The salad bar in the basement of The Dirksen Senate Office Building includes women who are immigrants.
Immigrants like Raquel Guzman who is originally from El Salvador, has worked in the Senate for the last 10 years, scraping by as she and her husband, a janitor at Whole Foods, try to raise four children in suburban Washington. It was reported to Guzman that she will no longer be in the service of the building.
Reportedly, Guzman has been working under temporary protected status, a program that has allowed nearly 200,000 people from El Salvador to remain in the U.S. since 2001, after earthquake shook the land.
The Trump administration, which is supposedly breaking both legal and illegal immigration, announced Jan. 8 that it will end the TPS program for Salvadorans next year, which implies people like Guzman will lose their work.
“I have never asked anything of the government,” said Guzman. “We have just worked the whole time. We’re not doing any harm to anybody.”
According to reports, the Washington area is home to an estimated 32,000 TPS holders from El Salvador ― the largest such concentration in the nation. Low-wage Salvadorans with TPS protections serve members of Congress and White House officials every day.
Maria Fuentes, another TPS recipient from El Salvador who cleans the tables and floors in the Dirksen cafeteria. Fuentes has spent a decade picking up after Senate power brokers. She has two grown children who also have been shielded by TPS and will face deportation.
“The whole time I have worked ― day and night,” Like Guzman, , she said.
Paco Fabian, a spokesman for Good Jobs Nation, says that there are no official statistics on how many Salvadoran workers with TPS status are employed on federal properties in and around Washington, the number is “significant,” which makes the U.S. government on the better side of TPS labor as many a private janitorial company, construction firm or restaurant.
Sources say that Guzman and Fuentes are both members of Good Jobs Nation. The two women said they know other TPS workers inside the Senate buildings as well as at the Supreme Court, just across the street. All of them work for contractors rather than directly for the government.
“If they’re good enough to work in federal buildings, and they’re good enough to serve senators and members of Congress, then they should be good enough to stay in this country,” said Fabian.
Image Source: The Intercept