The Supreme court ruled Thursday to allow the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, to continue. The decision empowered another group of immigrants also hanging in the balance: the people who hold temporary protected status, also known as TPS recipients.
"I think what we have now is momentum, momentum to continue organizing locally and nationally for a permanent fix for both TPS and DACA recipients," said Marleine Bastien, of Family Action Network Movement.
On Friday, Bastien and a group of immigrant activists and community leaders in South Florida held an online meeting to discuss how to pass the Dream and Promise Act, which distinguishes itself from the Dream Act because it also calls for TPS holders to gain permanent status. The bill passed the House about a year ago, but has not been introduced to the Senate. This leaves 300,000 U.S. immigrants in limbo and facing deportation.
Lili Montalvan, who came from her native El Salvador over 20 years ago, is one of them.
"I am fighting alongside my children, so TPS does not end, or so that a permanent solution can be found, because I do not want what happened to my husband to happen to me. He was deported," said Montalvan.
TPS is granted by the Department of Homeland Security to people living in the U.S. from designated countries affected by extreme violence or natural disasters. Among the countries included are Venezuela, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras and Sudan.
State Rep. Dotie Joseph said the country, and Florida specifically, benefits from TPS holders being here.
“Their spending power is in excess of $15 billion and they pay over $588 million in taxes, so this is not, you know, just people sitting around doing nothing, taking resources. Many of them are homeowners with mortgages,” Joseph said.
"We are urging our senators, especially those in Florida, who have a big role to play - Senator Rick Scott and Senator Marco Rubio - to take this bill up in the senate,” said Bastien.