Congress created Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to provide protection from deportation and work authorization to individuals from designated countries that face unsafe conditions in their home countries due to armed conflict, natural disasters, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. The program offers deportation protection and work authorization for individuals in the U.S. Many TPS holders are deeply ingrained into American families and communities and live with hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens.
The Trump administration attempted to terminate TPS designations for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Nepal, but federal courts blocked these attempts, stalling their terminations and allowing current TPS holders from those countries to retain their TPS protections through auto-extension. On June 13, 2023, the Biden administration announced a rescission of the prior administration’s terminations and an extension of TPS for these four countries. However, they did not issue redesignations, excluding many people from these nations who have been forced to flee their countries over the past two decades.
The Biden administration has a unique opportunity to build on their successful use of the crucial TPS tool and redesignate TPS for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Nepal and provide a new TPS designation for Guatemala—an overlooked neighboring Central American country that also meets the statutory requirements for the program. Each of these countries faces extraordinary human rights challenges, widespread violence, or recent climate-related events that warrant immediate TPS redesignations and in the case of Guatemala a new TPS designation. Expanding TPS protections to more people from these countries who are already in the United States will keep hundreds of thousands of individuals and families safe, fuel stability and economic growth, support welcoming communities, and stabilize forced migration.
TPS holders and TPS-eligible individuals have lived an average of 14 years in the U.S., raising families and contributing enormously to local communities across the country by providing businesses with employees with critical skills and expertise. FWD.us estimates that TPS-eligible individuals, including current TPS holders, contribute some $22 billion in wages to the U.S. economy each year and work in more than 600,000 jobs, filling important gaps in an economy with persistent labor shortages. Further, the current labor market participation rates of current long-term TPS holders from El Salvador (82%) and Honduras (85%) are significantly higher than the U.S. general public (63%).