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Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Holders, Their US Citizen Children and Policy Experts Discuss the Next Family Separation Crisis

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A recording of the press call is available here.

Today, TPS holder parents, U.S. citizen children of TPS parents, and policy experts discussed the potentially catastrophic implications if deportations commence as a result of the Trump Administration’s cancellation of Temporary Protected Status from 300,000 legal immigrants who have built their lives in the U.S. If they are deported, TPS holder parents will be forced to decide whether to leave behind 273,000 U.S.-born children. Without a legislative solution, hundreds of thousands of children could be separated from their parents or forced into violent and potentially deadly environments.

Nilson, a U.S. citizen child of Salvadoran TPS holder parents, said, “I am 10 years old. I was born at the Fairfax hospital in Virginia. My mom and dad have TPS, which allows my family to stay together in this country. My family is very important to me. Without TPS and a permanent solution, we could be separated. I don’t know El Salvador. The U.S. is my country. I ask Congress to please fix the situation for me and my parents so we can stay together. Don’t let me down.”

Erick Francois, TPS holder from Haiti, said “I have had TPS since 2010 because of the earthquake in Haiti. My wife and I work full time, we pay taxes. My son is 16 and my daughter is only 7 years old. She doesn’t know Haiti. The United States is her home. All of the political issues present when we left the country are still ongoing. It is worse now than when my family and I left. People who lost their homes in the earthquake are still living in tents. We are so worried because we don’t see how we could take our children back to a country like that. My hope is that congress will fix this TPS problem because it would be a disaster for my family. If they end TPS, we cannot stay here and I do not want the government to take my daughter away from me.”

Sara Mohamed, TPS holder from Somalia, saidMy husband has had TPS since 1992.  What we have in this country is a life that we cannot have back in Somalia. We want our children, who are American citizens, to go to college here and build their lives in this country. The U.S. is all our children know. Separating us is ripping our family apart. We are anxious and afraid. Somalis [already] face the Muslim ban and extreme xenophobia. We are afraid of what will happen to our family if my husband is forcibly deported. What will happen to my children? However, I am sharing my story with you today because as journalists you have the power to amplify our voices and help save our children’s’ future.”

Jill Marie Bussey, Director of Advocacy at CLINIC, said “It is clear the Trump administration has declared war on immigrant families both new arrivals and those who have called the U.S. home for years. This looming crisis for TPS holders, that will rip families apart, is man-made and completely avoidable. Unlike the natural disasters and conflicts that made it unsafe for TPS holders to return home, this U.S. crisis was created by the political decisions made by this administration to terminate TPS even though it would tear families apart, hurt the U.S. economy, and further destabilize the Northern Triangle and other regions. The crisis could be avoided if Congress would provide permanent solutions for TPS holders – a pathway for them to become permanent residents. A failure for Congress to act urgently makes them complacent in this inhumane scheme. As a parent with a 9 year old, it is gut-wrenching to think there is a date where I would have to be separated from my child. These choices are inhumane, and psychologically damaging for the child and the parent. To members of Congress, I ask is it fair that families are faced with these impossible questions?”