tags: , , AVEF, Press Releases

Faith Voices and Religious Leaders Make Plea to Protect Temporary Protected Status (TPS) As Deportation Deadline Approaches

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320,000 Face Imminent Revocation and Deportation By Trump Administration
A recording of today’s call is available here.

11/6/17 Decision deadline for 59,550 Hondurans and Nicaraguans: 5 DAYS
11/23/17 Decision deadline for 50,000 Haitians: 22 DAYS
01/08/18 Decision deadline for 195,000 Salvadorans: 68 DAYS

On a press call today, religious leaders convened to discuss the importance and moral implications of protecting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 300,000 immigrants in this country, and called on the Administration to extend the program.

This call comes at a time when nearly 60,000 Hondurans and Nicaraguans could learn they will be deported in five days or less, if the Administration moves ahead with the revocation of TPS.  This is a program that has offered protection and stability to people who have come to call the United States home — some for over two decades.

The countries from which TPS recipients hail are simply in no condition to re-accept nationals; not to mention, failing to extend TPS would needlessly tear families and communities apart.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami, said:

In South Florida, we have many beneficiaries of TPS living in our communities and going to our Churches. If TPS is not protected, there would be a disruption in these families and in our communities: children could be separated from their parents and loved ones. Our society benefits from family unity and coherence. Failing to protect TPS would destabilize families and communities.

In September, I participated in a backpacking trip to Haiti, where we found that the conditions in Haiti render the country unable to absorb a significant number of returnees from the United States.  I understand very well, then, the reasons Haitians have come here seeking opportunity and freedom.  Rather than revoking TPS status and sending people back to dangerous conditions, we really have to look for the right and humane thing to do which would be to extend TPS status and support a permanent solution in Congress.

Rabbi Elizabeth Richman, Deputy Director and Rabbi in Residence, Jews United For Justice, said:

My religious tradition — and really, I think, most religious traditions — is clear that immigrants and TPS holders, like all of us, are human beings who are created in the image of God, b’tzelem elohim as the Bible puts it. They deserve, like all of us, to live in safe, dignified conditions.  Threatening to terminate TPS and send moms, dads, and young children back to violent, unstable conditions in their home countries is morally wrong.  For 30 years Congress has failed to create a permanent solution for families in limbo. An extension of TPS is an important start in building an immigration system that serves our economic needs, honors our humanitarian responsibilities, and protects those who rely on us for safety and security.

Kevin Appleby, Senior Director of International Migration Policy at Center for Migration Studies, said:

If the Administration proceeds to terminate TPS for Honduras, Nicaragua, and other nations, it would undermine both our domestic and foreign policy interests.  As a Center for Migration Studies’ report shows, TPS beneficiaries are imbedded in the workforce and in US communities, contributing both economically and socially to the nation.  Their inability to work and live without fear would eliminate these contributions as well as the remittances upon which their home countries depend.  It would be a lose-lose decision.

Beatriz Lopez, Founder, 4RCE Initiatives, said:

In just five days, nearly 60,000 Nicaraguans and Hondurans who have Temporary Protected Status may learn they will be deported.  In every effort to stop this from happening, broad coalitions, stakeholders, business owners, faith leaders, advocacy community folks, and TPS recipients themselves have organized in full force and are leaving no stone unturned.  These groups and advocates are doing everything possible to ensure there is a permanent, just solution and that TPS is extended.