BALTIMORE, MD (March 13, 2018) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a coalition of 19 states and the District of Columbia in a letter urging congressional leaders to protect long-time residents of the United States from being forced to return to dangerous conditions in their native countries. The letter urges Congress to pass legislation allowing recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from Haiti, El Salvador and other nations to adjust to permanent resident status.
“Our immigrant communities have been subjected to relentless attacks by the Trump Administration” said Attorney General Frosh. “The United States is home to hundreds of thousands of families who have benefited from the Temporary Protected Status program. These are families who call the United States home, contribute billions of dollars to our nation’s economy, raise families and build businesses. Congress should act quickly to protect these families and pass legislation that provides them permanent resident status.”
Federal law provides for TPS, which offers temporary lawful status to foreign nationals in the United States from countries experiencing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary conditions that temporarily prevent their safe return. The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a particular country for TPS for periods of 6 to 18 months, and can extend these
periods if conditions do not improve sufficiently in the designated country.
Recently, the Secretary of Homeland Security decided to terminate TPS designations for Haiti and El Salvador. Haitians were granted TPS status in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti and devastated the nation’s already-fragile economy, infrastructure, government and health system. El Salvadorians were granted TPS status in 2001, following a series of natural disasters and ensuing economic and political crises. The designations have been renewed regularly for both groups because previous presidential administrations have found the countries could not ensure sufficient safety for returning nationals.
Each of the states whose attorney general joined the letter is home to thousands of people who were not able to return to their home countries because of natural disasters or armed conflicts.
Over the intervening years and decades, these foreign nationals have become integral members of their communities, having bought homes, started businesses, married, and had children who
are U.S. citizens.
“The thousands of TPS beneficiaries who reside in our states are long-time residents who have made substantial contributions to our communities and economies,” the letter notes, adding that
TPS beneficiaries have more than 275,000 U.S.-born children and contribute more than $4.5 billion to the United States’ gross domestic product.
The termination of TPS for these nations will put hundreds of thousands of people in the difficult position of choosing whether to return to their countries of origin, with or without their children,
when their home countries may not be in the position to receive them.
In addition to Maryland, the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington state signed the letter.