FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 6, 2017
CONTACT: Erin Williams, Communications Manager, 202-748-0699
*Updated November 7, 2017
Faith Leaders: Ending TPS Will Shatter The Economy, Disrupt The Lives Of More Than 300,000 Individuals, and Further Disrupt Recovery In Central America and Haiti
WASHINGTON – On Friday, November 3, The Washington Post reported that the State Department formally recommended that the Trump administration terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for nearly 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians. Eddie Carmona, director of PICO National Network’s LA RED immigrant justice campaign issued the following statement in response:
“While it is clear that TPS protection was meant to provide refuge for people of color in Honduras, Nicaragua and Haiti, their homelands have yet to reach a place of safety or economic prosperity which would make their return feasible. This is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to dehumanize immigrants and communities of color, particularly when they are in their greatest need. To demand that more than 300,000 individuals return to their former countries when those countries are profoundly unsafe and underdeveloped economically is inhumane.
Moreover, in the two decades that TPS has been in effect, those protected under ‘temporary’ status have established their lives and served as pillars of their community and providers for their families. After years of their countries being decimated by natural disasters and U.S. involvement in racist international policies like the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), living conditions in the targeted countries are dangerous at best. Additionally, U.S. involvement in trade policies decimated local economies, specifically in the agricultural sector, and created unstable living conditions.
On November 6, the Department of Homeland Security decided to end TPS status for Nicaraguans, and was unable to commit to guarantee protection for Honduran TPS recipients beyond July 2018. As faith leaders, we denounce the decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans and urge the Administration to reconsider their decision, as it will have devastating impacts on hundreds of thousands of families as well as the American economy. The next major TPS decision affects status of Haitians and will be announced in just a few weeks. We are calling on DHS extend TPS for Haitians an additional 18 months, in the wake of recent hurricanes that have ravaged Haiti and the Caribbean.We also urge the Administration to examine the dire country conditions in Honduras and extend TPS beyond the automatic six-month extension.
Natural disasters had a devastating impact on Haiti. At least 50,000 TPS recipients will find out in less than three weeks what their future will be after being displaced by a devastating 2010 earthquake. Additionally, if the 250,000 TPS recipients currently employed were to be suddenly deported, it would cost employers nearly $1 billion in immediate turnover costs. It would also cost the U.S. an estimated $164 billion in Gross Domestic Product, which partly explains why the US Chamber of Commerce opposes the decision.
People of faith are calling on the Department of Homeland Security to protect the most vulnerable of our communities by extending TPS for Honduras, Nicaragua, and Haiti. Congress must create a pathway for TPS holders to become permanent residents.
We applaud Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez for her principled stance on the issue by introducing the American Promise Act, legislation that would allow TPS holders to stay in the U.S., create a pathway to citizenship, and promote accountability in the executive branch by demanding a clear, rational answer as to why an individual would lose their TPS status.
We will continue to fight for our sisters and brothers who currently have TPS. Communities of faith will not stand by as this administration continues utilizing the weapons of white supremacy to enact inhumane policies of exclusion. Immigrants of color are made in God’s image just like the rest of us, and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”
PICO National Network is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 60 local and state federations. PICO and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation. Learn more at www.piconetwork.org.