Twenty-five years. That is how long I have lived in the United States, building a good life here, with a good job and the ability to help my kids achieve more than I could ever have dreamed of. But in the past couple of years, that life has been hanging on a thread because the Trump administration is stripping protections for people like me — people who past administrations have allowed to stay in the U.S. because of severe problems in our home countries.
The U.S. government granted me Temporary Protected Status (TPS) after Hurricane Mitch destroyed my home country of Honduras in 1998, and I’ve been living and working in this country legally ever since. I’ve embraced my life here.
Now, President Trump has made it clear he doesn’t want people like me with TPS, or those called Dreamers, who arrived in the U.S. as children, to be able to live here and contribute to this country. He has canceled programs that thrived for years, and is threatening to have more than a million of us deported, shattering our lives.
There are court cases trying to stop Trump’s orders, and those have bought us some time. But now there is a more just, permanent solution on the table: the Dream and Promise Act introduced this week in Congress. Finally, people like myself who have lived and worked in the U.S. legally for years, along with young people who have grown up in the U.S., have a chance to earn legal permanent residency and a path to citizenship through this bill.
Over 300,000 TPS holders and more than 800,000 Dreamers, have committed to this country — where we have lived a big part of our lives. We have studied, worked, paid taxes, raised families, bought homes and started businesses in our American communities. We have followed the rules. But we have lived in short stretches, renewing permits every 18 months for TPS holders, every three years for DACA recipients.
Now it’s time to protect the commitment and investments we and this country have made to one another. Most Americans agree we should be allowed to remain.
TPS allowed me to get a good union job with good wages and benefits. That helped me support several members of my family. I was able to pay for two of my kids to go to college, even though I never attended college myself.
And I have been able to help support them and my grandkids through difficult economic and political circumstances in Honduras. It let me get my mother medical care when she needed it, and it has let me take care of my brother, who has a life-threatening chronic illness.
All these loved ones depend on me. And America’s economy depends on the thousands of Dreamers and people with TPS who work hard to make things better for our loved ones, our communities, and businesses across the country we touch.
While TPS holders and Dreamers have been under threat, I have spoken multiple times to my Congressional representative, and to other members of Congress, here and in Washington, asking for a permanent legislative solution. And now we depend on lawmakers like my local representative, Rep. Max Rose, and all his colleagues, to stand up against those who use race and ethnicity to divide and distract Americans from the economic hardships all working people face.
There is nothing temporary about my life here. I will never stop fighting for my job, home and family. And I know that we can win because I have the support of my union, my community and the majority of the American people who believe all working families deserve to thrive.