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“We are human beings and we are working hard. We pay taxes and are not asking for welfare. We want to continue working for our children and for our community.”

Ana Salvadoran woman and a recipient of Temporary Protected States who has lived with her family in the United States for over 20 years.

My husband and I have been in the USA for almost twenty years, working and paying taxes and raising our children. We were young when we fled El Salvador due to gang violence. They killed almost all of the young men on our block. We realized my husband needed to flee for his life.

When we first arrived, we had nothing and were very poor. We worked at odd jobs that didn’t pay well. I was pregnant and afraid to go to the hospital because I thought they would deport me. We nearly became homeless but a church offered us a room. 

In 2001, we received TPS. I felt so happy that we could finally work without fear. My husband works for a delivery company and valet parking; my son, who is now 27 and also has TPS, works for a towing company. I make and sell pupusas after a stroke three years ago left me partially paralyzed.

We have two U.S. born children, ages 15 and 12, who have lived in the Bay Area their whole lives. 

Since the administration announced it would cancel TPS, we have been very sad and afraid. The situation in El Salvador is still very dangerous and we could be killed. It would be especially difficult for our children, who have only known life in the U.S. In El Salvador, you can’t take your kids to the park or walk around freely because of the gangs. Even scarier, if a gang member wants to date your daughter, he will give you 24 hours to hand her over. If you say no, they will kill you. This happened to my cousin’s daughter and they escaped in the night. 

“The main message that I want to share with people is this: Don’t treat us immigrants badly or insult us with bad words. We are human beings and we are working hard. We pay taxes and are not asking for welfare. We want to continue working for our children and for our community.”

TPS Context

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a provisional designation granted to immigrants in the U.S. who cannot return to their home countries due to violence, natural disasters, epidemics, or other extraordinary conditions. Since the early 1990s, TPS has allowed holders to legally work on a temporary basis.

As of February 2022, there are approximately 354,625 people with TPS from 16 countries – Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), Cameroon, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yemen.

Many TPS holders have been in the country for decades due to multiple extensions. TPS currently does not allow a person to become a permanent resident, naturalize as a U.S. citizen, or receive public benefits.

TPS for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Nepal, Haiti, Sudan was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2022, but due to the ongoing litigation and injunctions an automatic 18-month extension was granted, with protections now lasting until June 20, 2024. Still, without congressional legislation, TPS holders will continue to be treated with the loss of status and deportation. 

If TPS holders are deported, families who have been in the U.S. for decades will be torn apart. TPS countries are still deeply affected by devastating natural disasters, epidemics, and violence (conditions that are often exacerbated by U.S. policies); they are unstable and not able to reabsorb so many returnees. 

Take Action – call your senators and representatives

Let them know you are a constituent and that “I support the Dream and Promise Act, the Secure Act, and other legislation to guarantee a path to permanent residency for all TPS holders. Find your elected officials.

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