WASHINGTON, DC – FWD.us is publishing a new report today that demonstrates how the Biden administration can continue to reduce pressure at the border by designating Temporary Protection Status (TPS) to certain countries. Notably, the study sheds new light on how TPS designations do not encourage additional irregular migration, particularly over the long term. This new historical analysis complements the latest data published yesterday by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirming encounters of Venezuelan migrants at the southwest border have not increased in the last month — an early indicator of the multiple benefits of President Biden’s recent redesignation of TPS for Venezuela.
“The research we are publishing today aligns with previous academic studies and the most recently available data: attempts to politicize TPS designations as supposed ‘pull factors’ are simply not grounded in evidence,” said Todd Schulte, President of FWD.us. “Those with TPS protections, and thus work authorizations, provide a significant contribution to our country’s workforce. At the same time, families in the home countries of TPS holders depend on remittances to stabilize their communities, and therefore also local economies, ultimately reducing incentives for more forced migration.
“While this study analyzes previous designations of TPS, it lines up with the most recent data that the substantial expansion of TPS with the redesignation for Venezuela has not led to an increase in unauthorized border crossings from the country. As the Biden administration continues seeing the positive results of its most recent TPS designations, it’s clear that combining TPS with new legal pathways and sound regional policies can significantly reduce pressure at the border and potentially lower forced migration,” added Schulte.
The study, conducted in collaboration with David Leblang of the University of Virginia and Benjamin Helms of Texas A&M University, comes as the Biden administration considers (re)designating TPS for certain countries, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Nepal.
Using previous TPS designations for El Salvador and Honduras as examples, researchers examined the trends in remittances from the U.S. to these countries before and after initial TPS designations several years ago. The models show that prior TPS designations for these two Central American countries, which permitted El Salvadorans and Hondurans to obtain work authorizations, led to increases in remittances to family members in their home countries, even within a couple of years, and remarkably more years later.
Many of the incentives, or push factors, that lead to irregular migration are reduced when remittances increase to citizens of Central American countries. Researchers found that a higher share of those satisfied with housing, healthcare, and other public goods, as well as a lower desire to migrate, is correlated with higher remittances. The analysis also shows that as per capita remittance dollars increased in El Salvador and Honduras, the predicted number of border apprehensions from these countries, controlling for other migration-related factors, precipitously dropped.
Added Phillip Connor, Senior Demographer at FWD.us: “This study clearly shows how extending work authorization to more Central Americans who are already in the U.S., through TPS, would allow them to work and send money back to family in their home countries. These remittances can have a profoundly stabilizing effect on local economies, and therefore help lower migration intentions and ultimately, reduce pressure at the border.”