WASHINGTON (WJZ) — A group of more than 20 Senate Democrats, including Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, have reintroduced legislation designed to allow some immigrants with temporary protected status to apply for legal permanent residency.

The SECURE Act would, according to the lawmakers, allow those who have fled armed conflict or other events to apply to become legal permanent residents. They said around 411,000 people from 10 countries from Central America, Asia, the Caribbean, northern Africa and the Middle East would qualify.

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“We believe in keeping families together,” Cardin said. “The SECURE Act will make sure we keep families together. It will make sure that we have predictability.”

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According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a person has to meet a number of criteria to qualify for TPS, including being continuously physically present in the U.S. “since the effective date of the most recent designation of (their) country.” They also cannot have been convicted of a felony or two or more misdemeanors, in addition to other requirements.

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CBS Baltimore Staff