President Bacow, Take Action for TPS Workers #ResidencyNOW
President Bacow, Take Action for TPS Workers #ResidencyNOW
We are a group of students advocating for member of the immigrant community at Harvard —including our undocumented students and workers with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS protects over 320,000 people in the United States, originating from 13 countries, who fled from gang violence, war, climate crises, and many other push factors. Over 200 workers at Harvard are TPS recipients.
Time is running out! Protections for our TPS workers are set to end January 1, 2020; both Harvard University and the Governor of Massachusetts lack a clear plan for what will happen to the workers, parents, and children if the program is terminated. We demand that President Bacow take immediate action on behalf of all Harvard workers who have Temporary Protected Status.
We have written a letter to President Bacow with a list of our demands (full statement below), summarized in the following: Harvard must stand with our immigrant communities, especially TPS, now. Though we are advocating for those in our Harvard community, the power and respect Harvard University carries across the country must be used as a platform to protect and elevate the voices of TPS recipients. We ask that you read and sign onto our letter to President Bacow, which we will deliver to him directly.
Please share this petition and share with everyone you know! Time is scarce and we must not give up before the battle is lost, we must fight for those most impacted.
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Dear President Bacow,
We write to request that you take immediate action on behalf of all Harvard workers who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a program that protects over 320,000 people, originally from 13 countries, nationally. Harvard’s TPS recipient custodians, dining hall and support staff appreciate that your statements about the immigration crisis in the United States have increasingly included explicit mention of TPS as well as DACA and the deportation and detention of affiliate scholars due to their nation of origin (1, 2). However, TPS workers continue to face uncertainty and grave danger.
Time is running out! Protection for these workers is still scheduled to end on January 1, 2020, and the University still lacks a clear plan for these workers after that date. In addition, the Governor of Massachusetts has made no preparation for this terrible day. He has also indicated that he will veto legislation that would enable TPS recipients, including Harvard employees, to maintain their driver’s licenses, putting the safety of all Massachusetts residents and University affiliates at risk. Meanwhile, recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), many who are the children of TPS recipients, are now in an equally perilous position since a troubling Justice Department ruling that could empower the least far-sighted or responsible faction of our national political leadership to terminate their status. As you know, at risk immigrant workers and students are united. We ask that you take immediate action and a leading role in securing the protection that they deserve.
We ask that you immediately act on the following urgent initiatives:
- Advocate with our national and state political leadership for TPS and undocumented students to remain in their communities where they live, work, employ, learn, teach, raise families and enrich our lives. Urge Governor Baker to pass the Work and Family Mobility Act (H.3012/S.2061) and to develop a plan for state residents with TPS after January 1, 2020 when their licenses are scheduled to expire with their protection and legal residency.
- Lead and organize your counterparts in higher education and large employers across the country to join you in this urgent advocacy initiative. As the President of one of the most elite institutions in the United States, we expect that your leadership would be extremely persuasive to other institutional leaders and essential to winning our struggle to keep our families and communities together. We also expect that your counterparts can learn from your increasing awareness of TPS workers in addition to undocumented students and international scholars; that because universities are communities they cannot survive without protecting every affiliate--cook or college student, parking attendant or PhD, custodian or computer scientist.
- Engage with the experts in the movement to protect immigrants. As stated in UNITE HERE Local 26’s most recent agreement with Marriott International, “The Union and the Employer have a mutual interest in avoiding the termination of trained employees.” This latest contract, notably progressive especially considering the for-profit employer co-signing, sets out model non-discrimination, enforcement and status change accommodations. Harvard already has a relationship with Local 26 which represents Harvard’s dining hall workers, including many with TPS, so we urge you to include the Local and Harvard workers’ other unions in the work of responding to the attacks TPS recipient employees are facing. As a community there should be one policy of non-discrimination and protection ensuring parity for all affiliates, not various and differing protections and remedies. Draw on the expertise of undocumented students whose organizational and political leadership, as well as lived experience, is essential to developing the preparedness needed at Harvard. Consult with the University’s scholarly and legal experts and ensure that Harvard is intervening meaningfully in the humanitarian crisis of our time.
- In the absence of a clear plan for January 1, 2020, explicit anti-discrimination and protective policy, or the urgent advocacy needed to ensure a future for TPS and DACA recipients, Harvard’s unions and student movements have been building the community needed. Your support for Harvard Graduate Student Union and the Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign is also integral to assuring the safety of TPS and undocumented students. As we have mentioned, unions are at the forefront of responding to the threats against immigrant affiliates. Just as important, the termination of TPS and DACA status puts members of our community at risk for family separation, detention and incarceration. To support immigrant affiliates we urge decisive support for the organizations committed to our protection and equally strong opposition to the prison industry including divestment.
Immigrant workers and students--TPS, undocumented--among other vulnerable communities--Black, brown, Muslim, LGBTQ+, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people--are meeting their responsibilities to the local community and University while living with distressing uncertainty and attacks. We ask Harvard to affirm and advocate for the rights of immigrants to stay with their families and communities. Please support and fight for the permanent residency that TPS recipients, undocumented students, and their families deserve.
Harvard TPS Coalition
Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM)
Harvard College Act on a Dream