Washington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and over 20 of their Senate colleagues in the reintroduction of the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency (SECURE) Act, legislation to allow qualified Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients to apply for legal permanent residency.
“In Nevada, over 6,300 individuals with Temporary Protected Status have called the Silver State home for many years, with some living and working in the state for decades. They have become our neighbors, co-workers, business owners, and so much more, adding to the beautiful social and economic fabric of our state. We must work to give these families the security and certainty they need to continue living and contributing to our country. That is why I’m proud to reintroduce the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and Emergency (SECURE) Act with my colleagues to finally create a permanent solution that protects TPS families in Nevada and across the country.”
Legislation text can be viewed HERE.
TPS is a temporary, legal status granted to foreign citizens who are endangered by conditions in their home country such as ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, epidemic, or other extraordinary events. Currently, there are approximately 411,000 people with TPS in the United States from ten designated countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Nevada is home to 6,300 TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti, as well as their 5,200 U.S.-born children.
TPS status is granted for set periods ranging from six to 18 months, requiring the Department of Homeland Security to extend a country’s status on a recurring basis. Every time a country is recertified, recipients must reapply and pass a thorough background check.
In September 2020, a federal court of appeals ruled in favor of the Trump Administration and reversed a court order in the Ramos v. Nielsen lawsuit which halted the termination of TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan; this court order also stopped terminations of TPS for Honduras and Nepal. TPS recipients now face uncertainty as they wait for the pending re-hearing on the case. This uncertainty and the continued dangerous circumstances in their home countries has created considerable hardship for TPS recipients and their families, including American-born children. The SECURE Act will provide stability for these individuals and their communities by giving them the ability to apply for legal permanent residency. Under the bill, all TPS recipients who were qualified under the most recent TPS designation and who have been continuously present in the United States for at least three years would be eligible to apply for legal permanent residency.