December 8, 2017–Recent changes to U.S. immigration policy, including the termination of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs and the Supreme Court ruling to uphold the travel ban, compels the Coalition of Irish Immigration centers to make a statement.
The Coalition adds our voice to the outcry against the ending of TPS for Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan. We stand in support of all immigrants, and urge Congress to intervene in these humanitarian crises by passing legislation that creates a pathway to permanent residence for TPS recipients.
The countries that were previously designated for TPS continue to experience political instability, long-lasting effects of prior natural disasters, and dangerously insufficient infrastructure; they cannot safely reabsorb the thousands of people who may have to return.
Individuals and families from these countries have built stable lives in the United States through hard work. TPS holders have work authorization and pay taxes, contribute to the U.S. workforce, and stimulate billions of dollars in our national economy. These individuals also make valuable contributions toward cultural enrichment within our schools, churches, and communities.
As leaders of Irish immigrant communities across the nation, we are reminded that many of our ancestors sought refuge in the United States during times of famine, persecution, and financial crisis in Ireland. We found safety, opportunity, and hope in this country, and have made invaluable contributions to the United States through culture, economics, and government. Today’s immigrants continue to offer this promise for a greater tomorrow – and like this country has embraced those of Irish descent, we ask that it also embrace those from Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan.
TPS was meant as a temporary fix for a pressing issue in the absence of a more permanent solution. However, we have not seen comprehensive immigration reform for over twenty years. Now is the time to address the needs of immigrants – not through inefficient piecemeal legislation – but through direct action that will make a difference for many hundreds who urgently need support.
The Coalition membership also speaks out against the Supreme Court decision upholding President Trump’s Travel Ban, suspending entry into the U.S. and visa issuance for nationals of six designated countries, including Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. The implementation of the clearly biased and racially motivated Travel Ban will directly impact immigrant families, resulting in unnecessary separation of families and loved ones.
It is our duty as Americans, and as descendants of immigrants, to speak out against the direction in which the immigration policies of the United States are moving. We must support permanent and positive solutions that promote the true values and ideals of America that are rooted in diversity and acceptance, and the welcoming of immigrants from around the globe who add to the beautiful tapestry that is the United States. This includes a continuation of TPS programming, a reasonable solution for DACA applicants, and the freedom of travel for those with family members in the U.S., and ultimately comprehensive legislation to improve U.S. immigration law.
ABOUT THE COALITION OF IRISH IMMIGRATION CENTERS
The Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers (CIIC) was established in 1996 to promote the welfare of Irish immigrants in the US at a national level. The CIIC is funded by a generous grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Emigrant Support Programme.
The Coalition serves as a national umbrella organization representing Irish immigration and community centers throughout the United States that are committed to providing support to Irish immigrants. The Coalition strives to be a strong, cohesive and representative voice for the needs of its member centers, and in turn the greater community of Irish immigrants in the US. The Coalition prioritizes the sharing of information and the creation of best practices as a way to support and assist its member centers in their direct service work. CIIC member organizations are located in California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Philadelphia and Washington
To learn more about CIIC visit, www.ciic-usa.org