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What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)? And How Will it Threaten 300,000 Settled Immigrants?


What is TPS?
11/6 Decision Deadline for 59,550 Hondurans & Nicaraguans: 19 Days
11/23 Decision Deadline for 50,000 Haitians: 36 Days
1/8 Decision Deadline for 195,000 Salvadorans:82 Days

Mortgages TPS Recipients Would Have to Walk Away From: 60,000
Immediate Layoffs of TPS Recipients: 250,000
Employer Costs of Mass Layoffs: $1 Billion
Cost of Mass Deportation to Taxpayers: $3 Billion

The fast approaching deadlines for the Trump Administration to decide whether to renew the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or deport more than 300,000 deeply-rooted Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and Salvadorans is focusing a spotlight on the potential economic mayhem that revoking their status could cause.

The economic disruption could be enormous:

  • There are nearly 250,000 TPS recipients currently employed. (CMS of New York)
  • Mass layoffs of TPS recipients would cost employers approximately $967 million in turnover costs. (ILRC)
  • There are more than 60,000 mortgages held by TPS recipients. (CMS of New York)
  • Deporting all Salvadorans, Hondurans, Haitians and Nicaraguans would cost taxpayers more than $3 billion dollars. (ILRC)
  • The five leading industries that would be hurt are:
    • construction (50,000+)
    • restaurants and other food services (32,000+)
    • landscaping services (15,000+)
    • child day care services (10,000)
    • grocery stores (9,000+) (CMS of New York)

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:

TPS is the biggest immigration, economic and foreign policy issue you’ve never heard of. The forced removal of hundreds of thousands of hardworking, home-owning families could unleash devastating consequences on employers, the housing market and taxpayers. Spending billions of taxpayer dollars on mass deportations would be hugely disruptive to our economy. Ending TPS could result in compelling 60,000 homeowners to walk away from their mortgages. The disruption to the healthcare, hospitality, food services, construction and childcare industries would be extensive. Add to this the impact on fragile home countries if hundreds of thousands are forced to return, and we are facing a series of imminent decisions that will be of huge consequence. The best solution? DHS should extend TPS for those currently holding TPS. This will keep our economy strong, serve our foreign policy interests and recognize the contributions of deeply-rooted immigrants.

Just the Facts: Background on Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

What is TPS?

Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, was established by Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990. TPS is intended to protect foreign nationals in the U.S. from being returned to their home country if it became unsafe during the time they were in the U.S. and would put them at risk of violence, disease, or death. (Catholic Legal Immigration Network)

Who can make a TPS designation? Why?

Under the law, the secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS in three scenarios:

  • Ongoing armed conflict (such as a civil war)
  • An environmental disaster (such as earthquake or hurricane), or an epidemic; or
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevents nationals from the country from safely returning home. (Catholic Legal Immigration Network)

How long is a TPS designation?

The country’s designation can last as little as six months, the minimum, or as long as 18 months, the maximum. (Catholic Legal Immigration Network)

Why is this a pressing issue now?

Sixty days prior to the end of an initial designation or re-designation period, the Secretary of Homeland Security must review the conditions of the foreign country to determine if the unsafe conditions still exist. If conditions continue, the secretary may extend TPS for another six-, 12- or 18-month period. There is no limit on the number of times the secretary may extend TPS, so long as the conditions continue. (Catholic Legal Immigration Network)

Country # of TPS Recipients Expiration Date Decision Date
Honduras 57,000 Jan. 5, 2018 Nov. 6, 2017
Nicaragua 2,550 Jan. 5, 2018 Nov. 6, 2017
Haiti 50,000 Jan. 22, 2018 Nov. 23, 2017
El Salvador 195,000 Mar. 9, 2018 Jan. 8, 2018

Can a TPS designee gain employment?

Yes. If TPS is granted, the applicant receives protection from deportation and work authorization to support themselves while they remain in the U.S. (Catholic Legal Immigration Network)

In fact, 250,000 TPS designees are currently employed mostly in the construction, food services, landscaping, childcare and grocery business. (CMS of New York)

Can a TPS designee get citizenship?

No. By statute, TPS does not provide a path to lawful permanent resident status or citizenship. (Catholic Legal Immigration Network)

Why was Honduras designated for TPS?

Honduras was designated for TPS under President Bill Clinton on Jan. 5, 1999. In Oct. 1998, Honduras was devastated by Hurricane Mitch. With 150 mph winds and days of torrential rain, it was one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in modern history. One-fifth of the Honduran population, 1.4 million people, were left homeless. More than 5,600 people were killed. Two-thirds of Honduras’ roads and bridges were destroyed, as well as the banana, coffee and other agricultural plantations vital to the Honduran economy. The United Nations reported that Hurricane Mitch set Honduras back 20 years, both socially and economically. (Catholic Legal Immigration Network)

Was Honduras’ TPS designation ever extended before?

Yes. In the most recent extension of TPS for Honduras (July 6, 2016 through Jan. 5, 2018), the U.S. government cited that not only Hurricane Mitch, but subsequent natural disasters prevent the safe return of Honduran TPS holders in the U.S.This includes severe climate fluctuations between drought and flooding and the devastating flooding and landslides resulting from Tropical Storm Hanna in 2014. (Catholic Legal Immigration Network)

Why was El Salvador designated for TPS?

El Salvador was designated for TPS under President George W. Bush. El Salvador was struck by a catastrophic 7.6 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 13, 2001, and further devastated by two powerful aftershock earthquakes on Feb. 13,  (5.1 magnitude) and Feb. 17, 2001 (5.6 magnitude). The series of earthquakes resulted in 1,100 deaths and left more than 2,500 people missing. Nearly 8,000 suffered injuries. Seventeen percent of El Salvador’s population (1.3 million people) were displaced by the earthquakes and resulting landslides. The earthquakes caused more than $2.8 billion in damages, including the destruction or damage of 220,000 homes, 1,696 schools and 856 other public buildings. (Catholic Legal Immigration Network)

Was the El Salvador’s TPS designation ever extended before?

Yes. Since 2001, the country has remained unstable for the safe return of Salvadoran TPS holders. In the most recent extension (Sept. 10, 2016 to March 9, 2018), the U.S. government cited the dire conditions brought about by numerous subsequent natural disasters, including hurricanes, tropical storms, flooding, volcanic seismic activity, prolonged drought that caused widespread food and water insecurity, the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, lack of housing and electricity and gang-related insecurity. (Catholic Legal Immigration Network)

Why was Haiti designated for TPS?

Haiti was devastated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. It was the most violent earthquake in the country in 200 years. Much of the capital city of Port-au-Prince was destroyed. One and a half million people were displaced. Within days, DHS granted TPS to eligible Haitians who had been in the U.S. on or before the date of the earthquake. In 2011, eligibility was extended to people who came to the U.S. for humanitarian reasons in the year following the earthquake. (Catholic Legal Immigration Network)

Was Haiti’s TPS designation ever extended before?

Yes. Haitian TPS has continued to be renewed for 18-month increments since the initial designation period (with the exception of the most recent six-month extension), as the country remains unstable and unsafe. In addition to the devastating earthquake of 2010, the country has been struck by two additional catastrophes: a cholera epidemic inadvertently introduced by UN peacekeepers in October 2010 and Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 hurricane which hit in October 2016 and affected 2 million Haitians. (Catholic Legal Immigration Network)