As TPS End Approaches, a Final Push To Save Families and Communities

Pilar Moya Mancera (left), director of Housing Help Inc., and Rosa, a Central American immigrant worried about losing her job as a school bus driver in Huntington once her TPS protection expires in a few months. (Photo by Sandra Torres via Noticia Long Island)

Expiration of the temporary protected status (TPS) program for Nicaraguan immigrants is rapidly approaching, and organization Alianza Americas is urging all TPS beneficiaries and their relatives, as well as nonprofits and the community in general, to call U.S. Congress demanding the renewal of TPS for 18 more months.

Nicaragua is the first country scheduled to lose TPS protection on Jan. 5, 2019, followed by Haiti on July 22, El Salvador on Sept. 9, and Sudan on Nov. 2, 2019. Honduras, which is currently in a re-registration period through Aug. 6, is scheduled to keep TPS until Jan. 5, 2020.

Once those deadlines are met, the immigrants’ work permits will be void, their protection from deportation will be removed and they will not receive more TPS extensions in the future.

“The TPS cancellation is bringing stress to entire families in New York and Long Island: children and youths who were born here fear being separated from their parents,” said Pilar Moya Mancera, director of Housing Help Inc., an organization that has launched a support campaign for people worried about losing TPS.

At a community meeting, Moya exhorted people to call their political representatives and put pressure on Congress to extend TPS.

The biggest worry for TPS beneficiaries is the prospect of losing their jobs, and therefore the income to sustain their families.

“I’m from Nicaragua and I currently work as a school bus driver in Huntington. My TPS ends on Jan. 5 and I will not have a job afterwards,” said a distressed Rosa, who prefers not to reveal her family name. (…)

“I’m asking people to help us, to make calls, and to think of how this is going to affect us,” said the single mother of three American citizens aged 18, 15 and 10, who, she said, are anxious about their mother’s immigration status.

“I have lived honestly in this country for 20 years, I have been a homeowner for 15 years, my first daughter is graduating high school and will start college soon. If I lose my job I don’t know what is going to happen with my kids and my house,” added Rosa, deeply saddened.

(…) Nicaragua is the Central American country with the fewest TPS beneficiaries (a total of 2,550 in the U.S.) compared to the 195,000 Salvadorians who are protected nationally by this program – it is estimated that 9,655 of them live in the New York counties of Nassau and Suffolk.


Looming housing crisis

For Moya, whose organization Housing Help Inc. assists low-income families in housing matters, the fact that many TPS beneficiaries are at risk of losing their protection status will radically affect the local economy, particularly on the issue of housing.

“We’re starting to see the same things as during the 2009-2010 recession, when many people decided to stop paying the mortgage on their home and abandoned it,” said Moya.

Furthermore, most TPS beneficiaries on Long Island are Salvadorans and, according to her statistics, close to 4,000 of them are currently paying their home mortgages in Nassau and Suffolk.

“If families with TPS lose their homes, we will have a new housing crisis and the houses will lose value,  affecting the market as a whole,” said Moya, adding that the most affected towns would be Huntington Station, Brentwood, Central Islip and Wyandanch.

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