The TPSeano Series: Saving TPS and the Quarter of a Million “TPSeanos” Living in Our Communities

Today, more than 250,000 TPSeanos from Central American are at risk of losing their protected status. In the next five months, the Trump administration will be making decisions on the future of temporary protected statues, or TPS, designations for the Central American countries. There is no official position by the administration with respect to the future of TPS designation for these countries, but recent remarks by senior officials do not bode well for the continued long-term future of protected status for these countries, even though major violence and human rights violations associated with civil strife in their home countries make it unsafe for them to return.

TPS beneficiaries are integral members of our communities. According to a July 2017 report by the Center for Migration Studies (CMS), TPS beneficiaries from the three largest TPS countries by population have an estimated 273,000 U.S.-born children, and 10% of Salvadoran and 6% Honduran TPS beneficiaries are married to legal residents. The report also finds that 87% of the TPS population from these countries speaks at least some English, and slightly over half speak English well, very well, or only English.

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The TPSeano Series: What Is Temporary Protected Status?

In the month headed into Congress’s August recess, much of the attention in the immigration space has been correctly focused on protecting the DACA policy that shields nearly 800,000 youth from deportation, pushing back on the Trump budget proposal, which would take funding for deportations to unprecedented levels, and picking up the pieces from the painful effects and consequences of the ramped-up interior enforcement on predominantly Latino immigrant families. Not to be lost in the shuffle, however, is another very important issue percolating in the not-too-distant background. Within the next six months, the Trump administration will be making decisions on the future of temporary protected status (TPS) designations that could impact over a quarter of a million Latinos from Central America, some of whom have been residing in the United States for nearly 20 years.

TPS is a humanitarian tool established by legislation giving the executive branch a way to provide temporary status to some of the most vulnerable populations in the country. Under TPS, people already residing in the United States may be designated for protection due to an ongoing armed conflict, natural disaster, or presence of extraordinary and temporary condition in their country of origin. TPS beneficiaries are eligible to work legally in the country and may apply to travel abroad for so long as the U.S. government determines that protected status continues to be warranted—a decision that is typically assessed 18 months after an initial designation or a preceding TPS extension.

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