Media CenterCRS Calls for Extension of Temporary Protective Status for Honduras as Violence and Poverty Persist
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Catholic Relief Services
WASHINGTON, DC, November 9, 2017 -- Catholic Relief Services (CRS) welcomes the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to continue its deliberation of an extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hondurans; this effectively extends the status through July 2018.
CRS appreciates the Department of Homeland Security’s continued review and calls for an extension of TPS for Honduras for another 12 months, to July 2019. Meanwhile, Congress must act to find a permanent legislative solution during that time. “Many of those legally in the U.S. under TPS contribute to our economy and have families with U.S. citizen children. Rather than terminate TPS, the administration and Congress should work together to find a permanent legislative solution,” stated Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ vice president for government relations and advocacy.
CRS’ Regional Technical Advisor responded by noting that “Sending hundreds of thousands of people back to Honduras could be a tipping point for its government,” he said. “There simply aren’t enough jobs to go around for this potential influx of people. Those who have the resources to start a business will face extortion from gangs. That lack of economic viability will spur desperation and more [illegal] migration.” Additionally, the government of Honduras lacks adequate reception, protection and integration system to adequately receive this population, as Catholic leaders noted in a letter about TPS on October 26.
The DHS announcement, which terminated TPS for Nicaragua – originally granted after Hurricane Mitch in 1998 -- postponed a decision on Honduras citing “a lack of definitive information regarding conditions on the ground.” But CRS and the Catholic Church have documented high levels of violence as well as economic and political instability that pose a threat to people’s safety and economic opportunities.
A recent delegation of U.S. bishops to Honduras and El Salvador found that an extension of TPS for both countries is crucial for humanitarian, regional security, and economic stability reasons.
In a letter to DHS, the bishops concluded that “terminating TPS at this time would be inhumane and untenable. Given the current country conditions, Honduras is in no position to accommodate the return of an estimated 57,000 Hondurans who have received TPS from the United States.”
The bishops, whose trip was sponsored by Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB/MRS), also issued a report citing targeted violence against families and children; a large number of displaced people already posing a growing humanitarian problem; and governments that lack adequate reception, protection, and integration systems for returnees.
As part of its long tradition of welcoming the most vulnerable, the U.S. has been granting TPS to foreign nationals living and working in the U.S. since 1990. The designation offers refuge to those who cannot return home because of natural disasters or violent conflict.
CRS is also calling for an extension of TPS for El Salvador. Honduras and El Salvador suffer from sky-high rates of youth unemployment and have some of the world’s highest rates of violence outside war zones.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit crs.org or crsespanol.org and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief, @CRSnews, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.