Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a designation that the U.S. government can offer non- citizens who are unable to safely return to their countries of origin due to political instability and violence or as a countries recovers from a natural disaster. As of October 2017, 437,000 people held a TPS designation in the United States from 10 countries—El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
TPS is one way the U.S. government can honor its moral and humanitarian obligation to provide safe haven to people who may be in danger. However, under the Trump administration, TPS has been drastically curtailed. Since August 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has cancelled TPS for multiple countries, putting these people at risk of losing their livelihoods and being separated from their families. Congress must now act to ensure that the integrity of TPS is upheld and that hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents are not deported to dangerous conditions.
The consequences of TPS cancellation are grave and will affect people across multiple borders—cutting off critical economic lifelines and separating families. A recent Center for Migration Research study of TPS holders from Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador found that the vast majority pay income taxes. An estimated 273,000 U.S. citizen children have at least one parent who is a TPS holder. The remittances that TPS beneficiaries send home are often critical to sustaining the economies of their home countries. In El Salvador, remittances account for more than 17% of national GDP, with the vast majority coming from relatives in the United States. In Honduras, they account for 18% of GDP. This support is important not only for these countries’ economies, but also for the security and prosperity of our shared region.