By David Sperling
More than 200,000 Salvadorans and Hondurans have had Temporary Protected Status for more than16 years, but the end of the program may be in sight.
Haitians who have TPS since 2010 have been told to start packing their bags, and the U.S, ambassador to El Salvador stated recently that “Temporary means temporary.”
I don’t believe that the Trump administration will simply terminate TPS and attempt to deport the beneficiaries. It would make no sense. The 190,000 TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador and 60,000 from Honduras deserve the opportunity to apply for Green Cards.
No other group is more deserving. TPS registrants are trusted employees and entrepreneurs who pay taxes and are an integral part of the community. They are regularly finger-printed and have no serious criminal record. The majority have children who were born in the United States, and are therefore U.S. Citizens.
There is a movement already underway to advocate for Salvadoran and Honduran TPS beneficiaries. In fact, one of my associates, Eduardo Villacorta, an attorney in El Salvador and the United States, traveled to Washington in late June with several prominent Long Island Salvadorans to lobby for support.
I started my immigration practice shortly before President Bill Clinton signed the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) in 1997.
To qualify for a Green Card, applicants needed only to prove they had applied for a previous TPS in 1991 or filed for political asylum before April 1, 1990, been in the United States for at least seven years continually and possessed good moral character. In practice, it was not necessary to prove extreme hardship.
TPS beneficiaries now easily meet those residency and moral character requirements for legal permanent resident status. NACARA was not at all controversial in 1997, and I cannot imagine any credible opposition to similar legislation now. Now is the time to mobilize and start gathering support.
David Sperling is an immigration attorney. with offices in Central Islip, Riverhead, Huntington Station and Hempstead.