Last Friday, Save TPS Now! (¡Salvemos TPS Ahora!) conference participants and allies met with members of Congress and held a vigil in front of the White House to advocate for the renewal of their Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS allows the Department of Homeland Security to welcome citizens of other nations if their country of origin has become a place where living with human dignity is difficult or impossible due to conflict or natural disaster. The Department of Homeland Security has the authority to extend TPS indefinitely in increments of up to 18 months and affords participants the opportunity to remain legally in the United States with a work visa.
Currently, there are over 300,000 beneficiaries of TPS living in the United States, the majority from our neighbors in Central America and Haiti. TPS was granted to survivors of Hurricane Mitch who fled Nicaragua and Honduras and to survivors of devastating earthquakes in Haiti and El Salvador, provided they made their way to the United States and have remained here continuously since a specified date.
At the Quixote Center, we believe that the current administration should continue to stand with these migrants who have suffered grave harm in their homelands by renewing their TPS status for the full period of 18 months allowed under current law.
Because the situations in their countries of origin remain fragile and their lives are well established in the US, it is inhumane to insist that they leave the US. The case with Haiti is especially complicated by the fact that Haiti suffered the effects of Hurricane Matthew last year. Despite these dire circumstances, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly only agreed to extend Haiti’s current TPS for only 6 months. In threatening to end the TPS status of families and individuals who have lived in the US for many years, Secretary Kelly is targeting people who would be returning to situations that are little improved today over the situations they fled in the past. Indeed, their return would in many cases strain an already heavily taxed system and could result in just the sort of humanitarian crisis that TPS was designed to address.
We will keep you up to date on this topic as it develops, particularly when there are opportunities to take coordinated action in solidarity with our neighbors in need.