Congress Should Oppose the Inhumane and Unwise Move
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a legal status, granted by the Department of Homeland Security, that offers undocumented migrants a stay of deportation and work authorization in the face of circumstances in their home countries that would make it difficult for the country to re-absorb them, if they were returned. Currently there are some 320,000 TPS holders from 10 different countries; the vast majority are from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti.
Salvadoran migrants who were here when a devastating earthquake hit in 2001 have had their TPS status repeatedly renewed because of the difficulties that the country would have in re-absorbing them. Hondurans here since Hurricane Mitch hit in 1998 have had their status similarly renewed. And Haitians who were here when the 2010 earthquake hit have had their status renewed because of the island’s political and economic difficulties.
However, the Trump administration is considering not renewing the TPS designation when it expires next year for Salvadorans, Hondurans and all other TPS recipients (and has already told Haitians that they will likely lose their legal status in six months).
Last month, twenty-six members of the Senate, led by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), wrote a letter urging Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and then- former Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly, to extend TPS for all nationals currently residing in the United States.
Currently, there is a letter circulating in the House of Representatives by Jim McGovern (D-MA), Norma Torres (D-CA), Randy Hultgren (R-IL) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) with almost 90 signatories urging the Secretary of Homeland Security to renew TPS specifically for Hondurans and Salvadorans. In their letter, Members of Congress stress the historical renewal of TPS for citizens of El Salvador and Honduras by both political parties, as well as the urgent country conditions that would make returning these individuals and families a dangerous and consequential mistake.
There is good reason to renew TPS and both Democrats and Republicans in Congress should be urged to support its renewal.