Durbin, Schumer, Menendez Highlight Role Of Immigrants On The Frontlines Of COVID-19

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today joined Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) on a press call with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) immigrant workers who are fighting COVID-19 on the front lines to highlight the urgent need to protect Dreamers and TPS holders, extend their work authorizations, and honor their essential work, not just amid the pandemic, but always.

While court decisions on DACA and TPS hang in the balance, Dreamers and TPS holders across the country are working on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 as doctors, nurses, health care professionals, and in countless other essential job roles.  Despite their contributions to the American workforce, the Trump Administration is focused on arbitrarily ending the programs that allow 131,300 TPS holders and 202,500 DACA recipients to serve on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.

“Consider this: one in six health care and social service workers are immigrants.  Where would we be in this pandemic without them?” Durbin asked.  “We must ensure that Jose, Ali, Karen, Denisse, and hundreds of thousands of others in our essential workforce are not forced to stop working when the need for their services has never been greater.  As our nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump must extend work authorizations for DACA and TPS holders and other impacted immigrants.”

Last week, Durbin wrote to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf urgently seeking more information about the confidentiality of information that DACA recipients have provided to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Durbin’s letter follows serious concerns that the Trump Administration is preparing mass deportations of DACA recipients. 

Earlier this month, Durbin led 37 Senators in a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to automatically extend work authorizations for DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and other impacted immigrants.

A recording of today’s press call is available here.