While DREAMers are awaiting their fate after President Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, hundreds of thousands of other immigrants could face a similar fate.
Temporary protected status (TPS) grants temporary work authorizations and protection from deportation to immigrants from countries stricken by civil war, natural disasters or other extraordinary hardships.
More than 440,000 immigrants have temporary protected status.
“It’s going to be devastating to those families [if the program ends], and they typically are families, so you often have children that have grown up in the United States, people who are gainfully employed, settled in communities,” a former director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Leon Rodriguez, now working as an immigration attorney, told CNN. “So, the impact from a family perspective, from a workplace perspective, from a community perspective, it’s quite, quite serious.”
As the name indicates, the status is not permanent, but many of the countries designated for TPS have crises that have not ended.
According to the rules of TPS, only immigrants who can show they have lived in the United States since the disaster or the time designated by USCIS are eligible for protection.
Temporary protected status was offered to immigrants from Honduras in 1999 due to the environmental disaster Hurricane Mitch. Hondurans living in the United States since 1998 were eligible for temporary protected status. Currently, more than 86,000 Hondurans are protected under TPS having built lives in the United States for nearly two decades.
Pro-immigration advocacy group Immigrant Legal Resource Center found that deporting all immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti who have temporary protected status would cost their employers nearly $1 billion in turnover costs. Deportation of immigrants from the three countries would cost $3.1 billion and would subtract $6.9 billion in contributions to Social Security and Medicare and $45.2 billion to the gross domestic product over a decade.
“There’s different elements to the concern,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California, told CNN. “First, in the case of people who’ve been here a considerable period of time, people become members of their community, and so … a couple decades later, you own businesses, you have families, you have grandchildren, you’re kind of part of our situation here.”
“There should be some rational way to transition people who have been here for a long time, and in the case of these people, they’ve been here in legal status, who because of the length of their stay have basically become valued members of our community,” Lofgren added. “That’s a matter of a change of immigration law.”