Thousands of people in the United States may be forced from the country. Through the Department of Homeland Security, hundreds of thousands of people in the United States live, work, and recover from natural disasters and civil wars in their home countries under Temporary Protected Status. These countries include Honduras, Haiti, and El Salvador to name a few. Now, according to NBC News, that protection may be coming to an end under the Trump administration.
“These are folks that have been in this country for years,” said Armando Carmona, the spokesperson for the National TPS Alliance. “They work here, they’ve built families here, they have U.S. citizen children.”
Those who are currently living in the United States are granted TPS by the Department of Homeland Security when they are unable to return home due to environmental or political disasters. A person’s TPS can be renewed multiple times depending on the status of their country of origin.
The Department of Homeland Security’s announcement to extend or let lapse the TPS expiration date is November 6. The expiration dates for those under temporary protection vary according to their country of origin. However, should the DHS decision be to end protections, those from Honduras and Nicaragua may be forced to relocate as soon as January 5, 2018.
On Monday, October 23, hundreds of people with TPS demonstrated outside the DHS office in Washington, D.C. while meeting with congressional members. The National TPS Alliance, the leading TPS advocacy group, has been urging Congress members to pass legislation allowing those living under TPS to have permanent legal status.
Hundreds of thousands of those living under temporary protections have lived and worked in the U.S. long enough that to abruptly displace these people would be to abruptly displace the economy. According to a report from the liberal Center for American Progress on October 20, the termination of people living under temporary protection status from Haiti, El Salvador, and Honduras could cost the U.S. an estimated total of $164 billion in gross domestic product over the course of the next 10 years.
“Immigrants who hold TPS are deeply embedded, longtime members of their communities,” said CAP senior immigration policy analyst, Nicole Svajlenka. “They are homeowners and parents to U.S. citizens, they contribute to the economy, and they provide critical financial support to assist recovery and stability in their home countries.”
The Center for Migration Research at Kansas University released a study in April 2017 that found those with TPS were employed at higher rates in comparison to the national average, especially in areas such as Miami, Washington, and Los Angeles. Many of those working under temporary protection make up the labor force in restaurant services, construction, child care, and landscaping. The American landscaping industry was estimated to have recovered and reached $80.06 billion by 2015.
However, despite studies and letters to the DHS from 20 senator advocates regarding the benefits of extended protection status, NBC News reports the likelihood of DHS extending TPS is slim.
“We are looking at the fact that temporary protected status means temporary,” said David Lapan, the spokesperson for DHS, “and it has not been temporary for many years. We, the U.S. government, have created a situation where people have lived in this country a long time.”