April 15, 2020

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Warren, Durbin, and Colleagues Press President Trump to Automatically Extend Work Authorizations for DACA & TPS Recipients

An Estimated 330,000 DACA and TPS Recipients are Essential Workers, Including More Than 50,000 in the Health Care Industry

Text of Letter (PDF)


Boston, MA – United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today joined Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration, along with 36 senators in a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to automatically extend work authorizations for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and other impacted immigrants.


More than 200,000 DACA recipients are working in occupational areas the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identifies as part of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce.” TPS recipients, like DACA recipients, are vital contributors to our economy and health care workforce, with more than 130,000 TPS holders serving as “essential critical infrastructure workers.”


“This simple measure, which is well within your executive authority, will save American lives and avoid further disruptions to our economy,” the senators wrote. “By contrast, going ahead with your Administration’s efforts to deport more than a million DACA and TPS recipients would be needlessly cruel and greatly weaken our nation’s essential workforce.”


An estimated 41,700 DACA recipients and approximately 11,600 TPS recipients work in the health care industry, including physicians and physicians in training, intensive care nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, and health technicians.  Additionally, an estimated 14,900 DACA recipients are teachers, many of whom are distance educating American children during the pandemic.


With U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices closed to the public, and many USCIS services suspended, it is likely that Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for many immigrants will expire. EAD renewals are already backlogged and additional processing delays are inevitable due to COVID-19 disruptions. Additionally, with hundreds of millions of Americans under stay-at-home orders, and hundreds of thousands infected with COVID-19, it will be difficult for many immigrants to collect the required information and submit renewal applications and fees within the required timeframe.


Senator Warren has long been a staunch supporter of DACA and TPS recipients. Last month, she joined Senator Durbin, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Harris in writing to DHS to express grave concern about the Trump Administration’s apparent plans to deport DACA recipients. Senator Warren last year joined a congressional amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the Trump Administration’s attempts to end DACA. She is also a cosponsor of the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and Emergency (SECURE) Act (S. 879), which would allow TPS holders to apply for lawful permanent resident status.


Along with Senators Warren and Durbin, today’s letter is also signed by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kirstin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawai’i), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.).