May 16, 2018
Dear Chairman Grassley, Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Ranking Member Nadler:
We are writing to urge your attention to efforts to provide legal status for those individuals from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan living in the United States under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). As you know, the administration has announced the termination of TPS for individuals from these nations. Unless Congress acts, hundreds of thousands of TPS recipients, including many who contribute as employees at our institutions, will soon lose their ability to work legally in the U.S. and will become subject to deportation.
Since its inception, the United States has stood as a beacon of hope and opportunity for people around the globe. The TPS program, signed into law by George H.W. Bush in 1990, was established for the humanitarian purpose of providing refuge for citizens of countries where natural disaster or conflict had made life unsafe. The recipients of this program have put this refuge to good use – they have joined the workforce, bought homes, started families, and become productive members of their communities, including on our campuses. Several dozen of these individuals work across multiple departments at our universities and are highly valued and productive colleagues. They are also the family members, friends, and neighbors of our students, faculty, and staff. We should recognize and celebrate the contributions of these individuals, who have made a home in the United States and benefitted our economy and our nation. Repatriating them to countries in which they haven’t lived for many years – or forcing them into the shadows of undocumented status – does not serve any sort of greater good. It will serve only to put them at risk.
Your leadership is needed to protect this vulnerable population; we urge you to act quickly to advance legislation that provides TPS recipients with continued status to live and work in the U.S. Doing so will prevent potentially disastrous upheaval for hundreds of thousands of families across the country – many of which include U.S. citizens – and avoid disruption for entities, such as colleges and universities, that employ TPS workers and who value the many ways in which they support and strengthen our communities. It is also the fair, just, and right thing to do.
Christopher L. Eisgruber
Drew Gilpin Faust