What Unions Need to Know of TPS

As you may have heard, the Department of Homeland Security has announced the termination of Temporary Protected Status for numerous countries. Hundreds of thousands of people receive their work authorization through TPS, so these terminations will have a serious impact on workers, including many union members.

This packet includes essential information to help unions and their members prepare. Here’s what you need to know:

Terminations are not immediate.

Although the Trump administration has announced terminations for many TPS countries, the status will not end for many months. Workers with TPS can and should apply to renew their status, and employers should not take any adverse action against these workers.

Deadlines are approaching quickly.

There are important deadlines approaching that members need to be aware of so that they can successfully reapply for TPS status and work permits. Although they may have filed TPS renewals many times in the past, this likely will be the final opportunity to apply, so they should prepare thoroughly and submit their applications as soon as possible. A schedule of upcoming deadlines is included in the timeline and will be updated as TPS announcements are made for other countries.

Unions have a key role to play.

Working people with TPS need to know that the union has their back during this extremely difficult time. Unions should be informed about the issue, provide information and support to their members, and engage in the fight for legislative solutions.

Workers need to take steps now.

Before the deadlines, TPS holders will need to file the relevant application forms with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and pay the $495 fee to renew their work authorization. This packet includes helpful materials to share with workers explaining how and when to renew TPS status.

TPS holders should face no immediate impact at work.

Employment authorization documents (EADs), or work permits, for TPS holders are automatically extended beyond the printed expiration date to allow time for processing renewal applications. Those extension dates also are included on the timeline.

Employers should not and need not reverify work authorization documents of individuals in TPS status simply based on these announcements regarding the future termination of TPS. Employers are, however, required to reverify work authorization documents upon their expiration. At such time, workers should simply present copies of the Federal Register notices to show the automatic extension of their work permits. Federal guidance on TPS re-registration and EAD renewal, including Federal Register notices, can be found at uscis.gov/tps.

Should an employer refuse to allow a TPS holder to work despite having timely re-registered, the worker should contact the union. Individuals in TPS status also should investigate whether they may be eligible for any other type of immigration relief, and the union can refer them to appropriate counsel.

Materials included in this packet:

• Timeline of upcoming deadlines related to TPS terminations

• Specific alerts for TPS workers from Haiti and El Salvador

• Instruction on how to re-register for TPS

• A sample letter for a TPS worker to take to their employer or human resources representative about their work authorization

• A sample letter urging Congress to enact a path to citizenship for TPS holders

• A fact sheet on the TPS program

For campaign materials and more information about ways to get involved in the fight for a permanent fix for deserving TPS workers, go to go.aflcio.org/immigrationresources.

If you have questions or need additional support, please contact Shannon Lederer at slederer@aflcio.org or 202-637-5308.