Texan Immigrants Rely on Courts, Election to Protect Their Status
By: Rebecca Anderson
For many immigrants across the country, the upcoming presidential election will determine a number of factors that affects their temporary status in the United States. And for those living in Texas, everything is bigger—including the stakes.
According to the American Immigration Council, one in six Texas residents is an immigrant, while another one in six residents is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent.
Tens of thousands of immigrants hailing from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti, fled from their native countries to the U.S. over three decades ago due to dangerous gangs, drug cartels, natural disasters, and civil wars. Many received legal permission to stay in the U.S. under a humanitarian program called Temporary Protective Status, which allows immigrants to take refuge.
The program was implemented in 1990 under President George H.W. Bush’s administration and offered protection for more than 300,000 immigrants. According to the Center for American Progress, about 45,000 of those that fled under the program currently live in Texas.
Last month, the appellate court ruled that the Trump Administration could roll back the program, ending it for recipients from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Sudan.
“The fact that the legal and justifiable termination of TPS has been delayed for this long is further evidence that pernicious judicial activism must be reined in,” Dan Stein, the president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said in a statement to The Texas Tribune after the ruling. “This ruling represents a win for the idea that the American people should be able to provide needed and appropriate temporary humanitarian relief, with the full expectation that their generosity will not be taken advantage of when the emergency is over.”
But things could take a sharp turn if Former Vice President Joe Biden is elected as president in November. His campaign states he would continue to protect TPS recipients and fight for those who seek asylum in the U.S.
According to Forbes, Joe Biden is being heavily urged to promise roughly 2.2 million people at risk of future deportation protections to remain in the U.S. on “day one of his presidency”.
In a letter shared exclusively with Forbes, more than 200 organizations and groups, including Alianza Americas, Amnesty International USA, the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, the Oxfam America Action Fund, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and dozens of others, are calling on Biden to grant Deferred Enforced Departure to those at risk of losing Temporary Protected Status.
While Biden has vowed as part of his campaign platform to “immediately review every [TPS] decision made by the Trump administration to ensure that no one is returned to a country that is not safe,” in addition to seeking to provide a “path to citizenship” in the U.S. for longstanding TPS holders, the letter’s signatories say he can and should go further by guaranteeing DED to the hundreds of thousands at risk of losing TPS status.