Catholic Leaders Denounce Unconscionable, Heartbreaking Decision to End TPS Designation for 200,000 Salvadorans

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Christopher White writes:

The U.S. bishops have termed the Trump administration’s decision not to renew the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation to El Salvador as “heartbreaking” and pledged to stand with Salvadoran TPS recipients as they risk being separated from their families and homes in the United States.

The decision, announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday, will force over 200,000 El Salvadorans to leave the United States or face potential deportation. DHS also announced that current TPS recipients would be allowed to stay in the U.S. until September 9, 2019 in order to make plans to return to their home country…

In an interview with Crux, Ashley Feasley, director of policy for the USCCB’s Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs said the decision on TPS is a continuation of a series of anti-immigrant policies put forth by the Trump administration.

“Today’s decision is upsetting as it seems to be a rejection of something that we know to be true – that there is extensive pervasive violence in El Salvador that currently threatens the safety of residents, and that sending people back to that will expose them to great danger – possibly even death,” said Feasley.

“It also continues a deeply disturbing pattern by this administration of eliminating existing humanitarian-based legal immigration programs that benefit hardworking immigrant families and young people who are attempting to follow our immigration laws,” she added.

A number of individual bishops have also responded to the decision:

Sister Patricia McDermott, President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, also denounced the decision:

Today’s announcement by the Trump Administration to end immigration protections for over 200,000 Salvadoran nationals, many of whom have been living in the United States for close to 20 years, represents a cruel injustice and further disregard for our nation’s professed humanitarian values and moral obligation to defend the vulnerable. The decision also affects the estimated 192,700 US-born children whose parents are losing protection—parents who now face the torturous decision whether to return to El Salvador with their children, a country consumed in violence and massive poverty, or leave them in the U.S….

The Sisters of Mercy have been calling for an immediate end to the unjust and immoral treatment of migrants and refugees, recognizing that decades of failed U.S. political and economic policies have contributed to the reasons people have fled homelands. Rather than blaming migrants and fomenting anti-immigrant sentiment that divides our nation, the Sisters have called for an end to policies that dehumanize immigrants and refugees and lead to the separation of families.

Catholic Relief Services released the following statement:

We strongly condemn today’s decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador.

Terminating TPS will tear families apart; negatively affect communities both here in the United States and in El Salvador that depend on TPS holders for economic support; and undercut the United States’ goal to reduce poverty, decrease irregular migration and promote citizen security in the region. From our experience working with the Catholic Church and other local partners in El Salvador, the Salvadoran government does not have adequate humanitarian capacity to receive, protect, or integrate back into society safely this many people.

We call on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to protect long-term TPS recipients, including 200,000 Salvadorans currently living in the United States. CRS will continue to stand with and advocate for Salvadoran TPS recipients as they face uncertain futures.

“Those protected by TPS until today are loving mothers and fathers to U.S.-born children, successful home and business owners and productive members of our communities and churches,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS vice president for Government Relations and Advocacy. “To terminate TPS is to disregard the potential human impact this decision could have on families and communities.”