Christians Seek Temporary Protected Status Extension for Central American Countries

Evangelical Leaders to DHS: Extend Temporary Protected Status

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Evangelical Immigration Table leaders sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security calling for the extension of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador.

Ahead of a Sunday TPS extension deadline for Honduras and Nicaragua and with the other countries’ deadlines looming, signatories are asking DHS to give Congress time, via an extension, to reform the TPS program and provide a long-term solution.

The following are quotes from Evangelical Immigration Table principals:

Leith Anderson, President, National Association of Evangelicals:

“Jesus celebrated the Good Samaritan for giving temporary protected status to a stranger who was in life-threatening circumstances without help. Extending TPS to those America has protected in the past helps make the USA into a Good Samaritan country.”

Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief:

“As World Relief and our partner churches serve immigrants in communities throughout the U.S., we have had the opportunity to help many Central American and Haitian individuals to apply for and to renew their TPS status. We have seen the profound difference that this access to work authorization and protection from deportation has made in their lives, and the ways that they in turn have contributed back to their churches and communities. At the same time, as we partner with local churches outside of the U.S., we witness firsthand the tenuous situation that many of these countries are in, which could be further destabilized if TPS were to be withdrawn now. I’m praying both that Congress will act to permanently resolve this situation and that the Department of Homeland Security will renew these designations in the meantime.”

Shirley V. Hoogstra, President, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities:

“In the wake of unimaginable natural and human disasters that rendered their countries of origin unsafe, individuals with Temporary Protected Status have put down roots here. They have contributed to, and continue to contribute to, our society by forming families and strengthening our economy as students, workers, entrepreneurs and consumers. Extending Temporary Protected Status is the right thing to do for both the American economy and for American families.”

Hyepin Im, CEO, Korean Christian Community Development/Faith and Community Empowerment:

“Much like in the situation of the Dreamers who have benefitted from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and now risk losing work authorization and becoming vulnerable to deportation, individuals who have been granted TPS have acted in good faith at the invitation of the federal government, paying fees, passing multiple criminal background checks, and working to provide for their families. In my state of California alone, there are more than 50,000 individuals with TPS, and to withdraw that status now would harm not only them, but the communities of which they are a part.”

Jo Anne Lyon, Ambassador, General Superintendent Emerita, The Wesleyan Church:

“Throughout the Bible, God makes very clear that He cares for vulnerable immigrants — and He commands His people to do the same. I’m grateful that our country offered protections to the roughly 300,000 individuals who presently benefit from TPS when their respective countries faced humanitarian catastrophes. Even though many years have passed since those initial designations, each of these countries has faced additional challenges more recently: El Salvador and Honduras have among the highest murder rates in the world, and Nicaragua and Haiti, the two poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, have recently been hit by serious hurricanes. To send so many people back to these situations right now would be inhumane, and I hope our government will make a way for these individuals to continue to live and work lawfully within the United States.”

Dr. Russell Moore, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention:

“It is not in the best interest of a society to separate families, or to force them into volatile situations. And yet, fears of such are exactly what many immigrants who have been granted TPS feel — men and women who have come forward by invitation of our government, obeyed the law, and contributed much to our churches and society. It’s no secret that our immigration system is broken and that reforms are needed. I’m eager to work with Congress to work toward needed change that would balance security and compassion. But in the meantime, I very much hope Acting Secretary Duke will renew TPS for these individuals.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:

“The tens of thousands of congregations that make up the NHCLC include many, many individuals whose lives and livelihoods depend upon having been granted TPS. These are individuals who have passed repeated background checks, who have provided for themselves and their families, and who are vital parts of the Church in the United States. Given the harsh conditions that persist in their countries of origin, now is not the time to withdraw TPS.”



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