Murray, Colleagues Call for Temporary Protected Status Redesignation for El Salvador & Honduras

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and more than 100 of their colleagues in the House and Senate last week in calling on the Biden Administration to protect displaced Salvadorans and Hondurans by redesignating El Salvador and Honduras for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS is a temporary, renewable program that provides relief from removal and access to work permits for eligible foreign nationals who are unable to return safely to their home countries due to natural disasters, armed conflicts, or other extraordinary conditions. In a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Members expressed serious concern over the human rights violations, political crises, and severe environmental damage plaguing El Salvador and Honduras, and urged the Biden Administration to redesignate TPS for both countries.

“We urge you to redesignate Honduras and El Salvador for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), as it is unsafe for the nationals of these countries to be returned at this time due to severe environmental damage caused by successive hurricanes and climate change-related catastrophes, combined with human rights violations and cascading political crises exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Both El Salvador and Honduras face separate but equally devastating realities that prevent individuals who have fled these countries from safely returning,” the Members wrote.

“A redesignation of TPS would give the U.S. government an opportunity to engage in diplomacy with the Honduran government and work with civil society groups in the region to address the root causes of migration without creating further instability and volatility. The immediate and tangible humanitarian benefits of TPS would help advance life-saving and stability enhancing remittances to the region.”

TPS for both El Salvador and Honduras is in jeopardy due to litigation brought during the Trump Administration in an attempt to terminate TPS for six countries and undermine the program. Redesignating El Salvador and Honduras for TPS would ensure that current TPS recipients and those eligible for TPS from these countries receive needed protection.

Senator Murray has been a longtime supporter of the TPS program and an advocate for immigration reform throughout her Senate career; Murray has also cosponsored legislation to establish a path to citizenship for immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.