Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders have been living and working in the United States for decades: building their families, and contributing to their communities and our nation’s economy. However, as the Trump Administration announced the termination of TPS designations for six countries, a mere extension for four countries, and a phase-out of Deferred Enforcement Departure (or DED) for one, the lives of these individuals have been thrown into chaos. Without action from Congress, these individuals could be thrust back into danger and disarray, facing a future that is uncertain and even deadly. Ending TPS protections for these hundreds of thousands of people without providing them a form of alternative relief is a dangerous and unnecessary action that will have devastating consequences on American communities and the U.S. economy.
1. WHAT IS TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS (TPS)?
Temporary Protected Status was established by Congress as part of the Immigration Act of 1990. It grants legal status — including the right to work and protection from deportation — to people from designated countries fleeing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary circumstances that prevent them from safely returning to their home countries.
2. WHO ARE TPS HOLDERS?
TPS holders live in all 50 states. Over 80 percent of current holders participate in the workforce. They pay taxes, own homes, and are significant contributors to the US economy. Eligibility requirements are strict and non-transferable.
3. HOW MANY TPS HOLDERS ARE THERE?
There are currently 437,000 individuals with TPS living in the United States, in addition to their 273,000 U.S. citizen children.
4. HOW DO TPS HOLDERS CONTRIBUTE TO AMERICAN COMMUNITIES AND THE ECONOMY?
TPS holders have labor force participation rates over 80% and help drive crucial economic industries such as child care, education, restaurant and other food services, healthcare, construction, landscaping, and grocery store sectors. Removing hundreds of thousands of these individuals from the U.S. workforce would harm the American economy.
Economic Costs of ending TPS for El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti
- $164 billion loss of U.S. GDP over the next decade
- $3.1 billion cost to taxpayers if these individuals are deported
- $967 million in turnover costs
- $6.9 billion decrease in Social Security and Medicare contributions over a decade.
5. WHY HAS THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TERMINATED TPS FOR SO MANY HARDWORKING INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE LIVED IN THE US FOR DECADES?
The Trump Administration claims publicly that conditions in countries they have terminated TPS for have improved and these nationals can now safely return to their home countries. However, the reality is that these countries remain dangerously unsettled, and the U.S. State Department warns Americans against traveling to these nations. Leaked email communications between Administration officials from earlier this year show that honest assessments of conditions in these countries were overridden by pre-determined, politically motivated commitments to ending the program.
6. WHAT NOW?
Congress must pass permanent protections for TPS holders and stop playing political games with these people’s lives.