Media CenterCRS Urges Extension of Temporary Protected Status Designation for Honduras and El Salvador
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Catholic Relief Services
WASHINGTON, DC, October, 31, 2017 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) urges the administration to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras and El Salvador, which is set to expire in the coming weeks. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has until November 6, 2017 and January 8, 2018, to determine whether to extend or terminate TPS, a form of legal immigration status shielding hundreds of thousands of people from deportation to countries affected by violence, poverty or natural disasters.
TPS provides legal status to foreign nationals living and working in the U.S. when it is unsafe to return to their home country. The U.S. has granted TPS to roughly 300,000 Hondurans and Salvadorans, since 1999 and 2001.
“Returning 300,000 people to countries suffering from high rates of youth unemployment and some of the highest rates of violence outside of a war zone will fuel gang activity and social breakdown,” said Rick Jones, CRS’ senior technical advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean. “This would reverse progress we have made in the region and add stress to systems that are already at a breaking point.”
In a recent letter to DHS, Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS), Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) highlighted that “terminating TPS at this time would be inhumane and untenable.” The letter outlines concerns that neither government has “the capacity to adequately handle the return of its TPS population.” These countries are unprepared to receive, protect, and integrate hundreds of thousands of returnees. Bipartisan letters from Congress to DHS have also urged the Administration to extend TPS.
“With ongoing instability and insecurity in Central America, terminating TPS would destabilize already tenuous communities,” Jones said. “Ending TPS not only is immoral, but also is unwise. It would counteract our efforts to develop communities and address the root causes of poverty and displacement.”
Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ vice president for government relations and advocacy, acknowledges that while extending TPS is a humanitarian necessity, it is not a sustainable solution. “We need increased support for economic opportunity, citizen security, and improved legal protection through Central America,” he said.
CRS works in Honduras and El Salvador to address the root causes of migration, such as poverty and violence, and to create economic opportunities and livelihoods, especially for youth.
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.