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Statement of Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, National Immigrant Justice Center

The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) condemns the Trump administration’s reckless decision to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians living in the United States. Nearly 50,000 people now face the threat of being forced to leave behind the lives they have built here and return to a country still struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake, massive hurricanes, and a cholera epidemic. Together with the termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and TPS for Nicaragua and Sudan, the Trump administration has taken lawful status from nearly one million people. These decisions are guided not by the law or sound analysis of the need for these programs to continue, but by hate-fueled politics and a desire to deport as many immigrants as possible. Congress must now act to uphold American values and prevent human and economic devastation to our country.

More than 90 percent of the more than 300,000 TPS recipients nationally are from Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. All of these countries lack capacity and resources to safely and sustainably accept the forced return of TPS recipients. Haiti, which has suffered repeated environmental disasters since a 2010 earthquake, including Hurricane Irma in September 2017, suffers ongoing food, housing, and public health crises. El Salvador and Honduras remain besieged by economic and security crises which have forced many to flee and seek refuge in the United States and other countries. The administration is due to make decisions about whether to extend El Salvador’s TPS designation by January 8 and about Honduras’s by July 5, 2018. NIJC calls on the U.S. government to stop turning its back on TPS holders who have made their homes in our communities, and on Congress to ensure none of these individuals are cast out and exiled to countries that are not prepared to safely accept them.

TPS in Illinois:

Illinois is home to 1,800 TPS recipients and their 1,900 U.S. citizen children. With the termination of TPS, Illinois will lose $95.1 million GDP annually as hardworking, taxpaying TPS recipients are thrown out of the economy. Nearly 2,000 U.S. citizen children across Illinois face not only their parents’ job loss, but also the threat of deportation and permanent separation from their mothers and fathers.

NIJC urges individuals who may be affected by the termination of TPS to take time to understand their rights and to contact trustworthy immigration legal service providers to find out whether they have an opportunity to seek alternative immigration status. In Illinois and Indiana, individuals may apply for legal consultations at NIJC.