• April 22nd, 2024
  • Monday, 10:28:34 AM

Colorado Senators Call for TPS Redesignation for El Salvador and Honduras



Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper joined U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and 115 members of Congress in calling on the Biden Administration to continue to protect displaced Salvadorans and Hondurans by redesignating El Salvador and Honduras for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Established by the U.S. Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990, TPS is a temporary, renewable program that provides relief from removal and access to work permits for eligible foreign nationals who are unable to return safely to their home countries due to natural disasters, armed conflicts, or other extraordinary conditions.


Over 400,000 people with TPS are currently living in communities across the United States. Of the 2,978 people currently living in Colorado with TPS, 2,108 are from El Salvador and 523 are from Honduras.


“We urge you to redesignate Honduras and El Salvador for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), as it is unsafe for the nationals of these countries to be returned at this time due to severe environmental damage caused by successive hurricanes and climate change-related catastrophes, combined with human rights violations and cascading political crises exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Both El Salvador and Honduras face separate but equally devastating realities that prevent individuals who have fled these countries from safely returning,” wrote Bennet, Hickenlooper, Kaine, and the lawmakers in their letter to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.


Regarding El Salvador, the lawmakers continued: “According to the U.S. State Department’s 2022 country report, there have been significant human rights issues in the country, including credible reports of ‘unlawful or arbitrary killings, forced disappearances; torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention.’[1] In particular, the government’s implementation of the State of Exception, a year-long and continuing state of emergency that is renewed monthly, has imprisoned 2% of the population, led to mass disappearances, and threatened the ability of communities to thrive economically.[2] Since its implementation, security officials have committed widespread human rights violations, including arbitrary detentions, torture, inhumane treatment, and deaths in custody, specifically targeting young people in poor neighborhoods.[3] Furthermore, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights named El Salvador the most dangerous Latin American country for women as it reported the highest number of murders of women in Latin America and the Caribbean.[4] Each of these human rights violations mean that Salvadorans living outside of the country are unable to return to the country safely at this time.”


“Both El Salvador and Honduras face separate but equally devastating realities that prevent individuals who have fled these countries from safely returning.”


TPS for El Salvador was designated in 2001.


Regarding Honduras, the lawmakers wrote: “The 2021 general elections faced unprecedented levels of political violence. Deadly attacks on municipal and congressional candidates and their supporters more than doubled in 2021, and at least 68 municipal or congressional candidates were murdered leading up to election day.[5] Further, the U.S. State Department’s 2022 country report on human rights practices in Honduras concludes that there have been significant human rights issues in the country, including criminal groups committing acts of ‘homicide, torture, kidnapping, extortion, human trafficking, intimidation, and other threats and violence,’ particularly against vulnerable populations, including human rights defenders, judicial authorities, women, and ethnic minorities.[6] …The ongoing humanitarian crises in Honduras coupled with the devastating impact of the environmental disasters, makes the safe return of Honduran TPS holders and those eligible for TPS inconceivable.”


TPS for Honduras was designated in 1999.


TPS for both El Salvador and Honduras is in jeopardy because of actions by the Trump Administration. Redesignating El Salvador and Honduras for TPS would ensure that current TPS recipients and those eligible for TPS from these countries receive needed protection.



In addition to Bennet, Hickenlooper, and Kaine, the letter was also signed by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), and 87 members of the U.S. House of Representatives.


The text of the letter is available here.