(Photo courtesy/Walter Barrientos)
New Yorkers, including 25 from Long Island, rallied at the United Nations on Monday to defend Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which has helped thousands from a variety of countries escape political turmoil and natural disasters in their homeland.
The Trump administration has called for an end to TPS, a move that would affect 435,000 people across the United States from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
Previously, the federal government has renewed each country’s TPS for 18 months. This summer, however, TPS for Haitians, who were granted the status after the 2010 earthquake, was renewed for only six months, until January 2018.
Until they can return to their homeland, TPS recipients can legally work and live in the United States.
Also on Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would be ending TPS for Sudan in November 2018. Protections for South Sudan will extend until May 2019.
Walter Barrientos, Long Island organizing director for Make the Road New York, protested at the U.N. with fellow Long Islanders to press world leaders to hear their pleas, so that TPS recipients can feel safe in a nation many now call home.
“We’re here to demand – with people not just from central America, but also some folks from African countries that are protected by TPS – to demand that it be renewed,” Barrientos said.
Ending the program deals another blow to immigrants who are already living in a state of fear after the recent announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
“As both a DACA recipient and the son of a Salvadoran TPS recipient, I know firsthand the power of coming out of the shadows as an immigrant, and the risk when that opportunity is only temporary,” said Cristian Vasquez, DACA recipient who works at Central American Legal Assistance, speaking with Make the Road.
“As we face the risk of losing our work permits, and our protection from deportation, I am obliged to remind all that while my father and I may not be Americans on paper, the standards, liberties and rights of this country run through our veins,” Vasquez said.
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