CGRS Urges New TPS Designations for Central American Countries Still Reeling from Hurricanes

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Today the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (CGRS) joins calls for the Biden administration to grant new Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations for Central American countries that continue to grapple with the devastation brought by hurricanes Eta and Iota, which struck the region in November 2020. These hurricanes destroyed vital infrastructure and resources, upending the lives of millions of Central Americans. Eta and Iota undermined the livelihoods of 11 million people, hundreds of thousands remain displaced, and communities continue to struggle with food and water insecurity.  

The U.S. government can and must use every tool at its disposal to improve conditions in Central America. That should include granting TPS designations to Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras, which would protect immigrants in the United States from being deported to countries wholly unequipped to receive them. TPS is a form of immigration relief created for precisely this scenario. New TPS designations for these countries would benefit immigrants who have made the United States their home and in turn contribute to the stability of the region. Last year a total of $24.5 billion in remittances were sent to Central America by families working in the United States, providing vital support to those forced into precarity by hurricanes Eta and Iota. 

“This administration has promised time and time again that it will build a more humane immigration system,” CGRS Manager of Regional Initiatives Felipe Navarro Lux said today. “Yet they insist on ignoring a tool that would bring tangible relief to immigrants who cannot safely return to their home countries, and to communities in Central America. The compounded devastating effects of last year’s hurricanes and the COVID-19 pandemic in the region are not a secret to our government. There is no excuse for this inaction. It is time for the Biden administration to do the right thing and issue new TPS designations for the countries impacted by hurricanes Eta and Iota.”