Amidst Ukraine Conflict, State of the Union a Missed Opportunity to Announce Expanded TPS Protections

March 1, 2022
Elyssa Pachico  | +1 503 347 23 29 | 
Myneilles Negron | +1 703 585 6727 | 


Washington, D.C. — In his first State of the Union address, President Biden emphasized how the U.S. government and allies are taking action to isolate Russia, in light of President Putin’s shocking and reckless invasion of Ukraine. But the president missed an opportunity to announce an urgently-needed designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine, which would protect Ukrainian nationals already living in the U.S. from deportation and would grant them work permits. 


TPS is a humanitarian protection program designed to protect foreign nationals from being deported to countries facing war and natural disasters. In a letter to the Biden administration published on Feb. 25, Alianza Americas, a network of 55 migrant-led organizations in 18 states, joined 176 other advocacy organizations in asking the Biden administration to urgently designate TPS for Ukraine. Alianza Americas also emphasized the need for renewed TPS designations for Central Americans, given how record-breaking hurricanes ravaged the region in 2020, affecting nearly 11 million people and causing an estimated $10 billion in economic damage to Honduras alone. 


“Both Ukrainians and Central Americans need TPS protections so that they can live and work in the U.S. in safety and stability,” said Yanira Arias, national campaigns manager at Alianza Americas and a TPS recipient. “TPS was created to save lives so that families wouldn’t have to fear deportation back to countries suffering from war and catastrophic natural disasters. What’s happening in Ukraine and Central America is exactly the kind of situation that TPS was created for, and Biden needs to use it.” 


Biden also used his State of the Union address to discuss his administration’s actions in addressing the climate crisis. This issue gains new relevance given how oil and gas have long supported Putin’s corrupt and war-mongering government, resulting in his shocking invasion of Ukraine. Should Biden use his executive powers to declare the climate crisis a state of emergency, this would enable the U.S. government to take key steps towards breaking the country’s dependency on fossil fuels. This includes reinstating a ban on crude oil exports and halting federal fossil fuel leasing on public lands. 


“We can’t allow U.S. oil and gas companies to use this moment in time as an excuse to increase gas exports to Europe,” said Melanie Minuche, climate justice organizer at Alianza Americas. “We need bold climate action, and that means the Biden administration declaring the climate crisis a state of emergency, which will help enable the U.S. to break its dependency on fossil fuels.” 



Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America. is Alianza Americas’ digital organizing powerhouse. As the nation’s largest online Latinx organizing group — and the nation’s premier Latinx digital organizing hub — advances social justice with technology, media, and culture.

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