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TPS Bus Tour Stops In Miami Enroute To DC Urging Permanent Solution To Crisis

FANM director Marleine Bastien welcomes members of the National TPS Alliance bus caravan to Little Haiti.
TIm Padgett
FANM director Marleine Bastien welcomes members of the National TPS Alliance bus caravan to Little Haiti.

Earlier this month, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to end Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, for 300,000 immigrants. A nationwide bus tour urging Congress to pass a more permanent solution made a stop  Wednesday in Little Haiti.

Activists from the National TPS Alliancechanted in Creole, " Oui, nous kapab!" (Yes we can!) at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami. For the past two months they’ve bused across the U.S. urging support for the continuation of TPS – the federal program that allows immigrants from countries torn by violence or natural disaster to live in the U.S. – because the Trump administration this year announced it was ending TPS for more than 300,000 people from four countries: Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Sudan.

“The Trump administration did not count on this level of resistance," said Marleine Bastien, head of the Haitian-American NGO Family Action Network Movement(FAMN) at a press conference with the Alliance visitors. "We’re gonna stand by you; we’re gonna organize, because families belong together.”

That resistance includes a lawsuit to block TPS termination –  and a federal judge this month did order the administration to hold off. The bus tour, now heading to Washington D.C., hopes to get Congress to grant TPS recipients permanent residency.

“With this Journey for Justice campaign, we’re going out to every community, every Congress office, knocking on doors, to fight for a permanent solution," said William Martinez, a Salvadoran TPS holder who lives in California and is taking part in the tour.

Bills in fact are pending in Congress to let TPS holders apply for permanent residency.

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Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. He has reported on Latin America for almost 30 years - for Newsweek as its Mexico City bureau chief from 1990 to 1996, and for Time as its Latin America bureau chief in Mexico and Miami (where he also covered Florida and the U.S. Southeast) from 1996 to 2013.