May 04, 2018

Cardin Says Trump Administration’s Honduras TPS Decision Based on Politics, not Policy

Senator renews call for passage of his legislation to grant legal residency to TPS holders in U.S.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Friday after the Trump Administration announced it was ending Temporary Protected Status for Honduran nationals living in the United States:

“Each successive immigration action by the Trump Administration further confirms that such decisions are made solely with regard to politics and satisfying the president’s base, and not about security, economics, or human rights.

“Almost 60,000 Honduran nationals live in the United States under TPS, including about 2,000 Marylanders, with about 1,300 American citizen children. I am distressed to think about what will happen to these families, their local communities, and the Maryland and American economies after they lose their status, their jobs, and are forced to return to a country many of them do not know. Maryland alone would lose about $90 million from our state GDP without the Honduran workers who currently hold TPS.

“This latest DHS decision is contrary to what our diplomats on the ground in Honduras have recommended. I have seen documentation indicating U.S. Embassy Tegucigalpa recommended to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security that the Administration renew, not cancel, TPS for Honduran nationals in the U.S. The facts on the ground are indisputable -- Honduras is one of the most dangerous, economically weak countries in the world, with rampant crime, human rights abuses carried out by security sector officials, and widespread impunity. It is a willful disengagement from reality to believe that Honduras can safely absorb tens of thousands of new residents. In fact, doing so would only provide an influx of new targets for the country’s criminals. It is squarely in the U.S. national security interest to help secure, not further destabilize, countries in Central America.

“The Administration’s political decisions to end TPS for Hondurans, El Salvadorans, and Haitians in the U.S. worsens our national security and injects unnecessary fear and uncertainty into American families.

“It is time for the Senate to take up and pass S. 2144, legislation I introduced with Senators Van Hollen and Feinstein to provide a pathway to legal permanent residency for TPS holders in the United States. These individuals have lived here for decades, contribute to our economy, and many have American citizen children. It’s the right thing to do.”

Background on Senator Cardin’s TPS efforts:

Last month, Senator Cardin co-led a letter to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security urging an extension of TPS for Honduran nationals in the U.S. In January, Senator Cardin wrote a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen requesting an 18-month extension of the existing Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for nearly 200,000 Salvadoran nationals currently living in the United States. In November 2017, he requested documentation from the State Department regarding their TPS decision-making process.

Additionally, along with Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Cardin has introduced S. 2144, the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency (SECURE) Act. This legislation would allow qualified Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients to apply for legal permanent residency. A one-page summary of the legislation can be found here. The text of the bill can be found here.

###