Bennet, Colleagues Urge Administration to Extend Temporary Protected Status for Individuals from Certain Countries

Letter to U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security Requests Extension of TPS for Nationals Currently Residing in the United States

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), along with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and 23 others, this week wrote to the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urging Secretaries Rex Tillerson and John Kelly to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of nationals currently residing in the United States.

The TPS designation is a temporary benefit aimed at providing relief to foreign nationals in the United States who are from countries devastated by natural disasters, armed conflict, or other extraordinary conditions. Currently, there are over 320,000 TPS holders in the United States from 10 countries with deadlines set to expire at the end of the year and the beginning of 2018. These countries include El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

"We urge you to review each of the designations closely, taking into consideration conditions on the ground and remaining mindful of the possibility that ending TPS and ordering the return of recipients could undermine fragile recovery efforts or put individuals in harm's way," the Senators wrote in their letter. "Continuing to extend TPS for the 10 currently designated countries serves our national security interests and demonstrates to our allies abroad that the United States is a leader in humanitarian efforts."

The TPS designation is implemented through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). TPS recipients are fully vetted and are required to undergo background checks to ensure that they are not risks to public safety or national security. Once granted TPS, individuals may not be deported, may obtain an employment authorization document, and may be granted travel authorization. In addition, individuals cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of their immigration status.

Bennet was joined by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Cory A. Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Al Franken (D-MN), Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Christopher A. Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Click HERE for the full text of the Senators' joint letter.