A “fact-finding mission” from Massachusetts, which includes Congressman Jim McGovern and Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, is heading to Honduras as part of a US legal and legislative agenda aimed at improving the amnesty and immigration application processes for individuals originating from Honduras and El Salvador. Without much faith in the honesty of the executive administrations of the US, Honduras or El Salvador, these Masachusetts politicians have taken it upon themselves to find answers.
“There are an estimated 7,000 TPS holdersfrom Honduras and El Salvador living in Massachusetts. The federal humanitarian program allows certain immigrants to live in the U.S. temporarily without fear of deportation following natural disasters, public health epidemics or amid civil war in their native countries.
El Salvador became eligible for TPS following a series of earthquakes in 2001 while Honduras received TPS designation after being hit by a massive hurricane in 1998. The temporary status for each of the countries was routinely renewed under previous administrations. This year, the Trump administration announced the program for both nations will be terminated. TPS for El Salvadorexpires in September 2019, and Hondurasloses TPS designation in January 2020.
The federal government instructed TPS holders from these countries to explore other legal means of staying in the country or to make arrangements to leave the U.S. when their temporary status expires. Immigrant advocates have argued that ending TPS for these countries will mean separating parents from their U.S.-born children. And they argue ending legal work authorization for TPS holders will have serious financial consequences for business and homeowners, some of whom have lived legally in the U.S. for more than a decade.
Boston-based advocates Centro Presente and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice filed a lawsuit earlier this year alleging the Trump administration’s decision to end TPS for El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti was based on racism — not on policy requirements. The federal government asked for the case to be dismissed, but a judge in Boston federal court agreed to hear the suit. Lawyers are due back in court in September.“