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ICYMI: As One Year Anniversary of Hurricanes Approaches, CAP Report Highlights Stabilizing Impact of Remittances Through TPS in Northern Triangle Region

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Remittances “instrumental” in lifting families out of poverty, contributing to GDP

A report from the Center for American Progress emphasizes the critical need for new Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for Central American countries devastated by the compounding impact of natural disasters, economic instability, food and water insecurity, and the COVID-19 pandemic. As we mark the anniversary of these crippling storms next week, it is important to remember how TPS can be deployed strategically as a policy to reduce migration pressures and stabilize the region. 

Granting new TPS designations in the northern triangle will expand eligibility for work authorization and allow more people who are already living in the U.S. to send money home to their family through remittances. TPS provides stability for families living in communities here in the U.S. through protection from deportation, and humanitarian relief for Central American countries still recovering from twin hurricanes Eta and Iota almost exactly one year ago. Now is the time for the Biden Administration to use their statutory authority and grant new TPS designations as part of an overall regional stabilization strategy, expanding opportunity for effective, direct humanitarian relief through remittances.

The report is excerpted below and can be read in full here: 

I’ve been sending my mom money since I arrived in this country 20 years ago,” said Jesus Perlera, from El Salvador, in an interview with The New York Times, adding that he will not stop helping his mother and disabled brother even if his earnings fall.

…Remittances, or money immigrants send to their families back home, can be instrumental in lifting their families out of poverty; spurring investment in education, health care, entrepreneurial activities; and even affecting their decision to migrate. Research shows that remittances play a significant role in Latin American countries.

…Remittances make up anywhere from 14 to 24 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in countries such as Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador—also known as the Northern Triangle of Central America—with most remittances coming from individuals in the United States.3 Furthermore, remittances to Latin American countries are substantially larger than foreign aid and go directly to people, allowing them to spend on what they need most.4 It is no surprise, then, that remittances serve as a lifeline for many families in the region who have come to rely on this source of income to pay for basic needs, ranging from food and medicine to education and health care.

…In 2020, the devastation caused by twin hurricanes Eta and Iota in some Central American countries met the statutory requirements for granting TPS. In December of that year, the Center for American Progress called on the incoming Biden administration to exercise its authority to designate, or redesignate, TPS for the affected countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. However, the administration has yet to act on this issue.

…It is not a novel strategy to grant TPS to help improve living conditions and boost economic situations in affected countries. When designating Haiti for TPS after the 2010 earthquake, the United States acknowledged that it had sought to “leverage the power of remittances in enabling economic growth in Haiti.