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Calls for Temporary Protected Status for the Northern Triangle Increasing

Temporary protected status establishes a temporary safe haven in the U.S. for nationals of a foreign country where the Secretary of Homeland Security determines with respect to that foreign country that:

  • There is an ongoing armed conflict posing a serious threat to the personal safety of the country's nationals if returned there; or

  • There has been an earthquake, flood, drought, epidemic, or other environmental disaster resulting in a substantial but temporary disruption of living conditions in the area affected; the foreign state is unable temporarily to handle the return of its nationals and the foreign state has affirmatively requested designation; or

  • There exist extraordinary and temporary conditions in the foreign state preventing its nationals from returning safely, unless it is determined that it is contrary to national interest to allow those aliens to remain temporarily.

During a designated period, individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who are found preliminarily eligible for TPS upon initial review of their cases (prima facie eligible):

  • Are not removable from the United States

  • Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD)

  • May be granted travel authorization

The cries for TPS for those fleeing the Northern Triangle region of Central America have gotten louder over the last two weeks.

Almost 400 organizations along with over 100 law professors are imploring the President to use TPS to protect nationals escaping El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. For those already in the United States, temporary protected status would provide them with a provisional stay of removal and employment authorization to support themselves and their families while the facts continue to show their country is unsafe to return to.

The statistics of violence in the Northern Triangle is increasing at an alarming rate. In the last four years, the murder rate in El Salvador has increased by 70 percent. That disturbing increase makes the region the murder capital in the Western hemisphere, while Honduras ranks third and Guatemala ranks fifth. In January 2016, for the first time in 40 years, the U.S. Peace Corps volunteers withdrew from El Salvador due to escalating violence. This followed the withdrawal of volunteers from Honduras in September 2012.

There are signs to indicate that the Administration is starting to grasp the dire situation the Northern Triangle is in, one being the recent announcement to expand its Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole program, however there is no quick solution. 

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