Advocates warn failure to act could leave 1-2 million people at risk of deportation to countries imperiled by violence, climate displacement, political turmoil
WASHINGTON – More than 400 immigrant justice groups and allies called on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to take action to protect the nearly 2 million undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation from Nepal and key Central American countries. Their joint demand comes just weeks after DHS extended protections for these countries, but stopped short of redesignating El Salvador, Honduras and Nepal or providing TPS for Guatemala and Venezuela.
In a joint letter issued this morning (letter below) by leaders from SEIU, CASA, Alianza Americas, and others, advocates urged Secretary Mayorkas to use his authority to redesignate TPS for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Nepal, as well as designate or redesignate TPS for all other countries that qualify under the statute, including Guatemala and Venezuela.
“The case for exercising this statutory authority delegated to you by Congress is overwhelming, considering that it would provide enormous benefits to our nation and also fulfill the spirit of the president’s campaign promise not to return TPS holders to unsafe countries,” advocates write to Secretary Mayorkas. “A decision to redesignate TPS for these countries would of course be life-changing for those who have made their lives here. In addition, a wealth of research demonstrates the benefits to all workers and the economy of granting legal status to persons who already live and work in the U.S. and specifically documents the huge economic contributions of persons who have or would be eligible for TPS.”
The letter also comes on the heels of a powerful press conference held last month and convened by SEIU, CASA ,Alianza Americas, and others, where TPS holders and their children called on President Biden to fulfill his promise to keep families together.
“My mother is very important to me. She’s my number one supporter and leads me toward the correct path every day. She’s also my motivation when I feel I can’t do something, especially in my education,” thirteen-year-old Marilyn Consuelo Miranda, daughter of 32BJ-SEIU member and janitor, Bertha Soledad, said during the Washington D.C. press conference in June. “I’m here to ask President Biden to keep my mom here with me so she can be there when I graduate high school and when I go to college to become a lawyer. I also want the President to give TPS to other families like mine, from Central America and Nepal.”
The decision to redesignate TPS for these countries isn’t just a moral imperative, but also an economic one, as tight labor markets drag on. For generations, immigrants have proven to be vital to key sectors that strengthen and grow the U.S. economy, contributing trillions to the U.S GDP and adding billions to state, local and federal taxes annually. From picking fruits and vegetables on American farms to caring for the elderly and people with disabilities, the U.S. continues to rely on immigrants for essential work.
The expansion of TPS would also increase remittances back to countries imperiled by concurrent crises – from climate change, to gang violence, to political instability and more – thereby putting resources directly into the hands of the people who need it most and helping reduce migration.
Advocates continue to call on the Biden administration to create a more just and humane immigration system, including by redesignating TPS for countries that meet the designation criteria, as well as creating legal paths to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.