For Immediate Release: January 3, 2018
BIPARTISAN MAYORS ISSUE LETTER URGING THE ADMINISTRATION TO EXTEND TPS FOR EL SALVADOR
Cities for Action leaders call on the Trump Administration to extend TPS for Salvadorans ahead of January 8 deadline
WASHINGTON –With the January 8 deadline looming, 19 mayors and municipal leaders issued a letter today to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson imploring them to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) by 18 months for Salvadorans who cannot safely return to El Salvador.
Cities for Action mayors and county leaders represent most of the estimated 195,000 Salvadoran TPS holders nationwide. In the letter the local leaders emphasize the social, economic, and cultural contributions of Salvadoran TPS recipients to their localities, as well as the dire conditions that persist in El Salvador. TPS recipients from El Salvador have lived in the United States for an average of 21 years and they contribute over $3 billion to the US GDP. Ending TPS, the elected officials write, would callously send many of our long-time community members back to a country that struggles to address basic infrastructural needs and cannot safely absorb its nationals. Any decision to terminate or wind down TPS for El Salvador would needlessly divide families and put long-time residents in danger.
About Cities for Action
The mayors and county executives who have signed today’s letter to Secretaries Nielsen 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.
See below for quotes from signatories:
“The people of El Salvador have suffered tremendously in their homeland in recent years. The City of Houston has welcomed them with open arms. We continue to do so, and El Salvadoreans have contributed profoundly to our culture and our economy. We ask that Temporary Protected Status be extended so El Salvadoreans can safely remain in Houston.” - Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner
“Americans do not want to turn their backs on people who have fled horrific circumstances and begun building lives in the United States. The Administration should extend TPS for El Salvador, so that thousands of our neighbors don’t face the anguish of worrying that they — or their children — are at risk for violence.” - Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
“I stand shoulder to shoulder with Mayors across the country and the 4,000 Salvadoran New Yorkers with TPS to call for an 18-month extension. When their country was hit by a natural disaster, these individuals took refuge in our city and have since become deeply embedded in our economy, houses of worship, schools and neighborhoods. Not only that, but over 3,500 U.S.-born children live in families with a Salvadoran TPS recipient. It would be callous and cruel to rip these productive residents from their homes to force them back to a country that is experiencing tremendous violence and instability.” – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
“TPS recipients are our friends, neighbors, classmates, and colleagues. In Washington, DC and in cities across the country, Salvadorans own businesses, lead our communities, and make tremendous contributions to our economy. Many Salvadorans have legally lived and worked in the U.S. for nearly two decades; they have built lives and careers in the U.S., and, for many, their children know no other home. Since 2001, the U.S. has continued to renew El Salvador’s TPS designation, recognizing that the country is still not ready to successfully and safely receive tens of thousands of people. Today, I am proud to join mayors and county officials from across the country in urging the Trump Administration to help build a safer, stronger country by extending El Salvador's Temporary Protected Status." - Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser
Below is the full text of the letter from Cities for Action:
The Honorable Kirstjen Nielsen
Secretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20528
The Honorable Rex Tillerson
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
January 3, 2018
Dear Secretary Nielsen and Secretary Tillerson:
We, the undersigned mayors and county executives, urge you to renew El Salvador’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation before it comes due for extension on January 8, 2018. We write on behalf of our communities as well as Cities for Action, a national coalition of more than 175 cities and counties that advocate for policies that protect and support our immigrant residents. Most of the estimated 195,000 Salvadoran TPS holders live in metropolitan areas that are represented in our coalition. As local officials, it is our obligation to ensure all of our residents’ safety and well-being, including those of immigrants and their families. We are gravely concerned that failure to renew El Salvador’s TPS designation will harm hundreds of thousands of people in our communities.
Congress created TPS for circumstances in which a country’s conditions are too dangerous to permit the safe return of a group of nationals, and El Salvador is a textbook example of such conditions. El Salvador was first designated for TPS status by the Bush Administration in 2001, after two devastating earthquakes. Its designation has been renewed at every juncture since because subsequent natural disasters have impeded the country’s recovery and have given rise to unstable living conditions, including drought, housing shortages, poverty, and water shortages. In the security vacuum left by a government that struggles to address even its most basic infrastructural needs, violence and crime ravage the country. Activity by brutal gangs such as 18th Street and MS-13 is widespread, armed robbery is common, and the country has one of the world’s highest murder rates. As the State Department human rights report from 2017 noted, one in five families in El Salvador claims to have been victims of violent crimes. Women and children have been particularly vulnerable to endemic sexual abuse and gender-based violence.
The Salvadoran TPS recipients we represent have deep roots in our communities. Allowing their TPS status to expire will divide families and harm our cities. Salvadoran TPS recipients have lived in the United States for an average of 21 years and have 192,700 U.S.-born children. Salvadoran TPS recipients have an extremely high rate of participation in the labor force—88%. They contribute over $3 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Of households with a Salvadoran TPS recipient, 34% have a mortgage. Our long-time Salvadoran residents are integral members of our neighborhoods and our cities depend on their critical contributions.
Ending TPS would send many of our long-time Salvadoran residents back to a country that cannot adequately handle the return of its nationals. Their removal would also harm hundreds of thousands of Americans, particularly their U.S. citizen children, as well as their neighbors, coworkers, and employers. We call upon the federal government to renew El Salvador’s TPS designation for 18 months and protect our hardworking community members.
We urge you to continue protecting these longstanding members of our societies, who contribute so much to our communities and economies.
Ed Pawlowski, Mayor of Allentown, PA
Steve Hogan, Mayor of Aurora, CO
Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of Boston, MA
Lydia Lavelle, Mayor of Carrboro, NC
Thomas G. Ambrosino, City Manager of Chelsea, MA
Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, IL
Michael S. Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas, TX
Riley H. Rogers, Mayor of Dolton, IL
Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston, TX
Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles, CA
Paul R. Soglin, Mayor of Madison, WI
Megan Barry, Mayor of Nashville, TN
Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, NY
Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland, CA
Christopher B. Coleman, Mayor of Saint Paul, MN
Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San José, CA
Ted Winterer, Mayor of Santa Monica, CA
Joseph A. Curtatone, Mayor of Somerville, MA
Muriel Bowser, Mayor of Washington, D.C.