TPS Holders Deserve Permanent Protection – UndocuBlack Member Lys Speaks Out

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Lys Isma is a graduate student at the University of Miami and has lived in the United States for 26 years. Her dream is to finish graduate school and graduate with Ph.D. to further pursue her academic tenure in professorship.

As a woman at the intersection of being Black and undocumented, she has to navigate different worlds and thrive against the anti-Blackness that exists in and beyond immigrant and immigration spaces. 

“There are several grants that I am ineligible for because of the lack of residency. Throughout my undergraduate degree I was ineligible for financial aid and that made finishing school difficult. I would love to be able to research and study anywhere, but traveling is nearly impossible.” says Lys sharing the challenges and curveballs she faced while pursuing her education which she is passionate about. 

Although the issuance of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti has allowed her to work through her undergraduate degree, as the name suggests it the protection is temporary and strains life in a bracket of expiration dates.

“Humans aren’t temporary. It is so hard to live life in increments of 18 months at a time with the uncertainty of whether a Re-designation will even happen hanging over your head. Permanent residence would allow me to be competitive for long term jobs and I would be able to complete research anywhere in the world. I would be able to purchase a home and not have to live in fear of separation from my family.”

Most people don’t know that TPS holders have permanent ties to the U.S. fostering families, homes and a community. 

Laws that recognize the value and struggles of Black immigrants are long overdue and that pathway to citizenship for the hardworking families and individuals who have supported this country through their economic and social contributions is a must, because 18 months is not enough. 

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