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Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Blumenthal, Murphy Press President Trump to Automatically Extend Work Authorizations for DACA & TPS Recipients

An estimated 330,000 DACA and TPS recipients are essential workers, including more than 50,000 in the health care industry

[HARTFORD, CT] – As our nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) joined a group of 37 senators led by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to automatically extend work authorizations for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and other impacted immigrants.

More than 200,000 DACA recipients are working in occupational areas the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identifies as part of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce.” TPS recipients, like DACA recipients, are vital contributors to our economy and health care workforce, with more than 130,000 TPS holders serving as “essential critical infrastructure workers.”

“This simple measure, which is well within your executive authority, will save American lives and avoid further disruptions to our economy,” the Senators wrote. “By contrast, going ahead with your Administration’s efforts to deport more than a million DACA and TPS recipients would be needlessly cruel and greatly weaken our nation’s essential workforce.”

An estimated 41,700 DACA recipients and approximately 11,600 TPS recipients work in the health care industry, including physicians and physicians in training, intensive care nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, and health technicians. Additionally, an estimated 14,900 DACA recipients are teachers, many of whom are distance educating American children during the pandemic.

With U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices closed to the public, and many USCIS services suspended, it is likely that Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for many immigrants will expire. EAD renewals are already backlogged and additional processing delays are inevitable due to COVID-19 disruptions. Additionally, with hundreds of millions of Americans under stay-at-home orders, and hundreds of thousands infected with COVID-19, it will be difficult for many immigrants to collect the required information and submit renewal applications and fees within the required timeframe.

Along with Blumenthal, Murphy, and Durbin today’s letter is also signed by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

Full text of the letter is available here.