WASHINGTON—On October 30, 2017, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, joined representatives of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) in sending a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Elaine Duke, urging an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Honduras and El Salvador.
TPS is a temporary, renewable, and statutorily authorized immigration status that allows individuals to remain and work lawfully in the U.S. during a period in which it is deemed unsafe for nationals of that country to return home.
The current designation for both countries is set to expire shortly, but, as noted by the letter’s signatories, “[t]erminating TPS at this time would be inhumane and untenable.” In the letter, the partners shared insights from the recent USCCB/Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) delegation trip to El Salvador and Honduras, and Catholic partners’ work in the region and with affected communities in the U.S., when explaining that the countries are not currently in a position to adequately handle return of their nationals who have TPS.
As discussed in the USCCB/MRS trip report, Temporary Protected Status: A Vital Piece of the Central American Protection and Prosperity Puzzle, an extension of TPS for both countries is crucial for humanitarian, regional security, and economic stability reasons. Consequently, the partners urged Secretary Duke to extend TPS for Honduras and El Salvador until individuals can return and reintegrate into their countries safely. They also reiterated the Church’s commitment to “stand ready to support measures to protect the well-being and dignity of Honduran and Salvadoran families as the two countries are on the path to reform, addressing citizen security and building protection infrastructure.”