For Immediate Release: November 2, 2017
Cities for Action leaders call on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State to extend Temporary Protected Status for Hondurans and Nicaraguans
WASHINGTON – A coalition of 32 mayors and county executives released a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling on them to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hondurans and Nicaraguans as the deadline approaches to announce TPS determinations for these countries.
The letter discusses the TPS holders’ significant civic and economic contributions to their local communities. Ending TPS, the elected officials write, would separate families and negatively impact their cities, since many Honduran and Nicaraguan TPS recipients have called them home for almost two decades.
The TPS Program provides permission to reside and work in the United States to the nationals of designated countries who are living in the United States and cannot safely return to their home countries because of temporary dangerous conditions there. TPS is renewed typically at 18-month intervals, by assessing whether such conditions have persisted to the point of preventing the safe return of these nationals. The letter points out that over the past two decades, Honduras and Nicaragua have experienced successive natural disasters, which have in turn exacerbated public health crises, economic decline, and public safety concerns. There are currently 57,000 Honduran and 2,550 Nicaraguan TPS recipients in the United States.
The mayors and county executives who have signed today’s letter to Secretaries Duke and Tillerson are part of Cities for Action, a coalition of over 175 cities and counties that are committed to driving the national debate on immigration policies and integrating immigrants through best practices at the municipal level.
“One of the reasons Everett was named one of the top ten spots to live is because we are the most diverse community in Massachusetts. Diversity is our strength and many of our immigrants come from Honduras and Nicaragua. Extending Temporary Protection Status is good for the City of Everett, needed to protect our most vulnerable residents and the right thing to do.” - Everett Mayor Mayor Carlo DeMaria
"I stand with my fellow mayors to call on the Administration to extend TPS for the Honduran and Nicaraguan community. We cannot make members of our community return to countries that have yet to fully recover from natural disasters, in effect forcing them back to dangerous and unstable conditions. There is only one choice. The Administration must provide a full, 18-month extension of TPS." –New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
“Our Nicaraguan and Honduran TPS recipients have made this country their home. To turn them away now, after so many years, back to dangerous circumstances is un-American. I am proud to stand with my fellow Mayors and take action to show our support of immigrant and refugee communities in all our cities.” – Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney
“Extending this status to Hondurans and Nicaraguans is in keeping with the best ideals of American foreign policy: to protect innocent people who cannot return to their native lands. This is critically important now as those nations address internal strife. I urge the Secretaries to do the right thing and protect these people who cannot return home.” – Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner
Below is the full text of the letter from Cities for Action:
The Honorable Rex Tillerson
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
The Honorable Elaine Duke
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20528
November 2, 2017
Dear Acting Secretary Duke and Secretary Tillerson:
On behalf of the approximately 57,000 Honduran and 2,550 Nicaraguan recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) living in the U.S., we urge you to extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras and Nicaragua before it expires on January 5th, 2018.
Our cities stand to lose greatly if TPS designations for Honduras or Nicaragua are terminated. Honduran and Nicaraguan TPS recipients contribute to our communities and economies with the help of TPS. According to a report from the Center for American Progress, the U.S. would lose an estimated $31.3 billion from its GDP over a decade without Honduran workers who hold TPS. TPS holders are our neighbors, our coworkers, local small business owners, and members of our religious communities. TPS recipients participate in the labor force at high rates, own homes and hold mortgages, and are long-time residents of this country with citizen spouses and children. Indeed, more than half of all TPS recipients have lived here for more than two decades. These productive members of society are also among those that have submitted to the highest levels of security screening and vetting. In order to remain eligible, TPS holders undergo criminal background checks every 18 months.
Moreover, current conditions in Honduras and Nicaragua clearly demonstrate that neither country is in a position to safely absorb thousands of people. We cannot conscionably send members of our communities to danger. Since 1998, when Hurricane Mitch killed 10,000 individuals across Central America devastating the region and giving rise to TPS designations for Honduras and Nicaragua, these countries have faced successive natural disasters, which have in turn exacerbated public health crises, economic decline, and public safety concerns.
Our Honduran and Nicaraguan communities have called upon us, their local leaders, to help ensure that they and their family members are not forced to return to conditions that will endanger their lives and livelihoods, in countries that simply cannot safely receive them.
As you render a decision on the futures of Honduran and Nicaraguan TPS recipients, we offer a pragmatic perspective informed by our position as local government leaders. The forced departure of tens of thousands of Honduran and Nicaraguan TPS recipients from our communities would deprive us of hardworking, upstanding members of our societies, would needlessly tear apart fathers and mothers from their U.S. born children, and would subject these families to unstable and unsafe conditions in countries that cannot absorb them.
Ed Pawlowski, Mayor of Allentown, PA
William A. Bell, Mayor of Birmingham, AL
Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of Boston, MA
E. Denise Simmons, Mayor of Cambridge, MA
Lydia E. Lavelle, Mayor of Carrboro, NC
Thomas G. Ambrosino, City Manager of Chelsea, MA
Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, IL
Mary Casillas Salas, Mayor of Chula Vista, CA
Clay Jenkins, County Judge of Dallas County, TX
Riley H. Rogers, Mayor of Dolton, IL
William V. “Bill” Bell, Mayor of Durham, NC
Carlo DeMaria, Mayor of Everett, MA
Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor of Gary, IN
Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, CA
Paul R. Soglin, Mayor of Madison, WI
Tomas Regalado, Mayor of Miami, FL
Isiah Leggett, County Executive of Montgomery County, MD
Megan Barry, Mayor of Nashville, TN
Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, NY
Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland, CA
Buddy Dyer, Mayor of Orlando, FL
Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia, PA
Adrian O. Mapp, Mayor of Plainfield, NJ
Rushern L. Baker, III, County Executive of Prince George’s County, MD
Liz Lempert, Mayor of Princeton, NJ
Christopher B. Coleman, Mayor of Saint Paul, MN
Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio, TX
Ted Winterer, Mayor of Santa Monica, CA
Stephanie A. Miner, Mayor of Syracuse, NY
Sarah Eckhardt, County Executive of Travis County, TX
Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington, DC
Jim Provenza, County Supervisor of Yolo County, CA