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As VP Harris Travels to Honduras, the Administration Should Redesignate TPS As a Core Part of its Regional Strategy

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Start with TPS Redesignations to Advance Greater Economic Stability in Central America

Washington, DC – Vice President Kamala Harris is traveling to Honduras tomorrow for the inauguration of new President Xiomara Castro. As NPR’s “Morning Edition” highlights, “[T]hat Harris is going at all shows this new relationship is very important to the White House … there’s hope in Washington that they’ve found a new willing partner to help tackle the root causes of migration from Central America.”

If the Biden-Harris administration is invested in the success of President Castro and broader regional stability to address the root causes of migration, they should redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduras, as well as for the neighboring countries of El Salvador and Nicaragua, while issuing a new TPS designation for Guatemala.   

Earlier this month, 33 Democratic Senators signed on to a letter urging President Biden to grant TPS designations for four Central American nations. The letter highlighted that the region is still reeling from the impact of devastating 2020 hurricanes Eta and Iota. Led by Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the request noted that TPS redesignations for Central America would “uphold humanitarian protections, safeguard U.S. national security interests, and defend American families.” Additionally, a TPS redesignation would increase remittances and help stabilize and grow the economies in the region. 

The following is a statement from Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:

The Biden administration has an opportunity to continue to undo the mess the Trump administration made in Central America and undertake common sense actions that benefit the region and the U.S. Under Trump, the U.S. cut aid to the region, ended the program that allowed minors to apply for refugee status from their home countries, and dismantled programs to reduce violence, improve economic prospects and make migration decisions a choice rather than a matter of life and death. 

Expanding TPS for Honduras and other Central American countries would protect immigrants already living, working, and paying taxes in the U.S. and should be a core component of a regional approach that integrates effective border management, a fair and efficient asylum process, expanded legal channels, regional cooperation on safe haven and integration and a concerted effort against smuggling. Combined, these would signal a genuine commitment to alleviating the root causes forcing so many Central Americans to flee their countries.

The Biden-Harris administration has an opportunity to change the paradigm and actually get results that lead to greater political and economic stability in the region while helping the U.S. address critical labor shortages and tamp down inflation in our own economy. They have the tools, but the Biden-Harris team needs the will to use their executive authority to deliver important progress that would strengthen our economy and stabilize the region.