“We must leave no one behind” - Iron Workers Join Campaign to Save TPS
The Iron Workers International (IW) and four other labor unions have launched a joint campaign to save Temporary Protected Status, a program that allows victims of humanitarian disasters to live and work in the U.S. while their home countries recover. Many recipients of TPS are ironworkers. There are currently more than 320,000 TPS recipients in the U.S., and they play a vital role in our economy, the construction industry and our union. The Trump administration recently terminated protection for Nicaraguan and Haitian TPS recipients, and many others will soon lose their legal status if Congress does not act.
The IW joined UNITE HERE, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the Bricklayers and United Food and Commercial Workers to launch an immigrant worker advocacy coalition called Working Families United to run the campaign to protect union members who are TPS recipients. The unions have already raised nearly $1 million and have endorsed the TPS bills introduced by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY).
The partner unions represent tens of thousands of TPS recipients in the construction, hospitality, manufacturing and service industries who will lose their legal status if TPS is not renewed. The coalition is working to pass legislation in Congress to preserve TPS and create a path to lawful permanent resident status.
More than 60,000 TPS recipients work in the construction industry and many are ironworkers. Ending TPS would have a devastating impact on workers and contractors alike. These 60,000 workers would be forced to abandon their jobs and return to countries still reeling from humanitarian disasters, or stay in the U.S. illegally. This blow to the construction workforce would undercut wage and safety standards for everyone in the industry.
Termination of TPS would also eliminate a major source of tax revenue and wreak havoc on the economy as a whole. Terminating TPS and deporting recipients would cost taxpayers more than $3.1 billion, reduce GDP by $45.2 billion over a decade, decrease Social Security and Medicare contributions by $6.9 billion and increase employer expenses by $967 million.
TPS recipients were invited to stay in the U.S. after natural disasters, wars and other humanitarian crises ravaged their home countries. Many have been here for decades and have raised families that include American born children. TPS recipients are our neighbors, our friends, and our union brothers and sisters. They are here legally, paying taxes and contributing to the economy.
“We must keep pressure on this administration and this Congress to prevent the cancellation of these programs,” said IW General President Eric Dean. “It’s my hope that we don’t lose sight of the smaller and important programs like TPS and Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program as we move forward and toward a broader goal of citizenship and immigration reform. We must leave no one behind. Our union was formed by immigrants. Our union probably has one of the highest percentages of native Americans, but after that, we’re all immigrants and we’re all descendants of immigrants.”