On March 1, HIRC submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Sanchez v. Mayorkas in support of Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) recipients from the Harvard community. “The purpose of the brief was to give a voice to the many TPS recipients at Harvard, who are integral members of our community and deserve a safe, quick, and accessible path to permanent residency,” said Clinical Instructor Sameer Ahmed. He supervised Immigration & Refugee Advocacy Clinic students Alev Erhan ’21 and Beshoy Shokralla ’22, who drafted the brief.
The brief highlights the stories of six TPS recipients from the Harvard community: Julio Perez, Doris Landaverde, Julia Rivas, Jose Bonilla, Marvin Carranza, and Jose Portillo. Each individual is a valued employee at Harvard, and many of them have resided in the United States for decades. Still, they live in limbo, as TPS does not offer them permanent legal status. “The reality that hard working TPS recipients must pay significant sums to re-apply for their ability to continue living and working legally really underscored for us why it is so important for these individuals to have access to permanent residency,” said Erhan.
The brief also describes how monumental a pathway to U.S. citizenship would be for TPS recipients. All of the six Harvard workers discussed in the brief mentioned many milestones that they hope to reach if they were given permanent status, such as purchasing a home and opening a new business. “It was truly inspiring listening to their stories,” said Shokralla. “And we hope that by expressing their stories through this brief, their stories will inspire real change.”
Living without permanent status has caused many TPS recipients stress and anxiety, especially because the Trump Administration had attempted to end TPS. Yet, the members of the Harvard TPS Coalition still expressed hope for the future. “This is our country. This is our home,” Julio Perez states in the brief. “What we have is the privilege to live in a democracy that allows us to defend ourselves. And that’s what I’m fighting for, and that is our dream, to achieve permanent status.”