As Federal Government Ends Temporary Protected Status, More Than 20 States & Municipalities Defend Program

PRESS STATEMENT

For Immediate Release

As Federal Government Ends Temporary Protected Status, More Than 20 States & Municipalities Defend Program

Thursday, November 30, 2017
Sara McElmurry
E-mail: smclemurry@alianzaamericas.org

CHICAGO—November 29, 2017—As the Trump administration dismantles our country’s immigration system, Alianza Americas applauds the ongoing leadership of local government in supporting immigrant and refugee communities. The New Jersey cities of Dover and Elizabeth passed resolutions yesterday in support of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), joining a growing list of states and municipalities that have called for the federal government to extend the program. The list includes:

1. Baltimore, MD (November 13 resolution)
2. Boston, MA (August 23 resolution)
3. Brentwood, MD (October 18 resolution)
4. Cambridge, MA (June 26 resolution)
5. Carborro, NC (November 14 resolution)
6. Chapel Hill, NC (November 15 resolution)
7. Chelsea, MA (November 20 resolution)
8. Dover, NJ (November 28 resolution)
9. Elizabeth, NJ (November 28 resolution)
10. Everett, MA (November 28 resolution)
11. Hyattsville, MD (October 2 resolution)
12. Jersey City, NJ (October 25 resolution)
13. Miami-Dade County, FL (October 3 resolution)
14. Morristown, NJ (November 21 resolution)
15. Mt. Rainier, MD (October 3 resolution)
16. New York City, NY (October 31 resolution)
17. Philadelphia, PA (October 19 resolution)
18. Prince George’s County, MD (November 15 resolution)
19. Prince George’s County Municipal Association (October 19 resolution)
20. San Francisco, CA (October 31 resolution)
21. Somerville, MA (July13 resolution)
22. State of Massachusetts (November 16 resolution)
23. Washington, DC (November 21 resolution)

The Massachusetts resolution is the first state-level resolution in the nation. Additional resolutions are pending vote in Atlanta, GA, Durham, NC, Montgomery County, MD, Montgomery County Municipal Association, MD, and Trenton, NJ.

The local resolutions come as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the end of TPS for three nations—Sudan, Nicaragua, and Haiti—over the last three months. Programs for El Salvador and Honduras are vulnerable to cancellation in the coming weeks.

“While TPS is a federally-designated program, state and municipal governments’ strong support is indicative of the many ways TPS holders have contributed to these communities,” said Oscar Chacón, executive director of Alianza Americas. “TPS holders have legally lived and worked in the US for decades. They’ve built businesses, paid taxes, and raised families. Local governments see these contributions first-hand; the resolutions reflect that these communities are stronger because TPS holders have put down deep roots there.”

There are 350,000 TPS holders living in the United States; 88 percent participate in local workforces, 11 percent are entrepreneurs, and 30 percent have home mortgages. Nearly 275,000 US-citizen children have at least one parent who is a TPS holder.

TPS was created as a stop-gap measure nearly 30 years ago because the US immigration system did not have a way to support people who were in the US when something catastrophic—like war, famine or a natural disaster—happened in their home country and prevented their safe return. Over the years, as conditions in their home countries have not improved, TPS beneficiaries have stayed in the United States with full permission to live and work. Every 18 months, TPS holders re-register with the government and comply with comprehensive security screenings to renew their status.

“TPS holders have lived in limbo for decades, but until now, they have never been asked to leave,” said Brian Lozano, community organizer and advocacy coordinator of Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center, an Alianza Americas member organization that led efforts to pass the Morristown and Dover, NJ resolutions. “These families deserve better than to have the rules change for them overnight. We call for DHS to extend TPS, but beyond continuing to offer temporary reprieves, we call on Congress to legislate a pathway for permanent residence for long-time TPS holders”

Alianza Americas member organizations, including the Chelsea Collaborative, Inc. (Chelsea, MA), Centro Presente (Boston, MA), CARECEN (San Francisco, CA), CARECEN (Washington, DC), the Latino Commission on AIDS (Carborro and Chapel Hill, NC), and Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center (Morristown, NJ) have worked on issues related to TPS since the program was created in the 1990s. They are now actively collaborating with local governments to build resolutions.

“For years, the federal government has been deadlocked on advancing any type of meaningful immigration reform, and cities have stepped in to fill the gap by offering supports—ESL classes, civic workshops, business incubators—for their local immigrant communities,” said Patricia Montes, executive director of Centro Presente, an Alianza Americans member organization that led efforts around resolutions in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and the State of Massachusetts. “Now, instead of deadlock, the federal government is actively cracking down on our communities. Beyond simply offering support, local government is now a first line of defense, doing what is right in defending our values as a nation and protecting their local economies in the process. We are proud to craft these resolutions in partnership with our city halls and statehouses.”

Alianza Americas is a network of 50 immigrant-led organizations representing more than 100,000 families across the United States. It is the It is the only US-based organization rooted in Latino and Caribbean immigrant communities that works transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable way of life. Learn more at alianzaamericas.org.

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