The Impact of Temporary Protected Status Workshops on New Immigrants Lives

Each month throughout 2024, dedicated Catholic Charities immigration staff and volunteers are gathering to assist newcomers to Colorado navigate the complexities of the immigration system.

Immigration to the United States is challenging and confusing. Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a program that allows new immigrants whose home countries are considered unsafe/dangerous, the right to live and work in the United States for a temporary period of time. While it does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status, it does allow people to work legally, which is critical to affording the high costs of living in our state. To help individuals and families navigate the process, our Catholic Charities Immigration team has landed on concrete solutions to make the process easier and faster.

The participants in these Catholic Charities’ workshops are individuals who have sought refuge in the United States, driven by the desire to provide a better future for their families because of   chaos of their home countries – whether that be a war, an economic collapse or another qualifying massive disaster.

“They come here wanting to support their families; however, they are facing difficulties because new immigrants can’t work lawfully. As our shelters fill up with newcomers, it’s critical we find ways to get folks on their feet and provide for their families. Thanks to our TPS workshops, there’s at least some hope to retain a work permit,” said Tracy Harper, an attorney with Catholic Charities Immigration services.

“What this Catholic Charities TPS Workshop is doing is working with the State of Colorado and the City of Denver to get as many eligible new immigrants as possible work permits so they can move out of the shelters, send their kids to school and start to have more stability,” said Tracy.

She also emphasizes the collaborative effort. “We rely on so many volunteers for this event, from volunteer attorneys to translators. It’s quite a big effort.”

Michael Seely

Among these volunteers is Michael Seely, an English/Spanish translator whose firsthand experience as an immigrant abroad drives his commitment to help others.

Being an English/Spanish translator for these workshops has been incredibly fulfilling. “I know firsthand the challenges of starting anew in a foreign land, and it’s an honor to assist others in overcoming language barriers and navigating the intricate process of gaining Temporary Protected Status and work permits.”

Catholic Charities also offers new immigrants more than these TPS workshops. There is a range of services, including English as a Second Language (ESL) and citizenship classes, all free of charge at Samaritan House. One participant in the recent TPS workshop from Venezuela expressed her gratitude.

“I can’t thank you enough for helping me through this intricate process. Your support has been like a guiding light through the maze of paperwork.”

The journey of new immigrants seeking to support their families in the United States is filled with political and legal challenges. Our Catholic Charities immigration team is offering a beacon of hope, helping individuals from crisis-ridden countries with a temporary/short-term protection status from deportation, the right to lawfully work and the chance to build themselves up and out of the shelters.