We must all stand together to save TPS for Haitians and Central Americans

Mattapan demonstration to save TPS, November 5, 2017Haitian TPS holders from the Boston area rally to save the program, which covers more than 4,700 Haitian citizens in Massachusetts. A decision on TPS renewal for Haiti is due on November 23.

Update, November 9, 2017: This article was written before we obtained TPS enrollment data, national and state-specific, from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The official data show much higher TPS numbers than previously reported, including 86,163 nationwide for Hondurans (834 in Mass.) and 5,349 for Nicaraguans (17 in Mass.). For a detailed outline, see our 2-page factsheet.

BOSTON, November 7, 2017 – Yesterday, Elaine Duke, Acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, announced her decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Nicaragua, effective January 5, 2019, and postponed a decision on TPS for Honduras, triggering an automatic six-month extension.

MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona issued the following statement in response:

“We are deeply disappointed by Secretary Duke’s decision to end TPS for Nicaraguans. Although this is a small population, just over 2,500 people, the affected families are well established in the U.S., with homes, jobs and businesses, and children born and raised entirely in the U.S. Forcing them to return to Nicaragua, a very poor country that was hit hard by Tropical Storm Nate, will cause needless suffering in our communities.

“We are also concerned for the well-being of the roughly 57,000 Hondurans whose lives will remain in limbo for six more months.

“That said, the fact that Secretary Duke has chosen to look more closely at Honduras, even after the State Department said conditions there no longer warrant TPS, is a positive sign.

“The reality is that the Northern Triangle of Central America is a violent and deeply troubled region. Doctors Without Borders reports ‘violent displacement, persecution, sexual violence, and forced repatriation’ there that is ‘akin to the conditions found in the deadliest armed conflicts in the world today.’ It would be unconscionable to force parents to choose between taking their children into those conditions, or break up their families.

“This is why we urge Secretary Duke to extend TPS for both Honduras and El Salvador. We feel just as strongly about TPS for Haiti, which is still struggling to recover from multiple disasters.

“We also urge Governor Baker and our Congressional delegation to fight for the thousands of Massachusetts residents who depend on TPS to live and work legally in the U.S. We need your leadership, both to save TPS, and to pass legislation that will allow these longstanding members of our community to qualify for green cards.

“At this critical time, we all need to stand together. Please join our campaign to save TPS!”