Nearly 300 thousand people enrolled under the Temporary Protected Status program (TPS), are greatly concern that there has not yet been an announcement of a re extension to the above mentioned program which grants them a work permit within the United States and protection against deportation proceedings. «Due to such uncertainties all member organizations of the Salvadoran American National Network (SANN) have launched a national campaign to ask the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Michael Chertoff, for a favorable response for Central American nationals before 2009, the year in which the protection expires for all three countries» stated Patricia Montes from Centro Presente, in Boston.
«On this day, from California to New Jersey, our member organizations will be holding press conferences in front of the offices of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and will deliver approximately four thousand postcards signed in solidarity with TPS community, urging the highest authority of the DHS to grant a new re extension of the program for another 18 months, since the conditions that generated the economic and social instability are still present in the region. We are worried that there are three months until the expiration of the program for Honduras and Nicaragua, and there is still no positive response that would alleviate the anguish of remaining in limbo and in risk of deportation» stated Daysi Funes, president of SANN in Chicago, Illinois «there are about 230 thousands nationals from El Salvador that are facing a similar dilemma, for them the protection under the TPS ends in March 2009.»
In regards to deportation, on September 18th the organization Pew Hispanic, released a report about the inherent fear within the Latino community «The survey finds that a majority of Latinos worry about deportation. Some 40% say they worry a lot and an additional 17% say they worry some that they themselves, a family member or a close friend may be deported.»
Hondurans and Nicaraguans have had TPS status for 10 years, and Salvadorians have had it for about 8 years. Many of them arrived more than 10 years ago and have already established their roots within their communities and are raising children. That is the case of Keny Mancia age 10, her brother is a US citizen but she, her parents and grandmother are protected under the TPS «I want them to grant us an extension to continue to live legally in this country with my little brother who is 7 years old, I cannot imagine our life if they tear our family apart».
Among other barriers for people enrolled under the TPS status is that they are able to travel back to their home countries only under dire and extreme circumstances which limit their right to see their families and loved ones back home. Yanira Chacon-Lopez from ‘Casa Maria Johanna’, an organization in New York, conducted a survey in the town of Westbury, Long Island that would find the barriers people faced when making arrangements to travel to their home country due to extremecircumstances. «40% percent of the people say that they are afraid to travel back to their country because of fear of not being let back into the U.S. and loosing the right of being part of the program. The other 30% percent did not have money or sufficient documentation requested by the department of Immigration.»
«SANN is advocating for the re-extension of TPS, and we are working hard to find the means of getting people permanent, legal residency in the U.S. We know it is a long term struggle for all the barriers that the program faces but it is time after more than decade for the nearly 300,000 people of Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador to have a decent living here in the United States and to have the right of a life free of uncertainty and to lead a dignified way of life» stated Yanira Arias Secretary of SANN.