Who Receives TPS?

Part II of a series on TPS

Don’t know what TPS is? Read the first blog post here.

As the name suggests, TPS is meant to serve as a provisional legal migration for foreign nationals who cannot return home due to violence, natural disasters, or other extreme circumstances. However, some TPS recipients have called the United States. home for almost two decades, due to ongoing life-threatening conditions within their home country. Today, around 320,000 foreign nationals from 10 countries around the world reside in the United States under the protection of TPS. The list below details who these people are, why they were granted TPS, as well as timing details of the TPS program by nation.

Designated Country

Original Designation Date

Most Recent Designation Date

Current Expiration Date

Number of People

Nicaragua

December 30, 1998

January 5, 1999

January 5, 2018

2,550

Honduras

December 30, 1998

January 5, 1999

January 5, 2018

57,000

El Salvador

February 13, 1990

March 9, 2001

March 9, 2018

195,000

Haiti

January 12, 2011

July 23, 2011

January 22, 2018

50,000

Sudan

November 4, 1997

May 3, 2013

November 2, 2017

1,040

South Sudan

January 25, 2016

May 3, 2016

May 2, 2019

50

Somalia

September 16, 1991

September 18, 2012

September 17, 2018

270

Syria

August 1, 2016

October 1, 2016

March 31, 2018

5,800

Yemen

January 4, 2017

March 4, 2017

September 3, 2018

1,000

Nepal

January 4, 2017

June 24, 2015

June 24, 2018

8,950

 

Why these Countries are Receiving TPS:

Central America: Nicaragua, Honduras, & El Salvador

All three countries first received TPS status after Hurricane Mitch hit in 1999, leaving a path of complete destruction and devastation. Millions of people lost their homes, and roads as well as agricultural crops needed to sustain national economies were washed away. The damage caused by Mitch and subsequent natural disasters has made it impossible for individuals to return.

Haiti

Haiti was granted TPS after a massive earthquake struck the country in 2010. In 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit the country and TPS was extended due to environmental damage and structural loss. Around 1.4 million individuals were left in need of aid and housing after the hurricane but those people are not eligible for TPS.

Sudan

Sudan began receiving TPS due to protracted civil conflict. Since then, two civil wars have meant subsequent fighting between militia groups and antigovernment rebels, displacing millions of civilians.

South Sudan

Upon the country’s independence, intense interethnic fighting erupted, leading to civil war. The United States granted South Sudan TPS after thousands were displaced, and national trade as well as infrastructure were destroyed.

Somalia*

A combination of inter-clan fighting, terrorist activity, and droughts leaving half a million dead caused the United States to grant Somalia TPS. The continued large presence of terrorist group al-Shabaab renders the country unsafe for the return of citizens.

Syria*

Syria received TPS due to explosive violence throughout the country, caused by civil war brought on by political uprisings in 2011. Syria continues to receive TPS due to ongoing violent uprisings against President Assad. Syrian nationals seeking TPS were subjected to additional security screenings and background checks due to concerns about terrorism.

Yemen*

Yemen was granted TPS because it is ensnared in civil war with neighboring Middle Eastern countries, which has created violent and unsafe living conditions for individuals. Furthermore, the war has made it difficult to deliver relief efforts due to damaged infrastructure and violence.

Nepal

In 2005, a major earthquake hit Nepal. The subsequent aftershocks, along with the initial damaged caused by the earthquake devastated much of the country’s housing and infrastructure. Roughly half a million homes were destroyed and the United States granted TPS to aid those who were rendered homeless.

*Trump’s travel ban will not affect those who are already protected under TPS from deportation, and have been protected since the designation date.

Designation dates and expiration dates are subject to change. This data was drawn from USCIS and will be updated periodically.

Up Next: 

Arguments for ending TPS vs. arguments for keeping TPS coming out October 20th

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The Lowdown on Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Part I of a series on TPS

In mid-September President Trump’s Administration announced that they are considering ending TPS, and deporting all individuals living in the United States currently protected by TPS. The purpose of this series is to inform the public on this issue.

What is Temporary Protected Status?

Temporary Protected Status was enacted by Congress under the Immigration Act of 1990, giving citizens from designated foreign countries temporary immigration status. Countries that are experiencing conditions which temporarily prohibit the safe return of citizens, or if the foreign country cannot adequately handle the return of its nationals abroad may be granted TPS. Foreign citizens who are granted TPS are given a work visa and a stay of protection in the United States.

Under what conditions is a country granted TPS?

  • Continuing armed conflict (for example, civil war)
  • Occurrence of a natural disaster or health epidemic
  • Other extraordinary, temporary conditions jeopardizing safety of foreign citizens

How is TPS decided?

The Secretary of Homeland Security is responsible for deciding which countries are to be given TPS. Before finalizing their decision the Secretary must confer with other government agencies, usually the Department of State, the National Security Council, and the Department of Justice. TPS can be designated for a period of 6, 8, or 12 months on an individual country basis. Sixty days prior to the TPS expiration date, the Secretary must decide whether or not to renew it based on the foreign country’s current conditions.

Who can apply?

Citizens of a TPS designated country must apply to be protected under TPS. In order to qualify, citizens (or stateless persons) must prove that they habitually live in the country with TPS designation. Furthermore, the applicant must be continuously physically present in the United States since the effective date of the TPS designation. Finally, the individual must fill out employment authorization documents, even if they do not plan on working in the United States.

Who is barred from TPS eligibility?

  • Persons convicted of a felony, or two misdemeanors in the United States
  • Individuals convicted of a crime in their home country
  • If you are found inadmissible due to public health or security concerns
  • Individuals who fail to meet initial or late registration or re-registration periods

Important notes

  • TPS does not lead to citizenship or permanent residency in the United States.
  • People granted TPS will safely remain in the United States until the crisis in their home country is resolved — this means they cannot be deported.
  • Nationals from TPS-designated countries do not automatically receive TPS — must apply and pay applicable fees. 
  • TPS recipients can apply for and obtain travel documents for short trips abroad without jeopardizing their status.

This information is compiled in a convenient fact sheet available for download.

Up next:

Which countries are currently receiving TPS and why they are receiving it — coming out October 6th

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Action and Prayer for a More Inclusive Citizenship

On September 17, 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution, a document that became the key founding text of the United States of America. The “Blessings of Liberty” described in the preamble, however, were not truly intended for all people in that newborn nation.

It must not be forgotten that the Constitution defined slaves – regardless of the land of their birth – as three-fifths persons for representation purposes and gave them no voting rights. Just a few years later, the Naturalization Act of 1790 specified that only “a free white person” who had resided in the United States of America for two years and any offspring over the age of 21 could become eligible for citizenship. It is a long story of how other populations fought for their public recognition as full citizens with voting rights.

This federal observation was first proclaimed in 1940, when Congress passed a resolution authorizing the President to proclaim “I Am An American Day” on the third Sunday of May each year to recognize those who had attained citizenship. This observance was rebranded in 1952 as Constitution Day and moved to September 17, along with an instruction to political units at all levels to supply instruction to citizens. The same date was rebranded in 2004 as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, adding requirements that every federal agency supply employees with educational and training materials on the Constitution and requiring schools that receive federal funds to also provide programming related to the Constitution.

Today, just as throughout the history of this nation, many people struggle for recognition. It seems clear that the notion of citizenship can be used as a tool to restrict rights and exclude people from equal treatment.

As you reflect on what it means to be a citizen today, consider joining with others to read our Prayer for an Inclusive Citizenship or take one or more of the suggested Actions Toward a More Inclusive Citizenship on page 2 of the same document. Both documents are also available in Spanish.

If you can, try to schedule an action or prayer service for Sunday, September 17 or any other day in the following week. We are happy to help and would like to hear about all your solidarity actions. Please let us know if you have any questions or just want to share your own efforts with us by emailing us at cso@quixote.org.

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Unjust Armour: Restrictions Lifted to Transfer Military Equipment to Local Police

On Monday, Trump issued an executive order undoing restrictions placed on the transfer of surplus military equipment to police departments.

The restrictions had been put in place by President Obama in 2015 following criticism of police tactics in response to protests in Ferguson. Obama said at the time, “We’ve seen how militarized gear can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force.”

Concern about the growing alienation between communities and police drove Obama’s decision, but many of Trump’s policy choices seem designed to disintegrate the increasingly tenuous relationships between these two segments of society. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the lifting of restrictions he said, “We will not put superficial concerns above public safety.” It is hard to escape the implication that police accountability is the “superficial concern” that must be cast aside in order for law and order to be enforced.

The 1033 Program that permits the transfer of surplus military equipment to police forces was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, building on a 1990 program that had restricted use to “agencies in counter-drug activities.” The 1033 Program is managed by the Defense Logistics Agency whose records are not publicly available. A GAO study this year found problems with oversight, including a transfer of $1.2 million of military equipment to investigators pretending to be a police department.

Over the last 10 years, as the war in Iraq wound down, the availability of military surplus led to a dramatic expansion of transfers of equipment completely out of proportion to law enforcement needs. Newsweek reported in 2014:

– Police in Watertown, Connecticut, (population 22,514) recently acquired a mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle (sticker price: $733,000), designed to protect soldiers from roadside bombs, for $2,800. There has never been a landmine reported in Watertown, Connecticut.

– Police in small towns in Michigan and Indiana have used the 1033 Program to acquire “MRAP armored troop carriers, night-vision rifle scopes, camouflage fatigues, Humvees and dozens of M16 automatic rifles,” the South Bend Tribune reported.

– And police in Bloomington, Georgia, (population: 2,713) acquired four grenade launchers through the program, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Attorney General Sessions announced the decision to a group of police officers, saying, “The executive order…send[s] a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence, and lawlessness to become the new normal.” With crime rates at an all-time low, it difficult to know what “new normal” of lawlessness is being addressed here. Certainly we should question the need for police departments to deploy MRAP’s and rocket launchers to combat property crimes and drug addiction.

Trump’s decision to lift restrictions on the transfer of military equipment to police, along with his pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, allowing police to expand their use of property seizures and his war on migrants, all point to an effort to remove all accountability for violations of civil liberties by law enforcement. Janai Nelson of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund called the move, “exceptionally dangerous and irresponsible,” and noted “[i]nviting the use of military weaponry against our domestic population is nothing short of recasting the public as an enemy.”

Trump is inventing a war at home, and picking sides. It is political posturing of the worst kind and can only deepen the rift growing in civil society.

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Defend DACA Today!

Join us TODAY (Thursday, Aug 31) for a national call in day to tell our elected leaders to keep the DACA program intact!

CALL CONGRESS AND THE WHITE HOUSE
Representatives: 1-888-496-3502
Senators: 1-888-410-0619
*Please call your 1 Representative and then your 2 Senators
Sample Script to Representative/Senators: “Hi, my name is X and I’m calling from City, State and my zip code is X. I am a person of faith. I’m deeply concerned about the reports that President Trump could end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) this week. I support the program and strongly oppose any attempt to terminate or alter it. I urge the Senator/Representative to do everything in his/her power to protect 800,000 DACA-recipients from deportation and support their right to work and study in this country. There are three things I’m hoping your office will do right now. Can the Senator/Representative (1) appeal directly to the President to keep this program in place, (2) issue a public statement of support for DACA recipients, and (3) support a clean passage of S.1615/H.R.3440, the Dream Act of 2017?

 

CALL PRESIDENT TRUMP: (202) 456-1111 (please leave a message)

Sample Script for President Trump: “I’m from [City, State]. I am a person of faith and I support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and strongly oppose any attempt to terminate it or phase it out. DACA has provided nearly 800,000 young people the opportunity to pursue their dreams. I urge you to defend the DACA program well beyond September 5, protect DACA recipients from deportation and detention, and work with Congress toward a permanent solution.

Both President Trump and Members of Congress must hear that communities of faith demand DACA remain in place until the Dream Act passes, and that there be be no gap between DACA ending and Dream passing! Also, DACA recipients should not be used a political bargaining chip to increase a deportation force and tear apart families and communities.

You can also join our social media day of action TODAY (Thursday, Aug 31)!

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New Staff at the Quixote Center

Hello everyone! My name is Jocelyn Trainer and I am excited to serve as the International Program Coordinator at the Quixote Center this year through Loretto Volunteers. As a Loretto Volunteer I will spend my year living in an intentional community, learning about social justice and simple living, as well as exploring spirituality. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to pursue social justice issues targeting inequitable policies and promoting peace through the Quixote Center.  

In May 2017, I graduated from Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles with a double degree in Political Science and Spanish along with a minor in International Relations. While at university I had the opportunity to study abroad and work in London, England as well as Cape Town, South Africa. In London I worked at an NGO named the Indoamerican Refugee and Migrant Organization, which was established to provide aid and representation to refugees and migrants who came to England from Latin America and Portugal. While working there I served on the voter registration campaign, with the goal to increase the Latin American voter turnout rate for the mayoral election. In Cape Town I volunteered as an English and math teacher for first and second grade Xhosa students with physical disabilities at Tembuletu LSEN school in the Gugulethu township.

I am originally from Boulder, Colorado and love to hike the beautiful mountains. In my free time I enjoy trying new foods, traveling, and exploring the great outdoors. It is my first time living on the East Coast and I looking forward to getting to know the area.

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Racism As a Social Sin: Excerpts from "Brothers and Sisters to Us"

“Brothers and Sisters to Us” is a pastoral letter on the topic of racism issued by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops in 1979. Some sections of the document may now feel dated, rooted as they were in the language and the context in which they were prepared. But many passages bear the same prophetic weight today as they did in the year they were composed. Below are a few passages that seem timely, relevant, and continue to challenge the Catholic Church even today. Think of all the work these words suggest and how much of that work remains to be done.

– We do not deny that changes have been made, that laws have been passed, that policies have been implemented. We do not deny that the ugly external features of racism which marred our society have in part been eliminated. But neither can it be denied that too often what has happened has only been a covering over, not a fundamental change.

– Racism is a sin: a sin that divides the human family, blots out the image of God among specific members of that family, and violates the fundamental human dignity of those called to be children of the same Father.

– The sin is social in nature in that each of us, in varying degrees, is responsible. All of us in some measure are accomplices. As our recent pastoral letter on moral values states: “The absence of personal fault for an evil does not absolve one of all responsibility. We must seek to resist and undo injustices we have not ceased, least we become bystanders who tacitly endorse evil and so share in guilt in it.”

– At times, protestations claiming that all persons should be treated equally reflect the desire to maintain a status quo that favors one race and social group at the expense of the poor and the nonwhite.

– How great, therefore, is that sin of racism which weakens the Church’s witness as the universal sign of unity among all peoples! How great the scandal given by racist Catholics who make the Body of Christ, the Church, a sign of racial oppression! Yet all too often the Church in our country has been for many a “white Church,” a racist institution.

– Each of us as Catholics must acknowledge a share in the mistakes and sins of the past. Many of us have been prisoners of fear and prejudice. We have preached the Gospel while closing our eyes to the racism it condemns. We have allowed conformity to social pressures to replace compliance with social justice.

– Racism is not merely one sin among many; it is a radical evil that divides the human family and denies the new creation of a redeemed world. To struggle against it demands an equally radical transformation, in our own minds and hearts as well as in the structure of our society.

If you would like to read the whole document, you can find it here.

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Mending Our Broken Earth: FEDICAMP in Nicaragua

Even as I write this post, we are waiting to see if the White House will reject the findings in a report on climate change prepared by scientists from 13 federal agencies. This news comes on top of the U.S. official withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change agreement over the weekend.

You might be surprised to learn that Nicaragua never signed the Paris agreement in the first place. Whereas the U.S. withdrew because Trump wanted what he calls a “better deal” for American businesses, Nicaragua did not sign as a protest for the weakness of the Paris agreement, insofar as it lacked an enforcement mechanism. Rather than put their name to a document that only makes greenhouse emission goals optional, Nicaragua chose to take a stand.

Nicaragua may be a small country, but it is doing more than its share to reduce carbon emissions. The World Bank has called Nicaragua a “renewable energy paradise,”in which 58% of energy needs are met by renewable sources. On the front lines of climate change, Nicaragua experiences drought more years than not and the consequences include reduced crop yields and internal and external migration.

Our partners at FEDICAMP, a collaborative of 21 agricultural cooperatives of small farmers in rural Nicaragua, maintain hope that they can respond to these challenges, because they must. The solutions that FEDICAMP engineers and farmers are developing now offer a great hope for Nicaragua, but these strategies will surely need to be duplicated elsewhere in the near future.

In a conversation last month, Miguel Ángel Marín Vásquez, the agricultural engineer who serves as FEDICAMP’s director, made an impassioned plea for support to the Quixote Center. In response to a question I had about how the Campesino a Campesino (Farmer to Farmer) methodology works, he explained that farmers and engineers work together to “combine ancestral knowledge and empirical research” and peers train one another in these techniques to pass them along. Even this very efficient and culturally-grounded method requires both infrastructure and staff support.

Their ambitious plan includes creation of reservoirs to store rainwater and irrigation systems to use water most effectively. They will also expand seed banks and use ditches and barriers to conserve existing soil as well build as a tree-planting initiative to prevent further erosion. By engaging a broad network of farmers in training, they will have the opportunity to test out different methods in a sort of living lab of climate change adaptation strategies. If they can dream this big, we must dream with them.

Here is what we are doing: From November 7-13, we will be visiting Nicaragua and plan to spend a day with our partners at FEDICAMP. If you would like to learn more about how these dynamic individuals resolutely confront the challenges of climate change, get in touch by sending us an email at info@quixote.org to join our delegation or learn more about the trip.

If you are moved by concern for climate change and would like to help to mend our broken planet, you could also make a gift to the Quixote Center, specifying that you want to support FEDICAMP.

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Soil and New Life

“All of creation has been groaning”…

There is a lot of talk about soil in the bible. If you open up the lectionary for this week, you will see a passage in Isaiah on the rain and snow that fall from the heavens to water the earth, making it fertile and providing bread for food. In Matthew 13, we read about the sower who casts seed on good soil and rocky or thorny areas alike. These readings remind us that the relationship of humans to the soil is a simple fact of life on earth. We depend on soil for human life to thrive.

But the type of soil that is present in a place is not simply a brute fact, a fortunate coincidence or a cruel fate to which people are subject. Turning to Haiti, we know that its once lush countryside has undergone a long process resulting in poor soil and even desertification, largely as a consequence of human action. Plantation monoculture over centuries, coupled with the use of trees to serve as fuel has led to the impoverishment of that nation’s soil, rapid erosion, and consequently very limited access to adequate local food.

In his encyclical Laudato Si [On Care for Our Common Home], Pope Francis describes a planet that “groans in travail” (Romans 8:2) because “the earth herself, burdened and laid waste” is “among the most abandoned and maltreated of the poor.” He finds the cause for this situation not in the random situation of human beings scattered around the planet but in humanity itself. “The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life” (LS 2).

If human activity is often a cause of unfavorable growing conditions, it can also present solutions. Again, we hear Francis reminding us of the way that human free will may be turned to responsible practices and positive results. “Agriculture in poorer regions can be improved through investment in rural infrastructures, a better organization of local or national markets, systems of irrigation, and the development of techniques of sustainable agriculture” (LS 180)

At the Quixote Center, we support peasant leadership in the Northwest region of Haiti as they develop innovative local solutions to bring new life to its depleted agricultural landscape. Haiti Reborn continues to support the planting of 100,000 trees per year as part of a reforestation initiative that will create richer soil for its people. The agronomists and workers with the Peasant Movement of Gros-Morne and the Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center are also breeding worms for compost, promoting greater individual planting of trees, and establishing a seed bank, all to make their own land more fruitful. In this way, we see our work as participating in what Pope Francis calls sustainable and integral development.

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A Wake-up Call in the Vatican

The sexual abuse charges that have been filed against Cardinal George Pell, a high-ranking Vatican official in the Curia, raise many questions and have set off alarms about the effectiveness of Pope Francis’s response to allegations of clergy abuse of minors.

George Pell was ordained a priest in 1966 in the diocese of Ballarat in Australia and became a bishop in 1987. In 1993,  he accompanied his former housemate and fellow priest, Gerard Ridsdale, into court as he faced trial for serial sexual abuse in a show of support. Pell later stated that he regretted this decision because it seemed to show greater concern for the abuser than the survivor of abuse. But it was part of a clear pattern of support for the priests accused of assault and a defensive posture on the part of the Australian Church in responding to such accusations.

Pell has also been accused on several occasions of sexual abuse although he has never stood trial. The  Cardinal did testify on several occasions before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse.

But his 2014 appointment to the position of Cardinal-Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy in the Vatican struck some in Australia as an attempt to get him off the local scene where he was broadly criticized in media coverage related to claims of a cover-up by the Church.

In August of that year and again in 2016, Cardinal Pell provided testimony before the Commission via video link, citing ill health in the second case.

The 2016 song “Come Home (Cardinal Pell),” written and performed by Australian performer Tim Minchin, criticized Pell for failing to return home to testify. The proceeds of this irreverent tune allowed 15 survivors of abuse to travel to Rome and watch Pell’s testimony in person.

Last July, when asked about the investigation into allegations naming Pell, Pope Francis reserved judgment until the Australian justice system had made a decision regarding the matter. True to his word, Francis is not obstructing this investigation and has granted leave to Cardinal Pell in order to respond to the criminal charges by appearing in court.

The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, an institution created by Pope Francis in 2014 to address the issue of clergy sexual abuse of minors, was seen as a major step forward in responding more openly to addressing claims of abuse. Yet the two survivors of sexual abuse who served on the commission have departed. When Marie Collins resigned her commission on March 1, she published a letter in the National Catholic Reporter explaining that the Commission had neither adequate independent resources nor the authority to implement even simple changes.

There is some cause for optimism about a shift in the culture of obstructionism and secrecy that has long attended abuse claims against Church officials.  It is not surprising that someone who is a trusted adviser of Pope Francis and part of his inner circle would continue to receive support in the face of as yet unnamed and unproven accusations.

But there remains cause for concern, a lingering fear that our warm and pastoral Pope is still part of a closed system in which patriarchy and privilege have long protected their closed ranks.

Pope Francis must put the full force of his role as pontiff behind the efforts to bring the buried secrets of sexual abuse into the light of day for a just reckoning.

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Contact Us

  • Quixote Center
    7307 Baltimore Ave.
    Ste 214
    College Park, MD 20740
  • Office: 301-699-0042
    Email: info@quixote.org

Direction to office:

For driving: From Baltimore Ave (Route 1) towards University of Maryland, turn right onto Hartwick Rd. Turn immediate right in the office complex.

Look for building 7307. We are located on the 2nd floor.

For public transportation: We are located near the College Park metro station (green line)