States campaign for bill to allow TPS beneficiaries to remain in U.S.
SACRAMENTO – Today, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, in coalition with 18 states and the District of Columbia, called on congressional leaders to protect long-time residents of the United States from being forced to return to dangerous or uncertain conditions in El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and other countries. In a letter led by D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine, the state Attorneys General urged Congress to pass a bill allowing recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to receive lawful permanent resident status.
“California is stronger because we welcome immigrants who want nothing more than to work hard, respect America and build a better life for their children,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Families from El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and other countries have lived in the United States—some for decades—since fleeing instability, violence, and disaster in their countries of origin. The recent decision by the Trump Administration to force these families to return to countries that are still dangerous according to Trump’s own State Department is backwards and against the principles that the United States stands for. I join my fellow Attorneys General in calling on Congress to find a permanent solution that supports hardworking immigrants and protects lawful TPS recipients who have played by the rules in California.”
TPS, well-established under federal law, allows individuals from countries experiencing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary conditions which foreclose safe return to live and work legally in the United States. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate countries for TPS for periods lasting from 6 to 18 months. These periods may be extended if the dangerous conditions in TPS recipients’ countries of origin do not show sufficient improvement.
Recently, the Secretary of Homeland Security decided to terminate TPS designations for Haiti and El Salvador. In the wake of the deadly January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Haitians were granted TPS status, allowing them temporary protection from a fragile economy, infrastructure, government and health system. In 2001, El Salvadorians were granted TPS status, following a series of natural disasters and ensuing economic and political crises. Previous presidential administrations renewed TPS designations for these countries based on continuing dangers to returning nationals; these conditions have not significantly improved.
In addition to California and the District of Columbia, the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai'i, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington state signed the letter. A copy of the letter is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.