M4RJ Condemns DHS Termination of TPS for 200,000 Salvadorans
The March for Racial Justice adamantly condemns the January 8th decision by the Department of Homeland Security to terminate the Temporary Protected Status designation for El Salvador, leaving close to 200,000 people with no legal work options and putting them in line for deportation in 2019. The ramifications of this decision are devastating and life threatening, and based on racist, politicized policies that the Trump administration continues to push in their agenda.
El Salvador is the largest group of TPS holders in the United States, with close to 200,000 participants and over 190,000 US born children among them. El Salvador was designated under TPS initially in 1994, and then again in 2001, meaning the decision to terminate TPS will be throwing Salvadorans in legal limbo who, on average, have been in the United States for 21 years. The recindance not only threatens deportation for TPS holders, but it forces them to make the impossible decision of splitting up their families while being forced to return to El Salvador, where gang violence and instability make daily life both precarious and dangerous. Analysis by the Center for MIgration Studies show that 88 percent of Salvadoran TPS holders participate in the US labor force and close to one-quarter have home mortgages. Remittances sent back to El Salvador by TPS holders accounted for 17% of the Salvadoran economy, over US$4.5 billion. With the slashing of TPS it is important to recognize that without contributions to the US workforce by TPS recipients, economic losses to the US would be more than US$164 billion in the next decade.
The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador comes just weeks after terminating the status for Haiti, which has 60,000 participants designated under TPS after the devastating 2010 earthquake, and earlier last year both Nicaragua with 2,500 participants and Sudan with 500. The implications for the other 6 TPS holding countries are devastating, threatening the remaining 100,000 people protected under the status, the largest group being 57,000 from Honduras.
The decision affecting El Salvador is another tragedy in the continuing pattern of systematic and targeted attacks on immigrant communities and communities of color by the Trump administration. Humanitarian programs such as TPS are not alone in being threatened, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Central American Minors program have both been terminated as well, and severe limitations and restrictions being applied to other Asylum and Refugee Resettlement programs due to the Muslim Ban and steep decreases in funding. Over 13,000 DACA recipients have lost legal status, an average of 122 per day, since September while waiting on Congress to find a permanent solution. The State Department announced the termination of the Central American Minors program in November, which granted temporary asylum to children fleeing violence in Central America. More than 120,000 unaccompanied minors arrived at the US southern border between 2014 and the end of 2016.
In addition, it is critically important to note the political conditions in countries in Central America and the Caribbean that warrant TPS have been shaped by US foreign policy. In the case of El Salvador in particular, US support to oppressive military regimes and paramilitary factions throughout the 80’s led to a civil war that claimed over 75,000 Salvadoran lives, prompted close to 2 million more to seek asylum in the US, and laid the foundation since that time for the current gang violence and societal divisions present today. Similar situations in are also the case for Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and are part of a deep moral obligation that the US has to not turn their backs on the people who have fled the very situations that it’s racist and imperialist foreign policies have created throughout the region and the world.
Action is needed on behalf of TPS holders whose status is under threat, please join the efforts of the March for Racial Justice in advocating for TPS and speaking out against the injustice of its termination for El Salvador, Haiti, and all other TPS countries. Together, we will fight for all communities of color.