Grassroots Action Center

Speak out for Central American Immigrants: Urge the Administration to Extend TPS

Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which helps over 200,000 Central Americans live and work in the United States without fear of deportation, is expiring at the end of 2022. TPS provides work authorization and protection from deportation to immigrants from countries where armed conflict, natural disasters, and other extraordinary circumstances make returning home dangerous. These conditions are present in the Central American countries of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala, where the combined impacts of Hurricanes Eta and Iota and the COVID-19 pandemic have overburdened hospitals, exacerbated food insecurity, and forced many people to leave their homes. In addition, many people from these four countries have fled gang and gender-based violence and government crackdowns on human rights, and it is unsafe for them to return home. Many TPS holders from El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras have lived in the United States for many years and have children who are US citizens. Their relatives who still live in their countries of origin rely on the money they send home for their economic well-being. If their TPS protection expires, they will lose their US work permits and be at risk of deportation. Tell President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, and Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas to extend and redesignate TPS protection for El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras and designate Guatemala for TPS protection. 

Congress created Temporary Protective Status in 1990 to provide humanitarian relief to immigrants who cannot return to their home country due to armed conflict or natural disasters. For a limited time, nationals of countries given TPS status can apply to receive work permits and protection from deportation. Only people who have resided in the United States since the date of designation are eligible for TPS. Initial TPS protection can last between six and eighteen months but can be extended indefinitely. However, extending TPS protection does not allow migrants who arrived in the US after their country was designated to receive protection: only redesignation expands protection to more people. Therefore, redesignation is essential because it allows immigrants who were not in the United States when El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua were initially designated over twenty years ago to benefit from the program. 

As Christians, we are called to welcome and love our neighbors, regardless of where they were born. TPS is a way of extending a dignified welcome to our neighbors from Central America. TPS provides stability so its beneficiaries can build safe and fulfilling lives in the United States without fear of deportation. If TPS is not extended, the administration will uproot the lives of hundreds of thousands of Central American TPS recipients and their families in both the United States and their countries of origin. Designating Guatemala and redesignating El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua will allow many other neighbors and their families to build stable lives. 

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