At Risk of Losing TPS, Salvadorans Organize 

(Photo via La Tribuna Hispana)

President Trump’s announcement that his administration would review the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians has caused alarm among other immigrant groups that have been granted this privilege, including Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans.

The news has generated a wave of speculation that people losing their TPS may become the target of ICE’s much-feared operations including deportations, which could be a reality should the government fails to further extend the authorization.

For that reason, the labor organization National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) convened a meeting on May 13 at the Salvadoran consulate on Long Island in which community leaders and members of pro-immigrant rights organizations gathered to analyze the potential threat and, more importantly, to plan a strategy to get TPS-protected Salvadorans to become permanent residents, said Omar Henríquez, a member of the NDLON.

Henríquez called on members of the immigrant community who have the TPS safeguard to be alert, as a revocation of the status for Haitians could put the protection of members of the Salvadoran community also at risk.

“Salvadorans with TPS are the ones who have to fight this battle. It is time for definitions, time for us to organize to get what so many people long for,” he said, referring to obtaining permanent residency, 16 years after former President George W. Bush granted TPS to immigrants from El Salvador when earthquakes devastated the country in 2001.

Henríquez added that the movement to obtain permanent residency is growing at a national level with the support of NDLON and CARECEN in Los Angeles. He called on everyone who has protected status to participate and get informed about the nationwide campaign to get residency for TPS beneficiaries.

“Last Saturday’s meeting was one of many taking place in different parts of the country with the purpose of encouraging awareness regarding the need for a campaign to have TPS beneficiaries obtain legal residency, and not only Salvadorans,” said the organizer.

Official campaign launch

Henríquez announced that the campaign will officially start on June 22 in Washington D.C. “On that day, we will go to the capital with everyone who is committed to this to deliver a study commissioned by CARECEN-Los Angeles and conducted by the University of St. Louis about the contributions of immigrants with TPS to this country. This will mark the beginning of a series of activities and lobbying to elected politicians to relay them the message that we need our TPS beneficiaries to become permanent residents,” he explained.

He added that getting permanent residency would be fair to people who have had to leave their country after natural disasters and have become hardworking, productive people upon arriving in the United States, many of them starting businesses that also create jobs.

“That is the only face we have to show. I understand that people speak ill of Salvadorans and try to identify them with gangs and other things, but that reality belongs only to a small minority and does not represent the real image of our people,” he said.

The next meeting of Long Island TPS beneficiaries will take place at the Center for Workers’ Rights in Hempstead on Saturday, May 27, at 5 p.m. Anyone who identifies with the movement is invited to attend. More details can be obtained by calling (516) 410-6471.

Could the TPS disappear?

In light of measures it has taken recently, no one doubts that the Trump administration might decide to end TPS, which benefits 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti, according to data from the American Community Survey (ACS). The report states that 186,403 Salvadorans, 70,281 Hondurans and 46,558 Haitians currently have TPS.

According to the document, the deportation of Salvadorans, Hondurans and Haitians with TPS would cost taxpayers $3.1 billion. That means that ending TPS for these three countries would result in a $6.9 billion reduction in contributions to Social Security and Medicare over almost a decade. Terminating TPS for these countries would reduce the gross domestic product (GDP) by $45.2 billion over close to a decade.

Moreover, the massive expulsion of the entire working population with TPS who come from those three counties would result in $967 million in rotation costs to cover expenses incurred by employers when an employee leaves a position. The GDP and rotation cost losses would be felt more acutely in places where large numbers of Salvadorans, Hondurans and Haitians live, including the metropolitan areas of Florida, New York, California, Texas, Maryland and Virginia.

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