TPS Families Look to Pope as They Grapple with Possible Family Separation and Return to Violent Conditions
In an new piece for the Las Vegas Review Journal, reporter Meghin Delaney lifts up the voice of Alessandra Granados, after Granados visited with Pope Francis and plead with him to help her family after the Trump administration terminated Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for hundreds of thousands of TPS holders and their U.S. citizen children.
Excerpts of the article are below and is available in full here.
Alessandra Nava Granados is focused on the present and hoping to avoid a future where she — at age 15 — becomes responsible for the mortgage on her mother’s Las Vegas Valley home and the full-time care of her two younger sisters.
But if her mother’s temporary protected status (TPS) isn’t extended by the Trump administration, the Coronado High School sophomore would either have to shoulder such adult responsibilities or move with her mother to El Salvador, a country she has never even visited.
… With that eventuality hanging over her, Alessandra recently joined a group of 11 children of parents with TPS status to appeal to a higher moral power — Pope Francis — in an attempt to enlist the pontiff in their cause.
… The group hoped to persuade the pope to raise awareness about their plight and possibly encourage activism to prevent their families from being torn apart.
She said the pontiff responded warmly, telling the group that an immigrant right is a human right.
But he didn’t say much else on the topic, and Alessandra said she came away uncertain whether he would champion their cause.
“It showed me he wasn’t for or against,” she said, sitting on a couch in her home in the east valley beneath a portrait taken at her quinceañera in April.
… When Donald Trump was elected president, [Sandra] Granados grew worried about her status and the fate of her three children. She always knew her status was temporary — it’s in the program name, after all — but she had always hoped that the U.S. would eventually provide a pathway to permanent residency or even citizenship.
But the Trump administration announced in January its intent to cancel TPS status for citizens of Sudan, Haiti, El Salvador and Nicaragua at various points, saying conditions in those countries have stabilized enough that people can return. The end dates differ for each country, but TPS holders from El Salvador were given until Sept. 9, 2019, to leave the U.S.
Taking the program away now is not fair to these people, many of whom have now lived in the U.S. for decades and built new lives here, advocates say.
… In March, a class-action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California challenging the revocation of TPS status for residents of the four countries. Earlier this month, a judge issued an injunction that will allow TPS recipients from the four countries to stay while the lawsuit moves through the courts.
Sandra Granados says the threat of deportation and being separated from her children has stirred her to activism.
… “I’m going to fight to the end, and we’re not going back,” she said.