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Calling for Permanent, Not Temporary, Protected Status

Last Wednesday, a group of Harvard affiliates gathered outside University President Drew G. Faust’s office to deliver a petition calling on her to support Temporary Protected Status recipients. TPS grants work permits and other benefits to immigrants from countries deemed temporarily unsafe due to catastrophes, including armed conflict and natural disasters. Over the last few months, the Trump administration has terminated the for program for citizens from countries like El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua, paving the way for many immigrants previously protected by the program to be deported.

We recognize the value of all individuals at Harvard. TPS is an issue that affects the entire country and world. But more locally, we have TPS recipients right here at Harvard. And so just as Faust has shown continuous support for undocumented students, she should show support for TPS recipients as well. Threats to TPS are also threats to student well-being, as Harvard students may have family members who are TPS recipients. These struggles are interconnected, and Faust must take a consistent policy stance on supporting immigrant members of the Harvard community.

Supporting Harvard employees and students affected by TPS will go a long way toward fulfilling the charge of the Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging. Harvard TPS workers have built their entire lives here in America, and in this case, at Harvard. Many workers have lived in this country longer than the U.S.-born students that attend the University, as conflicts in their home countries have raged on for decades. They have children, homes, and jobs here. They too are Harvard, and deserve as much, if not more, support from the University as any other member of this community.

By staying silent, Faust is not showing support for the notion that TPS recipients are as worthy of the same protections as the undocumented students she supports. We reject this silence and ask that Faust show solidarity with all members of Harvard.

Indeed, we recognize the importance of all Harvard affiliates, not solely as workers or students, but as a collective whole, working to protect each other. We see evidence of this in Harvard students' support for the Harvard University Dining Services strike in 2016, as well as some Adams House dining workers’ display of support for BGLTQ students in 2009.

Members of our community are at risk of losing the lives they’ve built in the United States by being sent back to dangerous countries they no longer know. They are forced to make emergency plans to prepare for the real danger of being deported and having their families separated. They prepare for the possibility of losing their jobs as soon as their TPS expires. Their time is running out. Faust has an obligation to Harvard. We urge her to be on the right side of history by following the demands made in the petition.

This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.

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