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Honduran TPS Holder, Mayor Bauters, and Florida Community Leaders Discuss Upcoming Decision Deadline for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) For Honduras

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DHS Decision In Just 3 Days: May 4, 2018

A recording of the release is available here.

On a press call this afternoon, a Honduran TPS holder living in Miami, Mayor Bauters of Emeryville, California, and Florida community leaders discussed the importance of extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the 57,000 Honduran immigrants currently protected under the program. A recording of the release is available here.

Orlando Lopez, Honduran TPS holder living in Miami, said,

“I arrived 20 years ago as a result of Hurricane Mitch. We had to flee due to conditions that were worsened because of the storm. I thank the US for their cooperation and partnership with our country. We work hard and do not have criminal records. I own a home and business with my family and every year I pay my taxes.

“We’ve kept a clean record – they said those with a clean record would be able to stay here and that is obviously no longer the case. I am very worried, along with 57,000 other Hondurans. Not only would there be chaos caused here by this decision, but there would be an even worse burden placed on my country which is not able to receive us. I am also worried about speaking out in public; there have been many others who have faced retaliation. For the first time since being here, I feel like I have rights and all of that progress is seeming like it will be for naught.”

Mayor Bauters of Emeryville, California, said,

“Immigration is an important topic in my community. The many Honduran immigrants that work in our community help drive the local economy of the Bay Area. They’ve been working here for a while – since 1998 after Hurricane Mitch. Hopefully Trump will realize that his decision affects a lot of families and urban communities. Immigrants add to our local economy by working. Removing these residents from our communities would only serve to destabilize local economies across the nation.

“The US Chamber of Commerce has opposed the termination of TPS in part for economic reasons. 57,000 Hondurans would vanish from our communities. These are the people who are working and required to pass background checks every 18 months. Honduras certainly cannot accept all these people coming back at this time and it would be embarrassing and demoralizing for us to send so many people back to a country that is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. Strangers, families, and friends would have to piece together their lives after this decision is made. We believe the president should think critically what the impact of this decision will mean for communities across our country. There isn’t anything worse we could do right now than to remove a massive amount of people who are integral to the American economy and whose family ties and lives are connected primarily to the United States.

Indira Morales, Organizacion Hondureña Francisco Morazan, said,

“This week is very important because the government must issue a final decision for Honduran TPS before May 4th. Our organization has been working hard for positive results. On April 11th, we traveled to the White House to peacefully ask President Trump for an 18-month extension for Hondurans with TPS. We lobbied members of Congress and called for legislation for a path to citizenship for Central American immigrant communities and also for people of Haiti protected under TPS.

“We are positive; we are hopeful that this decision will be positive. It is well-known that many Hondurans under TPS have lived the majority of their lifetimes in the US. Immigrants pay taxes and work. They have children born here. Many people protected under TPS contribute to the economy, as we’ve heard and as in the case of Orlando, who has a transportation company. We know these TPS countries lack necessary conditions to re-absorb large groups of people. We are hopeful this decision will be a positive one.”

Patricia Montes, Centro Presente, said,

“56% of the total population of people in Honduras are living in extreme poverty. Living in extreme poverty, as defined by the UN, means to live on a dollar per day. Obviously, Honduras is a country that is not ready to re-absorb people with TPS. 80% of members of the Caravan – a group of migrants from Central America – are from Honduras. It is important for us to ask for an 18-month extension of TPS.”