Immigration Purge

Immigration Purge

We can say that since January 2017, there has been a purge of the TPS program. At that time, an estimated 320,000 people had this protected status due to an armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary conditions underway in their country. Nationals of these countries who are already in the United States at the time TPS is designated can legally live and work in the United States until the conditions improve.

However, beginning September 2017, the secretary terminated TPS for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan. Although the effective dates of those terminations were delayed by 12 or 18 months, more than 310,000 TPS holders are now on a countdown to losing their status altogether and will be at risk of deportation.

That leaves only Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen with TPS, which includes approximately 8,800 beneficiaries. This figure represents a 97 percent decrease in the number of TPS holders since President Trump took office. As their status expires, TPS beneficiaries and their families will have to make difficult decisions about what comes next. Some of them will be eligible for other immigration relief, but others will have to weight their options.

For many TPS holders, the United States has become their home

For example, more than 50 percent of Salvadorans and Hondurans with TPS have lived in the United States over 20 years. During that time they have started families; over 270,000 U.S.-born children have a parent with TPS. Many have invested in their communities by buying homes, starting businesses, and becoming valued employees.

There are concerns about whether these terminations were based on an objective review of country conditions and whether nationals of these countries could be safely returned. Through litigation and other transparency efforts by Congress, it was revealed that both the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security disregarded concerns flagged by U.S. government officials. State Department officials with first-hand knowledge warned that several TPS countries could not safely reabsorb returnees and moving forward with termination could trigger new migration flows to the United States.

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