Disaster Survivors Under Threat from Trump Administration Want Rep. Royce to Help Save TPS


Press Release: 10/26/2017
Contact: Andrew Cohen, 818-419-0064, acohen@unitehere11.org

Violence mars peaceful protest by hundreds of janitors and housekeepers hoping to avoid deportation to disaster-ravaged countries

Los Angeles, CA – A caravan of several hundred immigrants and allies traveled from MacArthur Park to the congressional district office of GOP Congressman Ed Royce this morning to ask for his support to extend Temporary Protected Status. TPS is a humanitarian program that provides provisional legal protection from deportation to migrants unable to return to their home countries due to environmental disasters or violence. Advocates say the Trump Administration may announce the end of protections for thousands of immigrants as early as November 6.

“The Los Angeles Labor Movement is proud to join in the fight to save TPS. TPS recipients are our family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and union members. They have been in the U.S. for many years and comprise an important part of the Los Angeles community and the strength of our economy,” said Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “We will not stand idly by, while their right to live and work in the U.S. is stripped away.”

The visit to Royce’s office was marred by violence as a driver plowed into the crowd as it marched around an intersection after Royce’s office refused to meet with them. Several protesters suffered minor injuries, though it appears no one was hospitalized. Brea police took the driver into custody.

“We don’t want our community to be scared into staying quiet”, said UNITE HERE General Vice President Maria Elena Durazo, “We want Congressman Royce to represent the TPS recipients that live in his district. We want him to keep TPS, but more importantly, we want a permanent solution”.

There are 320,000 people currently living in the United States under TPS, most of whom have been in the country for over two decades and have children with U.S. citizenship. Los Angeles is home to many of the 55,000 Central American TPS recipients currently living in the California. Analysts predict that terminating the program could cause California’s GDP to drop by $2.7 billion, and national GDP to drop by $45.2 billion.

“I’ve built a life here and have a good union job that gives me health insurance I depend on for my cancer treatment. What will I do if TPS is terminated?”, said Iris Acosta, Housekeeper at the W Westwood hotel.

The caravan was preceded by a press conference where labor leaders from UNITE HERE, SEIU USWW, and the Los Angeles Federation of Labor spoke with immigrant workers under TPS, and the immigrant rights groups CARECEN, NDLON, and CHIRLA. About 200 people then boarded charter buses to Brea to deliver hand-written letters to Ed Royce’s office urging the congressman to secure residency for TPS recipients.

“The workers who visited Congressman Royce’s office today aimed to draw attention to the suffering faced by immigrants covered by Temporary Protective Status, who are now under threat by the Trump Administration with the complicity of Rep. Royce and others in Congress who have turned their backs on these refugees. We are shocked and saddened that families seeking refuge from violence in their home countries were victimized here in this country. Unfortunately, such hateful crimes have been fostered by the climate of fear and division established by the Trump Administration, and vehicular attacks have actually been actively promoted by the forces right-wing extremism”, said David Huerta, president of SEIU-USWW.

Families that depend on TPS are also reaching out to the Department of Homeland Security, which has authority over the program.

The Trump administration has already terminated TPS for nationals from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, while Haitians have been given a six-month extension set to expire in November. The administration has indicated that it may also announce its refusal to renew the program for immigrants from Honduras and Nicaragua next month.