The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns issued the following statement on September 15, 2020, regarding the Ninth Circuit Court's decision to allow for the termination of TPS for four countries.
On Monday, September 14, in Ramos v. Wolf, the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Trump administration may proceed with its termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a humanitarian visa program, for individuals from the countries of El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan – all countries where Maryknoll missioners have been welcomed to accompany and serve people impacted by natural disaster or ongoing violent conflict. This move by the Trump administration will put approximately 300,000 TPS visa holders at risk of deportation to countries from which they originally fled violence or natural disaster.
“Proceeding with the termination of TPS for these countries would be a moral failure,” said Susan Gunn, director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns. “TPS visa holders come from some of the most impoverished places on earth. For example, when the United States extended TPS for Salvadorians in 2016, the government named several compelling factors, including drought, poverty, and widespread gang violence as conditions that prevented Salvadoran TPS holders’ safe return. Those reasons have not changed. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, this ruling could have deadly consequences if it results in deportations.”
Having lived and worked with families in extreme poverty in El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan, Maryknoll Sisters, Fathers and Brothers, and Lay Missioners have acquired a deep understanding of the dire social, economic, and environmental conditions that TPS recipients would face if deported, as well as intimate witness to the fragility and insecurity of living in the shadows without documents in the United States.
“Deporting TPS recipients to these countries would subject them to the same forces of poverty, violence, and instability they originally fled and from which tens of thousands more still flee,” Gunn said. In addition, the termination of TPS for these countries could precipitate a new form of family separation, given that Salvadoran TPS holders alone have over 192,000 U.S. citizen children. TPS holders from these four countries would begin to be at risk of deportation starting in early 2021.
“We will not stop fighting for our vulnerable neighbors who are protected under TPS,” said Gunn. “TPS holders are valued members of our communities who live and work legally in the U.S., supporting children and our struggling economy. To allow them to live under threat of deportation is inhumane and unthinkable, violating the values of our faith and all standards of moral decency.”