PRESS STATEMENTTuesday, November 7, 2017Contact: Jacob Weinberg | Jacob@tnimmigrant.org
TIRRC Condemns Decision and Calls on Congress to Find a Permanent Solution NASHVILLE - Last night, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) abruptly ended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 2,500 Nicaraguans--effective January 5, 2019--and deferred a decision on 57,000 Honduras with TPS, triggering an automatic extension of six months. This decision follows a termination earlier this year of TPS for Sudanese nationals-- effective November 2018--impacting 450 people. Honduran and Nicaraguan TPS holders have been living lawfully in the U.S. for more than 18 years. They have started businesses, raised families, and established roots here. To suddenly revoke their status, push them into the shadows, and threaten them with deportation is beyond cruel. Thousands of hard-working families who have played by the rules will be needlessly separated as a result. Just like ending DACA for over 800,000 immigrant youth, yesterday’s announcement makes clear to the immigrant community: no one is safe. It is now up to Congress to pass legislation that protects TPS holders from being deported to countries in no condition to safely receive them.The following is a quote from Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, Policy Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC):"The Trump administration has once again caved to demands of white supremacists in the White House by revoking the legal status of 2,500 Nicaraguan TPS holders. Just like ending DACA, terminating TPS for these hard-working, tax-paying immigrants shows that no one will be spared from Trump’s cruel and anti-family policies. Trump has broken America’s promise, but Congress can still keep it. The time to act is now."The following is a quote from Jovani Lopez, Honduran and business owner in Nashville: "Every time we talk about the possibility of TPS ending, we break into tears. In the 18 years we have been here, TPS has allowed me to go from cleaning new construction sites to starting my own construction company. Depending on the season, I employ between 10-40 people. Without TPS, I’ll have to close my business and let go of my employees. My children have grown up to be proud Americans. My oldest has TPS and has been here since he was three. My youngest was born in the U.S. and will start college next year. We don't want to leave him. It is inhumane to separate families like ours. We love this country and want to continue to contribute to it, but it is impossible to plan for the future when we only have 6 more months guaranteed here.”
- In creating the TPS program through the Immigration Act of 1990, the U.S. government made a promise to act as a haven for foreign nationals already in the country who could not return to their home countries safely, whether because of civil war, environmental disaster, or political unrest.
- Nicaragua and Honduras first received TPS in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch destroyed millions of homes and killed thousands. TPS has been renewed numerous times for a variety of reasons since, including endemic poverty, gang violence, and persisting problems with infrastructure since Mitch.
- Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world.
- Over 57,000 Hondurans and 2,500 Nicaraguans across the U.S. have TPS.
- 10 countries currently have TPS designation. More than 90% of TPS holders are from El Salvador, Haiti, or Honduras.
- The next decision on TPS status due on November 22nd for Haiti, impacting more than 57,000. For more information on TPS countries visit here.
- 3,200 US-born Tennessean children have parents with TPS. Ending TPS will cost Tennessee $123.3 million, and the U.S. $164 billion, in GDP annually. For more information on TPS holders in Tennessee, visit here.
- TPS holders are thoroughly vetted by our government every time they apply for renewal of their status, they contribute taxes, they own businesses, and they pay mortgages. They are the parents of 275,000 U.S.-born children around the country. The average TPS holder has lived in the U.S. for more than 19 years.
- Earlier this year, the Trump administration ended TPS for Sudan, with an expiration date of November 2, 2018. Some 450 Sudanese nationals will have their status revoked as a result.
TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. Since its founding in 2001, TIRRC has worked to develop immigrant leadership, build the capacity of its immigrant-led member organizations, help immigrant community members understand and engage in the civic process, and educate the public about policies that would better promote integration of new immigrants and facilitate their full participation in US society. In just a few years TIRRC has grown from a grassroots network of community leaders into one of the most diverse and effective coalitions of its kind, a model for emerging immigrant rights organizations in the Southeast and throughout the United States.