Terminating TPS will Force Families to Make Desperate Decisions
Kristen Torres (Former Staff)
Today the Trump Administration ended the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for almost 200,000 Salvadorans who were granted protections from deportation when multiple earthquakes shook El Salvador and displaced more than one million people in 2001. The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement to lawmakers informing them that recipients would have until September 9, 2019 to either leave the country or find a new way to obtain residency.
There are approximately 325,000 TPS beneficiaries currently living in the United States. The highest number of recipients are from El Salvador.
Because the conditions that warranted this TPS designation have continued to persist in countries such as El Salvador, many beneficiaries have resided legally in the United States for more than two decades. They have established lives, have U.S. born children, have mortgages, participate in the workforce, and contribute to the national economy.
According to the Center for American Progress more than one third of TPS recipients are homeowners and will contribute $164 billion dollars to the United States GDP over the next decade.
Collectively, TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti have over 273,200 US-born children. Without a protected immigration status, these families will be forced to make desperate decisions. Families that choose to return to El Salvador will be faced with few job opportunities due to conditions of extreme poverty. Additionally, parents must contemplate returning to a country with their children at a time when there is a mass exodus of children and young people fleeing gang violence. Other families may choose to stay in the U.S. and risk working without legal authorization. This means that after decades of providing for their families they will be forced to look over their shoulders and fear separation from their loved ones on a daily basis.
The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador will be devastating for hundreds of thousands of families and children. There is no pathway to citizenship for TPS holders. Congress must recognize that these mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons deserve a place to call home and to live free from fear.
Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD.), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD.) and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) sponsored the SECURE Act to protect TPS recipients. In a press conference, they were joined by allies MomsRising, CASA, and UndocuBlack to urge lawmakers to work toward a solution that will provide a pathway for hundreds of thousands of families to stay together in the U.S. Senator Feinstein stated, “Our bill would provide a path to citizenship for those who have been living, working and raising U.S. citizen children in the United States for two decades. These individuals have established deep roots in their communities. It would be cruel and inhumane to separate these families.”
Similarly, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) introduced the ESPERER Act, a bipartisan bill that aims to adjust the status of certain TPS holders living in the United States. Rep. Curbelo stated, “While hoping and waiting they would be able to return to their native countries for years, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Honduran and Haitian immigrants have become essential parts of the South Florida community by contributing to our local economy and our culture.” He also stated that short term extensions and fixes have only furthered the anxiety and uncertainty felt by immigrants, and he called on Congress to come up with a permanent solution.
In 2017 the administration ended TPS for Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan and Honduras.
View our TPS Fact Sheet here.