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A recording of the press call is available here.
Following Chief of Staff John Kelly and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s comments surrounding Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as well as Donald Trump’s decision to ignore embassy cables that advised against deported over 300,000 TPS holders, Sam Amaya, a DACA-recipient and the son of El Salvadoran TPS-holders, and immigration policy experts gathered on a press call to respond to these events. A recording of the press call is available here.
Sam Amaya, DACA Recipient and child of El Salvadoran TPS-holders, said:
I was born in El Salvador, and I was brought to this country at the age of 4. Now, I will graduate high school in June, which is one of the biggest goals in my life. My family has always been my biggest support system. But now, the government’s decision to end DACA and TPS is putting that all at risk and threatening my family’s well being. TPS allowed my parents to simply work and drive legally to support our family. It is deeply disturbing that the threat of deportation is now becoming a reality. If we are deported back to El Salvador, we would be in immediate danger, and all of my personal opportunities would be destroyed. There is so much that I hope to do in the United States – a career and building my own family. This decision on TPS threatens it all.
Royce Murray, Policy Director at the American Immigration Council, said:
Over the past nine months, the administration has methodically terminated TPS and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for seven countries. All told, this will put over 300,000 people, who have been lawfully living and working in the U.S. for many years, at risk of deportation. Our laws require that decisions to extend or terminate TPS – a program designed to protect people from being deported to dangerous conflicts or environmental disasters – must be made on the merits, based on an honest assessment of country conditions. Recent revelations that the administration terminated TPS for El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti, despite very explicit warnings from experts on the ground, make clear that there was an agenda at play. We cannot play games with the lives of real people and must now look for solutions that provide long-time TPS holders with a sense of permanency.
Jill Bussey, Director of Advocacy at Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., said:
Under the law, the Administration, and the Secretary, are required to carefully consider the conditions of a country and consult with its leaders when designating it for TPS, or extending its designation. The Administration has claimed they are following the law on TPS, but Congress is now investigating its decisions. Leaders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti, as well as a policy experts, have made strong and factual arguments to highlight the unwise decision to cancel TPS for these countries. For Haiti, a country reeling from natural disasters and a horrific cholera epidemic, it will be impossible for them to take care of the thousands of TPS holders returning. For El Salvador, an earthquake which affected 1.5 million people has led to a lack of critical infrastructure and gang violence which would make TPS holders forced to return as targets for extortion. For Hondurans, who have lived here for nearly 2 decades, the end of TPS means we would force TPS holders to return to a country suffering from a housing crisis, hunger, and a lack of safe drinking water. The end of TPS for these countries means Americans will lose contributing members of our society, who are integrated into the fabric of our society, and devastating consequences will follow.
Lynn Tramonte, Deportation Defense Coordinator at America’s Voice Education Fund, said:
The administration’s ‘handling of TPS,’ is better characterized as a mishandling, as it’s been rife with controversy. The American people do not want to see individuals who have lived here for decades and built lives here deported to countries that are no longer home. These are our family members, neighbors, co-workers, and friends. They are part of the fabric of our society. Yes, Congress needs to pass a legislative solution, but it’s unconscionable to ignore the advice of regional experts and cancel TPS in a vacuum.