In a letter delivered to the administration on April 27, 2018, 122 faith-based organizations and 518 faith leaders from across traditions stand united in calling on the Department of Homeland Security to protect nearly 60,000 Honduran Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and their families, including 53,000 U.S. citizen children. The administration must decide by May 6, 2018 whether to extend or terminate TPS for Honduras.
The letter, rooted in both legal and moral principles says, “As people of faith, we are called to provide hospitality and protect those who are in need of safety. These same values have been confirmed and codified through international agreements and in U.S. law, which recognizes that people have a right to seek safety from dangerous conditions that threaten their lives. Such life-threatening conditions are present in Honduras today and would pose a serious risk to the health and safety of Honduran TPS holders if they were to be returned.”
Members of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition who led the petition have issued the following statements in support of an 18 month extension of TPS for Honduras:
“TPS holders are members of our communities and congregations whose home countries have been devastated by disaster or instability,” said CWS President and CEO Reverend John L. McCullough. “Rescinding TPS designations for Honduras –despite the fact that there have been no significant improvement in the conditions in the country–would signal that this administration doesn’t take its commitments seriously and is prioritizing anti-immigrant sentiment over an honest assessment of conditions in each country. Deporting TPS holders means deporting the parents of American citizens, separating families, and sending people to danger. We call on the administration to extend TPS designation for Honduras for at least another 18 months.”
“The Sisters of Mercy unequivocally support the renewal of TPS for Honduran nationals, many of whom have been in the U.S. for 20 years, raising families and creating vibrant communities,” said Sister Patricia McDermott, RSM, President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. “It would be immoral and unconscionable to return people to a country that is wracked by endemic violence and poverty, conditions created in large part by decades of U.S. policies and intervention. Given the political instability in Honduras and the lack of government resources available for the long-term integration of those returning, they will have no choice but to again attempt migrating to the North. Mandatory repatriation would have devastating effects on communities in both Honduras and the United States, cause the separation of families, and put countless lives at risk.”
“Honduras is unable to adequately handle the return of nearly 60,000 TPS holders and their families at this time,” says Jeanne Atkinson, CLINIC’s executive director. “Hurricane Mitch, which struck Honduras in 1999 and prompted the original TPS designation, was one of the most catastrophic hurricanes ever recorded. Recovery from a storm of that size is a massive and complex undertaking, as the United States well understands from Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey and Irma. Honduras continues to face a lack of adequate housing, vital public and private infrastructure, food and water security, and more. Under the law, these factors, as well as the pervasive and shocking homicide rate and gang violence that plagues the country, must all be carefully weighed in the determination. The conclusion under the law is clear: TPS for Honduras must be extended for at least another 18 months.”
“Lutherans are blessed with the gifts that Hondurans bring to our communities throughout the United States and in Central America” said Mary Campbell, Program Director for the AMMPARO at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). “Thanks to the programs we accompany in Honduras, we know that the vast majority of Hondurans that are deported have little to no long-term support despite returning to unsafe conditions, and facing trauma and stigma. Ending TPS would create a crisis in the face of an already challenging landscape in Honduras.”