a decent wage and respect for their work. 

“We can’t let the Trump administration and Republican leaders in Congress continue to blame immigrants for all of our problems, while they give huge tax breaks to billionaires and CEOs and try to take our healthcare away. SEIU members are pledging to get out the vote this November to bring in a new administration that will make this a nation where freedom is for everyone, no exceptions. We need an economy and democracy that works for all of us, no matter where we come from, what color we are or what zip code we live in.”