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TPS Visa, the story behind Temporary Protected Status

Vienna, VA- The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) began as a way to give asylum to those who came from foreign nations. The United States Department of Homeland Security qualified specific nations to allow for their citizens to receive asylum at a time of national hardship. Refugees who came from “an ongoing armed conflict” such as a civil war, an environmental disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane and other “extraordinary conditions” which made it necessary to flee a country for the sake of finding a haven received TPS status. The Immigration Act of 1990 enacted by then-President George H.W. Bush allowed for the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant asylum to a reserved number of immigrants from different parts of the world. Some countries which are eligible for TPS included: El- Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Nepal, Syria, Nicaragua, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, and South Sudan.

Out of the total 190,000 El-Salvadorian TPS cardholders who were granted asylum by the Department of Homeland Security, there are approximately 32,359 cardholders located in Washington D.C., 30,415 cardholders situated in Los Angeles, and 23,168 card holders situated in New York (Celpa). Honduran TPS holders live mostly in the New York (8,818), Miami (7,467) and Houston (6,060) metropolitan areas. Haitian TPS holders live mainly in Miami (16,287), New York (9,402), Boston (4,302) and other urban areas.

Since TPS is a Temporary Protected Status Program, there are varying expiration dates for each immigrant received with a TPS visa. The expiration date for TPS cardholders from El-Salvador is Sep. 9, 2019 in which TPS initially began on March 9, 2001. The expiration date for TPS cardholders from Honduras is Jan. 1, 2020 in which TPS began on Jan. 5, 1999. The expiration date for TPS visa holders from Nicaragua is Jan. 5, 2019. TPS members were granted asylum on Jan. 5, 1999 (Cepla).

The program helped those who needed it during a time of national conflict and hardship. The program, however, is not designed to allow for permanent residence.

Time is running out for many South and Central American people. Most, if not all, the people who traveled to the States for sanctuary have made the States their home, built lives and families here.

Employers and companies who hired those who received a TPS visa will suffer losses in productivity as a swift employment drop is apparent in the following months. The lack of workers will affect manufacturing industries, food industries, financial industries, and more. Time will tell how these companies, these people, and the nation will carry on as implementation of these changes continue.

Hundreds protested outside of the White House and all over Washington D.C. to protect TPS and prolong the service. More than 300,000 migrants were granted TPS over the last 29 years. In the 29 years available to TPS visa holders, the United States judicial system remained unchanged and relied on the temporary solution as a final solution (AFSC).

There were no safeguards placed for when the expiration date came for those holding TPS visas. Troubles began in the United States as the system which determined citizenship and immigration status relied on temporary solutions and continued ignoring the possibility of issues re-emerging. In reality, migration is one of the most overlooked aspects of the nation. Many administrations had discussed the possibility of amnesty for those who paid taxes and worked for a set amount of years while residing inside the United States (Amnesty International).

Amnesty might be an option to consider. Grandfather those who received TPS visas and discontinue the service to reform a crippled immigration system. Some people in this nation waited more than a decade to earn their citizenship status. The system is broken and needs a more sustainable solution to filter through the politically charged topic of immigration.

By Alexander Fernandez