More than 300,000 people from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras live in the United States under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). They were originally granted TPS years ago because of natural disasters in their home countries. That status has been renewed over and over. The situations back home remain desperate, especially in the case of Haiti, which has been repeatedly pummeled by natural disasters.
Despite pleas from government officials, particularly Haitian government officials, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has told the Department of Homeland Security that all the countries are now safe for return. Not only is that not true, but the remittances sent by people with TPS to families in their home countries is essential to the well-being of those families and to the economies of those countries.
The costs to U.S. businesses and government of ending TPS are also high, according to data compiled in April by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC):
- “There are approximately 186,403 Salvadorans, 70,281 Hondurans, and 46,558 Haitians who currently hold a valid grant of TPS, for a total of approximately 300,000 individuals….
- “Deporting all Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS holders would cost taxpayers $3.1 billion dollars.
- “Ending TPS for these three countries would result in a $6.9 billion reduction to Social Security and Medicare contributions over a decade.
- “Ending TPS for these three countries would lead to a $45.2 billion reduction in GDP over a decade.
- The wholesale lay-off of the entire employed TPS population from these three countries would result in $967 million of turnover costs, e.g. costs employers incur when an employee leaves a position.”
From a human viewpoint, the costs are even higher. A report in the Journal on MIgration and Human Security finds that the labor force participation rate of TPS holders from those three countries ranges from 81 to 88 percent, about 20 percent above the participation rate for the U.S.-born population. About 22 percent arrived before they were 16 and more than half of the Salvadoran and Honduran TPS beneficiaries have lived in the United States for 20 years or more. About 30 percent are homeowners. TPS beneficiaries have an estimated 273,000 U.S. citizen children.
Some may ask why people who have been under legally protected status for two decades have not become citizens. The answer is simple: the law establishing TPS says that no one with that status can apply for permanent residence or citizenship.
The fate of TPS holders could be decided as early as Monday — and they’re afraid (Miami Herald, 11/4/17)
“Activist Francisco Portillo was in his Little Havana office Saturday afternoon trying to calm anxious callers.
“‘We have gotten about 20 to 25 calls today. All we can tell people is that we have to wait until the government makes a formal announcement on Monday,’ Portillo said. ‘But with this uncertainty the community is very worried. There are people with TPS who have lived here for two decades, have businesses. Many more are homeowners. They were expecting a permanent solution, an immigration reform, not this.’”
Immigrants from Central America, Haiti, await DHS announcement on protected status (Washington Post, 11/6/17)
“‘Facts on the ground show that El Salvador and Honduras suffer the world’s highest murder rates, while Haiti is still dealing with recovery efforts from two recent devastating hurricanes,’ [Maryland Senator Benjamin] Cardin said in a statement. ‘Suggesting that TPS beneficiaries should return home in the face of such risks is not only inhumane, but could destabilize each country.’”
“It’s estimated by the think tank Inter-American Dialogue that all Haitians abroad this year will send home $2 billion. That’s nearly equal to Haiti’s annual operating budget.
“In May, citing improved conditions in Haiti, the Trump administration signaled it no longer would extend the temporary visas. It warned Haitians to prepare to go home in January, when the program expires.
“Desir is devastated — and as the news gets back to Haiti, concern is growing there too. Desir has 19 relatives who depend on her for financial support.”
And in other news
Minnesota’s Karen refugees join march on Washington to keep pressure on Myanmar (Star Tribune, 11/6/17)
“The United States is winding down a major effort to resettle the Karen that brought more than 10,000 refugees to Minnesota, home to the largest Karen community in North America. Many in the local community worry about family members who remain in Thai camps and the prospect of their return to Myanmar, also known as Burma.
“Now, the Burmese military’s attacks on the Rohingya are bringing back painful memories and fueling mistrust in the country’s authorities. But with the world’s spotlight trained on Myanmar, local Karen also feel this is the time to draw attention to their cause — and they rushed to help organize the Washington, D.C., rally.”
After Terror Attack, Uzbek Community Faces Unwanted Attention, Again (New York Times, 11/6/17) 27,212 Uzbeks have come to the United States under the diversity visa lottery since 2007.
“At first, the program benefited immigrants from Europe and Africa, but increasingly, residents of countries from the former Soviet Union have found it an enticing ticket. In 2015, according to the State Department, 833,998 Uzbekistan residents applied, second only to Ukraine. But only a fraction — 2,524 people — from Uzbekistan came to the United States with the visa that year….
“[Gulnoza Said, a New York-based Uzbek journalist] added that the accused attacker’s extremist views, apparently stirred by the internet, likely developed more out of loneliness and disaffection with his situation than because of his nationality. ‘What is important about Saipov is not that he was Uzbek,’ Ms. Said said, ‘but that he was an immigrant who didn’t find his path in this country.’”
Fearing Checkpoints, Undocumented Immigrants Cut Off From Medical Care (NPR, 11/3/17) Before, undocumented immigrants with a doctor’s order for emergency care in another hospital could go through the checkpoints. Not any more.
“Undocumented immigrants who live north of the border, but south of a string of Border Patrol checkpoints, say they feel trapped. They fear seeking specialized medical care or visiting family. Some call it la jaula, which is Spanish for “the cage”; others call it laisla, “the island.”…
“Since the highly publicized story of Rosa Maria, it’s not hard to find similar checkpoint cases.
“Nelly Vielma, an immigration lawyer and City Council member in Laredo, has an undocumented client who had to go to San Antonio in February to have a brain tumor removed. Same deal: Agents stopped the ambulance at the checkpoint, followed the 55-year-old woman to the hospital, and served her deportation orders before letting the operation proceed.”
DOJ plans to slash immigration court backlog (Washington Post, 11/3/17)
“Speeding up cases depends partly on congressional funding. It also rests partly on the actions of immigration judges, who have expressed concerns about due process for immigrants, many of whom are facing deportation to some of the world’s most violent countries. Immigrants are not entitled to a government-appointed lawyer in these courts and often handle cases on their own.
“The Justice officials would not comment on reports that they will impose case-completion quotas on judges, which raised an outcry from the judges’ union.”
Government seeks to revoke US citizenship of four Minnesota Somalis (Los Angeles Times, 11/6/17)
“Fosia Abdi Adan, 51, whose last known address was Eden Prairie, entered the U.S. under the diversity lottery visa program in 2001. Civil complaints filed in federal court in Minnesota on Monday allege she then used her visa to get visas for a man she falsely claimed was her husband, and two cousins of hers who she and the man falsely claimed were their children.
“The complaints name Adan’s purported husband as Ahmed Mohamed Warsame, 54, of St. Cloud, and their purported sons as Mustaf Abdi Adan, 33, of Minneapolis and Faysal Jama Mire, 31, of the Minneapolis area.” http://www.latimes.com/sns-bc-us–immigration-fraud-minnesota-20171106-story.html