Princeton, Harvard presidents urge Congressional leaders to continue protection for immigrants from 6 countries

Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber and Harvard President Drew Faust on Thursday urged leaders of the House and Senate judiciary committees to provide legal status for people from six countries currently living in the United States under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The federal government has announced the termination of the TPS program for people from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan.

"Unless Congress acts, hundreds of thousands of TPS recipients, including many who contribute as employees at our institutions, will soon lose their ability to work legally in the U.S. and will become subject to deportation," Eisgruber and Faust said.

The TPS program was established to provide refuge for citizens from countries where natural disaster or conflict has made life unsafe.  In February, Eisgruber wrote a letter to top leaders in Congress urging them to protect residents of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan after the government announced its intent to remove their protected status. In the past month, the government added residents from Honduras and Nepal to the list of foreign nationals to lose TPS.

"The recipients of this program have put this refuge to good use — they have joined the workforce, bought homes, started families, and become productive members of their communities, including on our campuses," Eisgruber and Faust wrote. "Several dozen of these individuals work across multiple departments at our universities and are highly valued and productive colleagues. They are also the family members, friends and neighbors of our students, faculty and staff."

The  letter was sent to Charles Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, respectively the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and to Bob Goodlatte and Gerald Nadler, the chairman and ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee.

This is the latest of several statements and appeals that Eisgruber has issued to Congress and President Trump urging fair treatment of immigrants, including beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and those affected by Trump administration executive orders banning travel to the U.S. from certain Muslim-majority countries. In December, Eisgruber joined other college and university presidents and chancellors in becoming a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration.