Since the Fall of 2017, a new coalition of unions, Working Families United, representing four million workers across the country has fought together to win stable futures for their members with an immigration status called TPS which offers them protection from being expelled to countries where their lives would be in danger due to natural disasters, war, or political instability.
The average TPS holder has lived in the US for nearly twenty years. They are trained specialists in their fields. One third are homeowners. And they are parents to more than 275,000 US citizen children whose lives would be thrown into chaos if the government were to remove their parents’ status.
The Dream and Promise Act will keep our union members safe, our industries working, and our nation’s values in tact.
These are just some of the stories of our union members with TPS.
For the last 20 years, Donaldo Posadas Caceres has strapped on a harness with a paint gun to scale the towers and steel beams of some of the tallest bridges in the United States. Whether he’s on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland, the Walt Whitman Bridge in Philadelphia, or other suspension bridges up and down the East Coast, Posadas thinks about his wife and family, because “I will do anything for my family,” he says.
Wilna Destin’s eyes fill with tears when she talks about her 10-year-old son. She describes how frightened he is she will leave him. He asks who will hug him, or make him dinner, or help him with his homework if she goes away. She tries to reassure him, but this is not just normal separation anxiety—his fears are well-founded.
Destin was a housekeeper at Disney World until she landed her job at UNITE HERE as an organizer helping lead the campaign to raise the minimum wage. Destin is one of nine TPS holders from all over the country who sued the federal government in March, arguing that the Trump administration’s decision to terminate TPS was illegal.
In her years in Las Vegas, Ericka has become an American in every sense except for actual citizenship, she said. She lives in an apartment in North Las Vegas with her kids and has worked her way up from a job doing laundry for local casinos to become an organizer for the local hospitality worker’s union, Culinary Workers Union Local 226.
“For me, right now I can say that I found the opportunity that I never dreamed (of) before,” Ericka said, choking back tears at the thought that the dream might end.
I have spent nearly all of my adult life in the United States. I’ve made a career for myself in construction by renovating government buildings and am a member of the labor union LIUNA Local 202. My children, ages 13 and 19, are U.S. citizens.
The opportunity to live and work in the United States is something I will always be grateful for, but since the termination of temporary protected status, I worry that my family will be torn apart.
Rodriguez drives a truck that hauls containers to and from the docks of the Port of Los Angeles, carrying merchandise for Amazon, Walmart and Target.
“If I lose my TPS, I lose my trucker’s license,” Rodriguez said, referring to his temporary protected status in the U.S. “I work hard. I have a clean record. I pay taxes. Right now, I have no solution to fix my status if TPS ends.
Working in construction gave me economic stability…I’m scared because if TPS is gone, everything I have achieved will be gone, too,” she says. Berrios’ three children—two of whom also are union laborers—also now face uncertain status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created in the Obama era to allow immigrant children, the estimated 800,000 “dreamers,” to remain for school or work.
Yvenor Joachim, Pennsylvania. UFCW member and TPS holder.
“America gave my family the opportunity for a new life after our home in Haiti was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake. TPS allowed us to come here when we had nowhere else to turn. Thanks to TPS, we’ve been able to find good jobs, provide for our family, and build a better future for our children. We work hard, pay our taxes, and are proud to contribute to our community. After building a new life here, losing TPS would devastate our family and millions of families like ours. I stand with all TPS holders to urge Congress to save TPS and keep our families together,” said