US Catholics urge extension of temporary protected status for El Salvador

By agency reporter
December 27, 2017

Bishop Joe S Vasquez, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration, and a number of other US Catholic organisations have written a joint letter to Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, urging an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador.

TPS is a temporary, renewable, and statutorily authorised immigration status that allows individuals to remain and work lawfully in the US during a period in which it is deemed unsafe for nationals of that country to return home.

El Salvador's current TPS designation extends up to 9 March, 2018. However, the Department of Homeland Security is required to make a decision to terminate or extend TPS for the country by 8 January, 2018. 

In their letter, the Catholic organisations urged Secretary Nielsen to extend TPS for El Salvador, noting that "terminating TPS for El Salvador would likely destabilise this key strategic, regional partner, undermining the tremendous investments of the US government."

Having undertaken a fact-finding trip to El Salvador in august 2017, the USCCB concluded that the country is currently in no position to safely accommodate the return of the roughly 200,000 Salvadorans who have TPS. Noting the concerning country conditions, the Catholic partners urged Secretary Nielsen to "show compassion and patience as El Salvador continues to improve its citizen security and humanitarian capacity for reception, protection, and integration."

The letter also reiterated the Church's commitment to stand "ready to support measures to protect the well-being and dignity of Salvadoran families here and abroad."

* Read the full text of the letter here

* Independent Catholic News


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