Representative Yvette Clarke (D-New York) introduced the Act to Sustain the Protection of Immigrant Residents Earned through TPS (ASPIRE-TPS) Act of 2017, H.R. 4384, on November 14, 2017. The bipartisan bill would create a new “protected status” for those with temporary protected status (TPS) or those with deferred enforced departure(DED). The bill would also allow certain TPS and DED holders who can show “extreme hardship” to apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status to obtain a green card. TPS is granted by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to certain foreign-born individuals who cannot safely return to their home countries because of ongoing armed conflict, environmental disasters, or other extraordinary circumstances. Currently, over 300,000 foreign nationals living in the United States possess TPS status. DED is authorized by the president and currently covers over 2,000 nationals from Liberia. For more information about specific countries designated for TPS, see our fact sheet here.
What would the ASPIRE-TPS Act do?
- The ASPIRE-TPS Act would establish a new “protected status” for nationals of El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen that:
- Were TPS or DED holders on 1/1/2017;
- Were physically in the U.S. for five years prior to enactment of the bill; and
- Apply for protected status during the registration period.
- Protected status lasts for six years and is renewable for an additional six years.
- While registering for the protected status a TPS or DED holder who appears to meet the requirements for protected status will get work authorization and if in removal proceedings will stop such proceedings until and if a determination of ineligibility for protected status is made.
- If granted protected status, work authorization will be provided for the duration of protected status.
- Those who were TPS or DED holders on 1/1/2017 but who are not otherwise eligible for the new protected status may be able to apply for LPR status if:
- They meet admissibility requirements in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA); and
- Shows that their deportation would result in extreme hardship to themselves or their U.S. citizen or LPR spouse, parent or child.
- Approval of LPR status will not reduce the number of LPR slots provided for in the INA.
How many TPS holders would be eligible to apply for LPR status under the ASPIRE Act?
- As of August 2017, TPS re-registrations and DED beneficiaries numbered approximately 325,000. This represents the highest possible number of individuals who could be eligible under the ASPIRE-TPS Act.
TPS Holders Are Valuable Contributors to the United States:
- TPS holders participate in our economy. TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti contribute a combined $4.5 billion in pre-tax wages or salary income annually to U.S. gross domestic product and $6.9 billion to Social Security and Medicare over a decade.
- TPS holders have high rates of labor force participation. 88.5 percent of TPS holders from El Salvador and Honduras are working. Male TPS holders work in the following sectors or occupations: construction and painting (23 percent), driving/deliveries (13.7 percent), cleaning buildings or houses (7.3 percent), gardening (5.4 percent), cooking (3.9 percent), or store clerk (2.5) percent. Female TPS holders work in these sectors or occupations: cleaning buildings or houses (27.9 percent), childcare (6.6 percent), cooking (5.2 percent), clothing manufacturing (4 percent) or store clerk (3.8 percent).
- TPS holders have established lives throughout the U.S. 30 percent of households with a Haitian, Honduran, or Salvadoran TPS holder have mortgage. The six states with the largest populations of TPS holders from these three countries are California (55,000), Texas (45,000), Florida (45,000), New York (26,000), Virginia (24,000), and Maryland (23,000).
- TPS holders come from a diverse set of places. In addition to the nearly 300,000 TPS holders from El Salvador, Haiti, and Honduras, current TPS holders also come from Nepal (8,950), Nicaragua (2,550), Somalia (250), South Sudan (70), Sudan (1,040), Syria (5,800), and Yemen (1,000).