Monthly Archives: October 2017

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Catholic Partners Urge DHS to Extend Temporary Protected Status for Honduras and El Salvador

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.”

Read the full letter here: https://justiceforimmigrants.org/news/catholic-partner-letter-dhs-requesting-extension-temporary-protected-status/.

2017-10-30T16:27:35+00:00Statements|

Catholic Partner Letter to DHS Requesting Extension of Temporary Protected Status

The Honorable Elaine Duke

Acting Secretary

Department of Homeland Security

Washington, DC 20528

 

RE: Extension of TPS Designation for Honduras and El Salvador

Dear Secretary Duke,

We, the undersigned, write on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS), Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) to urge you to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation of Honduras and El Salvador for 18 months. As you know, while the current TPS designation extends through January 5, 2018 for Honduras[1] and through March 9, 2018 for El Salvador,[2] pursuant to statutory requirements,[3] a decision to extend or terminate TPS for the countries must be made by November 6, 2017 and January 8, 2018, respectively. From our recent delegation trip to the region on August 13-19, 2017, our presence and work in the region and with affected communities in the U.S., we know firsthand that these countries are not currently in a position to adequately handle the return of their nationals who currently have TPS.

 

The Catholic Church’s deep concern for individuals from these countries is rooted in our experience as an immigrant church and in Catholic Social Teaching. Many of the dioceses in the United States have direct relationships of pastoral care and outreach with Hondurans and Salvadorans. And, we believe that God has called on us, as part of our life of faith, to care for the foreigner and the marginalized: “For the Lord, your God, is the God of gods, the Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who has no favorites, accepts no bribes, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving them food and clothing. So you too should love the resident alien, for that is what you were in the land of Egypt.”[4]

Bishop David O’Connell of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Bishop Vasquez of the Diocese of Austin led the USCCB’s August delegation trip to Honduras and El Salvador to express solidarity with those impacted by the imminent decisions and to assess the countries’ abilities to adequately accept and integrate individuals if TPS is terminated. As discussed in the trip report, Temporary Protected Status: A Vital Piece of the Central American Protection and Prosperity Puzzle,[5] an extension of TPS for both countries is crucial for humanitarian, regional security, and economic stability reasons.  Honduras and El Salvador lack the capacity to adequately receive, protect, and welcome TPS returnees at this time. Specifically, the delegation found that:

  • Entire families, not just children, currently face targeted violence in the countries;
  • Large numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Honduras (~174,000) and El Salvador (~220,000 – 400,000) continue to be displaced, illustrating already existing safety issues and the growing humanitarian protection challenges in both countries;
  • The Honduran government does not have the capacity at this time to adequately handle the return of nationals with TPS because it lacks knowledge of the impacted population and lacks an adequate reception, protection, and integration system for the already large numbers of IDPs and returnees (almost 70,000 in 2016); and
  • Similarly, the Salvadoran government does not currently have the capacity to adequately handle the return of its TPS population as evidenced by its failure to address citizen safety and humanitarian concerns related to its large-scale internal displacement, as well as due to its lack of an adequate reception, protection, and integration system for IDPs and annual returnees (52,560 in 2016).

Terminating TPS at this time would be inhumane and untenable. Given the current country conditions, Honduras is in no position to accommodate the return of an estimated 57,000 Hondurans who have received TPS from the United States; nor is El Salvador in any position to accommodate the return of roughly 200,000  Salvadorans. Doing so in either case would likely destabilize these key strategic, regional partners and potentially bring harm to those returned. In addition, terminating TPS would needlessly add large numbers of Hondurans and Salvadorans to the undocumented population in the U.S., lead to family separation, and unnecessarily cause the Department of Homeland Security to expend resources on individuals who are already registered with our government and whose safe return is forestalled by dire humanitarian conditions.

Based on the above facts and further analysis in our trip report, we urge you to extend the TPS designation for Honduras and El Salvador, pursuant to Section 244(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act,[6] until individuals’ return and reintegration to the two countries can be safely accomplished. This will allow Hondurans and Salvadorans to continue to legally work, contribute to U.S. communities in an authorized capacity, and maintain safe, stable lives, and human dignity for their families, many of which include U.S. citizens. We ask you to show compassion and patience as Honduras and El Salvador continue to improve their citizen security and humanitarian capacity for reception, protection, and integration.

We appreciate your consideration of this request. The Catholic Church stands 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.

Respectfully submitted,

Most Rev. Joe S. Vásquez, Chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration

Sean Callahan, President/CEO, Catholic Relief Services

Jeanne M. Atkinson, Esq., Executive Director, Catholic Legal Immigration, Network Inc. (CLINIC)

Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, President and CEO, Catholic Charities USA

Click here for a PDF Version of the letter

[1] Extension of the Designation of Honduras for Temporary Protected Status, 81 Fed. Reg. 30,331 (May 16, 2016).
[2] Extension of the Designation of El Salvador for Temporary Protected Status, 81 Fed. Reg. 44,645 (July 8, 2016).
[3] 8 U.S.C. § 1254a(b).
[4] Deut. 10:17-19, available at . http://www.usccb.org/bible/deuteronomy/10
[5] USCCB/MRS, Temporary Protected Status: A Vital Piece of the Central American Protection and Prosperity Puzzle (October 2017), available at http://www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/fact-finding-mission-reports/upload/el-salvador-honduras-report-20171016.pdf.
[6] 8 U.S.C. § 1254a(b).

 

2017-10-30T21:45:03+00:00News|

Extend TPS for the countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti

As a person of faith, and a member of Justice for Immigrants coalition, I ask that you urge the Administration to provide an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti. Additionally, I ask you to support a legislative solution in Congress that will preserve the ability of TPS recipients to continue living and working legally in the U.S. if they have lived here lawfully for many years, would face extreme hardship if deported, or are otherwise eligible for permanent residence.

Family unity is an issue of great importance to me and the larger Catholic community. If TPS is terminated, numerous families will be torn apart. The Catholic Church ministers to and serves many of these families around the country. We know that this issue affects immigrant children and U.S. citizen children alike. In fact, if TPS is terminated, approximately 270,000 U.S. citizen children will face being separated from their families. If children choose to remain with their parents and leave the U.S., they will jeopardize their bright future in the only country they know.

 

2017-10-27T22:29:59+00:00Action Alerts|

USCCB Migration And Refugee Services Release Report Recommending Extension Of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) For El Salvador And Honduras

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS), released its report today, entitled Temporary Protected Status: A Vital Piece of the Central American Protection and Prosperity Puzzle recommending the U.S. government extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador and Honduras.

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, in a letter of introduction of the report states: “As this report indicates, there is ample evidence to suggest that current TPS recipients from Honduras and El Salvador cannot return safely to their home country at this time.”

A delegation from MRS/USCCB traveled to Honduras and El Salvador, from August 13 to 19, 2017, to examine conditions in both countries regarding Honduras and El Salvador’s ability to adequately receive and integrate the possible return of existing TPS recipients. USCCB/MRS Committee Member, Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell of Los Angeles, California, led the delegation and was accompanied by MRS staff from Children’s Services, Policy and Public Affairs, and the National Collections offices.

Currently, El Salvador and Honduras have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from the U.S. government for certain nationals living in the United States, and the review of TPS is shortly to be re-evaluated by the U.S. government. It is estimated that there are approximately 200,000 current TPS recipients from El Salvador and 57,000 TPS recipients from Honduras living in the United States. TPS recipients living in the United States are parents to over 270,000 U.S. citizen children and are very integrated into American daily life.

Bishop Vásquez states in his introductory letter: “As you read this report, I urge you to keep the people of El Salvador and Honduras, including TPS recipients, in your thoughts and prayers. I encourage you to engage the Administration in requesting a TPS extension for El Salvador and Honduras . . . and to reach out to your elected Congressional leaders to request they support a legislative solution for TPS recipients who have been in the United States for many years.”

Resources and information about Temporary Protected Status and the report are available on the Justice for Immigrants website www.justiceforimmigrants.org. The information includes a backgrounder on the temporary protected status and a toolkit for Catholic leaders that offers ideas on how to show their support and solidarity with TPS recipients.

The full text of the report can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/fact-finding-mission-reports/upload/el-salvador-honduras-report-20171016.pdf.

2017-10-19T09:34:10+00:00News|

Migration Campaign Action Alert: DACA

Pope Francis has called on us to pray and provide support for our brothers and sisters who are migrants and refugees through the historic campaign, Share the Journey. Follow his call by speaking out on behalf of young people in our communities who are facing an uncertain future because of the Administration’s recent decision to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Currently, there are approximately 800,000 young people who are face the loss of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections, which include work authorization and protection from deportation. DACA youth and the larger DREAMer community need legislative protection from Congress to ensure that they are not deported from the only home they have ever known. This week, your members of Congress need to hear from you that you care about DREAMers. Send a message to your members of Congress now urging passage of the DREAM Act quickly so as not to uproot the lives of so many young people who’ve made enormous contributions to our communities and our economy.

2017-10-10T16:14:02+00:00Action Alerts|

U.S. Bishop Chairman Statement on Immigration Principles and Need for Congressional Action to Protect Dreamers

WASHINGTON—On Sunday evening, the White House released Immigration Principles and Policies that are a proposed list of priorities to be considered when working on legislative protection for Dreamers. Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the Committee on Migration, issued the following statement urging Congress to “ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all.”

Full statement follows:

“The Administration’s Immigration Principles and Policies do not provide the way forward for comprehensive immigration reform rooted in respect for human life and dignity, and for the security of our citizens. They are not reflective of our country’s immigrant past, and they attack the most vulnerable, notably unaccompanied children and many others who flee persecution. Most unfortunately, the principles fail to recognize that the family is the fundamental building block of our immigration system, our society, and our Church.

“Since July, Congress has introduced legislative solutions for Dreamers, including the Dream Act. The Administration should focus attention on ensuring that a legislative solution for Dreamers is found as soon as possible. Every day that passes without that solution, these youth experience growing apprehension for their futures and their families. Each passing day brings us all a step closer to March 2018, when DACA recipients will begin to lose legal work privileges, and far worse, face the threat of deportation and family separation.

“For this reason, we exhort Congress to take up legislation and move forward promptly to ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all. Together with so many others of good will, we shall continue to offer welcome and support to these remarkable young people, and we shall not stop advocating for their permanent protection and eventual citizenship.”

2017-10-10T15:48:50+00:00Statements|