In the past year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced six countries are set to lose their humanitarian protections.
Yesterday, some anticipated news was announced for the immigrant community. Honduras’ nationals have just lost their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation. This comes after Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke was unable to make a decision last year, so Honduras had received an automatic six month extension. Now Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has ended these protections.
There’s “temporary” in Temporary Protected Status. The protections were never supposed to last, but people must build lives even when they’re temporary. Lives that look like U.S. children, marriages, mortgages, college degrees, careers. What happens after TPS? Absolutely nothing because most TPS holders do not have another immigrant status, despite having contributed to the U.S. economy and community for one to two decades. The system has failed to provide a pathway to a permanent status.
Without TPS, community members will lose jobs, health insurance, and any sense of stability in the U.S. and fall into undocumented status.
How long until the terminations take effect?
1. Sudan’s TPS ends NOV. 2018. That’s in six months.
2. Nicaragua’s TPS ends JAN. 2019. That’s in nine months.
3. Nepal’s TPS ends JUN. 2019. That’s in 13 months.
4. Haiti’s TPS ends JULY 2019. That’s in about 14 months.
5. El Salvador’s TPS ends SEPT. 2019. That’s in about 16 months.
6. Honduras’ TPS ends JAN. 2020. That’s in 20 months.
The remaining countries with effective protections: Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen.
What will WE do about it?
Choose to act. Choose to vote in elections, local, state, and national level. Call congress. Stand in solidarity. Read this blog. Attend a solidarity event–there’s one in Alexandria, VA on May 8th.
I spend a lot of time trying to hold myself together because I feel so much for my immigrant community. Sometimes I don’t think pain is human. It’s so unbearable. I really wish these voices, and the voices of many others, would be raised over those that do not understand what it’s like to have your home destroyed by earthquake, war, and immeasurable injustices against female and young bodies.
I spend most of my time hoping for more out of poetry, more out of people, more out of God. Like what are we doing? Who needs to be removed from a community for us to care enough? Which mothers? Which fathers? Which friends? Which co-workers? Which neighbor?
Please notice TPS. Please notice that we’re not in the news unless it’s for a termination notice. Please wake up.
Claudia Rojas is poeta. She’s also a TPS (Temporary Protected Status) holder. TPS protects individuals fleeing natural disaster and war on a temporary basis. The program has been extended for many years; no permanent solution has ever been presented. Currently, the countries of Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, and El Salvador have lost TPS and lives are at risk should Congress or America fail us. Call your member of Congress today through the FWD.us tool or find your representative’s info online.