Washington, DC 20520
August 5, 2021
Re: Redesignate El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and designate Guatemala for Temporary Protected Status
Dear President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Mayorkas, and Secretary Blinken:
On behalf of the steering committee of the We Are Home campaign, a nationwide campaign to fight for immigrant communities, we urge you to redesignate El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua and designate Guatemala for Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) due to the severe devastation in Central America from Category 4 hurricanes Eta and Iota in late 2020 and ongoing rebuilding and recovery efforts as the region also confronts the coronavirus pandemic and the upcoming hurricane season.
The We Are Home campaign is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational coalition of 150+ partners that have come together to urge federal action to protect immigrants who call this country home and build an immigration system that recognizes the humanity and rights of the immigrants and their families.
We strongly encourage the Administration to use the TPS program as intended by Congress to protect people in the U.S. when it is unsafe to return to their home countries due to ongoing armed conflict, disruption due to natural disaster, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. The TPS program recognizes the need for protection from deportation for groups of people in the U.S. due to conditions in their home countries, as well as the inability of their countries of origin to safely receive them without greater security and stability.
New designations of TPS for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala are particularly urgent due to the impact of last year’s hurricanes on homes, infrastructure, public health systems, agriculture, and the economies of these countries and the upcoming hurricane system. Last year’s hurricanes exacerbated ongoing environmental crises and economic challenges facing countries in the region. In a monthly report released in June of this year, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs found that 1.7 million people were displaced after the natural events and that by the end of 2020, tropical storms caused significant damages affecting nearly 6 million persons living in the Northern Triangle. These dire conditions, plus the COVID-19 pandemic, have heightened the overwhelming need for humanitarian assistance.
While the redesignation and designation of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala is not a source of permanent protection or pathway to citizenship, it is an action that the Administration can and should take in its executive authority to protect people in the United States in the short term, consistent with the more humane and rights-based approach to immigration and foreign policy that the Administration has embraced. TPS not only offers humanitarian protection, it also supports individuals and families in the United States by empowering immigrants to live and work in the short term while conditions in their countries of origin remain unsafe. Existing TPS recipients from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, whose protections are set to expire on October 4, 2021, have demonstrated how the program facilitates tremendous contributions to U.S. communities and the U.S. economy, with high labor force participation rates and small business development. It also supports community rebuilding and recovery efforts in Central America as TPS recipients are able to support local economies in their home countries through remittances.
We thus urge the redesignation and designation of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala for TPS without delay. For questions, please contact We Are Home Campaign Director Bridgette Gomez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We Are Home Steering Committee Members:
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA)
Detention Watch Network
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR)
LA RED/Faith in Action
Make the Road New York
National Domestic Workers Alliance
National Immigration Law Center
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
United Farm Workers (UFW)
United We Dream
cc: Ambassador Susan Rice, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy
Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor
Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, U.S. Homeland Security Advisor