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Immigrant Rights Activists To Rally In Support Of TPS Protections On Saturday

Demonstrators at the 2017 May Day rally. (Photo by Julia Wick/LAist)
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On Saturday, immigrants rights activists will rally in support of Temporary Protected Status and stand in solidarity with Haitian TPS recipients who are at imminent risk of losing their status. Many of the activists themselves are recipients of TPS.

Temporary Protected Status, or TPS as it is commonly known, is a form of temporary U.S. immigration status that has been in place since 1990. TPS status allows an individual to temporarily remain in the U.S. when conditions in their native country would prevent them from safely returning home, most often due to war or natural disasters. There are 13 countries around the world currently designated for TPS; the list in includes El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Syria, Sudan, and Haiti. Although their status is temporary and must be renewed every 18 months, as long as it remains valid TPS beneficiaries are not deportable from the U.S. and can obtain work authorization permits.

Salvadorans have been eligible for TPS status since 2001, and the program has had an enormous impact in Los Angeles, which is home to the largest concentration of Salvadorans of any city in the U.S.

Like several other programs of its kind, the future of TPS remains in doubt under the Trump administration. "Unfortunately, we've heard from General Kelly himself about the uncertain future of Temporary Protected Status," Martha Arévalo, executive director of the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) told LAist. "Particularly, he's made comments and some decisions around the Haitian community, where they have given them six more months—with the message that people should prepare, and then after six months the program will end. He has said in some media interviews that fate of Central American communities with TPS could be similar to that of the Haitian community, which is very worrisome in terms of the reality and the lives of hundreds of thousands of people."

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In May, when the status of Haitian TPS was up for renewal, the administration opted to renew it for just six more months as opposed to the standard 18 months, and urged Haitians to prepare for their status to expire in January. In a statement, Secretary Kelly said that this six-month extension should “allow Haitian TPS recipients living in the United States time to obtain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure.” There are approximately 59,000 recipients of TPS from Haiti currently living in the U.S., according to CNN.

"In the case of Hondureños, Salvadoreños, and Nicaragüenses from Central America, who have had [TPS status] for 16 and 18 years, they have really deep roots in our community and our society and our economy, and have families that would be devastated by them losing this protection," Arévalo said. The deadlines for renewal of TPS status for those Central American countries are coming up early next year, leaving many fearful for their continued status in the U.S. "There is the potential that we will hear at the end of this year, in November or October, about what the fate of those TPS beneficiaries will be. It's a very short window. It's very worrisome," Arévalo continued.

Although Los Angeles has a relatively small Haitian community, immigrant rights groups here in L.A., led by CARECEN, the National Day Labor Organizing Network, and groups of Central American TPS recipients, plan to stand in solidarity with Haitian TPS recipients at risk of losing their status during a day of action on Saturday. "TPS recipients stand in solidarity with their Haitian brothers and sisters in the struggle to defend TPS and to find a permanent status for hundreds of people like themselves who are a vital part of this country and make important contributions to its economy and culture," a CARECEN spokesperson said in a statement.

As part of a “We Are All Haiti” National Day of Action, there will be a rally at the Federal Building downtown at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 22. The Federal Building is located at 300 N. Los Angeles Street.

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