Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, with more than 20 colleagues, today sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke urging the Trump administration to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nationals from Honduras and El Salvador living in the United States, who are contributing to the U.S. economy, paying taxes, and supporting their families. TPS allows individuals from countries with unsafe conditions, such as an ongoing armed conflict or a recent natural disaster, to stay in the United States and work legally. The designations are set to expire in January and March, respectively.
"Currently, approximately 200,000 Salvadorans and approximately 61,000 Hondurans live and work lawfully in the United States as recipients of TPS," the senators wrote. "These individuals are registered with DHS with biometric data on file. TPS beneficiaries are making valuable contributions to the U.S. economy...Salvadoran and Honduran beneficiaries, who are legally-sanctioned workers, provide important support to the U.S. construction industry, and these hard-working individuals will be essential contributors to the rebuilding efforts after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma."
The senators also highlighted the unique conditions in Honduras and El Salvador, which provide a clear basis for TPS extension, including limited resources, high levels of violence, and widespread poverty. They stressed that sending tens of thousands of individuals back to these countries would have further destabilizing consequences.
"At a time when the U.S. is making our own investments to support security, stability and prosperity in Central America through foreign assistance and diplomatic engagement, a decision to not renew the TPS designation for these two countries would undercut the very strategic objectives we seek to achieve in Central America," the senators wrote.
A copy of the letter is available HERE.