Monday 01.15.2018

Call for Legislative Action to Protect Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status

On January 8, 2018 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for roughly 200,000 Salvadorans. TPS status was justifiably provided for this population in 2001 after repeated, major earthquakes in El Salvador destabilized the infrastructure of the country. Neighborhoods collapsed. Schools and houses imploded. More than 1,000 people died. In July of 2016 TPS for Salvadorans was extended by the DHS noting, a mere 6 months ago, “…the country continued to destabilize due to numerous subsequent natural disasters, volcanic seismic activity, prolonged drought, the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, lack of housing and electricity and gang-related insecurity.”

The Daughters of Charity of the United States of America issue the following statement in response:

We implore Congress to enact compassionate legislation to provide permanent legal status for long-term TPS recipients that honors the value of family unity.

As Daughters of Charity and people of God, we are called to welcome the vulnerable, displaced travelers with whom our paths intersect. We have assisted Salvadoran and other TPS holders as they struggled to rebuild their traumatized lives in a foreign country. They enrich our communities, engage in meaningful work and raise healthy, American families. More than 192,000 American citizens have been born into these families. We are gravely disappointed by the Administration’s decision to terminate TPS for Salvadorans refugees some of whom have legally lived in and contributed to the United States of America for 21 years.

Termination of the program for Salvadorans violates our Catholic Christian teaching. This decision will unnecessarily devastate families and harm our communities. Facing deportation, parents will be forced to choose between abandoning their USA citizen children in the land of opportunity or taking them to a desperately impoverished country that they have never known. Heartless separation of these families violates our faith and Americans are better than this. Conversely, in the USA, they have thrived and contributed. Since 2001, they raise families, purchase homes, create jobs and pay taxes.

Given the current state of El Salvador, its leaders continue to assert they cannot assure the safety and economic well-being of a mass re-integration of refugees. The Old Testament tells us in Leviticus 19:34, “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” The current administration’s harsh response to this population, their US citizen children, and our neighboring country’s stability, acts in direct opposition to our Judeo-Christian tradition. It will diminish our nation and create greater economic impoverishment for El Salvador.

Our prayers and continued support are with Salvadoran and other long-term TPS holders who have deep ties to our communities, parishes, and country.

The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of the United States of America comprises two Provinces with sisters serving in health care, education and social services.

For more information about this and other social justice positions of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul -USA contact: Sister Margaret Louise Brown, D.C., at srmlbrown@doc1633.org.