Termination of TPS Hurts Families and The Economy

Termination of TPS Hurts Families and The Economy

26,000 At Risk in New York

On January 8, 2018, the Trump administration announced that it would be terminating Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for individuals from El Salvador, and that these recipients have until September 9 to obtain another legal status or return to their country of birth. This follows a chain of terminations of other TPS statuses including Haiti, Sudan, and Nicaragua, while Honduras’s status is still under consideration. TPS provides protection from deportation and work authorization to individuals from countries that have are experiencing conditions such as civil war, natural disasters, epidemics and other temporary conditions that prevent the safe return of their citizens.

The United States has granted this status to 320,000 individuals, with more than 90 percent of this population originating from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti.[1]

Many TPS recipients have built a life in the United States and have become deeply embedded into American society. Sudan’s TPS designation began in 1997, Nicaragua and Honduras in 1999, El Salvador in 2001 and Haiti in 2010.[2] Most TPS recipients have spent over a decade, almost two, working, paying taxes, purchasing homes in the United States, and even have U.S.-born children and many have even arrived as children themselves.

The termination of TPS will tear families apart: there are an estimated 273,000 U.S. citizen TPS recipients.[3] These children have gone through the American school system, played with our children and their families are our neighbors.

According to the Center for Migration Studies, roughly 26,000 TPS holders reside in New York State.[4]

TPS holders in New York: Contributing to the Economy and Raising Kids

Country of origin Number of TPS Recipients Number of U.S.-Citizen Children with Parents who are TPS Recipients Annual GDP Contribution of TPS Recipients
El Salvador 16,200 15,600 $958.3 million
Honduras 4,600 4,300 $27.3 million
Haiti 5,200 1,900 $262.9 million

Source: “TPS Holders in New York,” (Washington D.C.: Center for American Progress, 2017). Data comes from Center for Migration Studies analysis of 2015 1-year American Community Survey (ACS) microdata.

If TPS is indeed revoked, not only will families be separated, causing emotional stress and trauma to the family members, but the U.S. economy will be affected as well. According to one estimate, if all TPS recipients from Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti are deported, the U.S. GDP could see a loss of $164 billion, as well as loss of $6.9 billion to Social Security and Medicare over the next decade. Businesses would also be affected and can expect $967 million in turnover costs.[5]

TPS holders are hardworking individuals, with a labor force participation rate of 89 percent, and they have contributed to Social Security, Medicare, property taxes, and more.[6] If TPS for these countries are terminated, they may never get to experience the benefits of the services that they helped contribute to. TPS recipients have become deeply engrained in American society and have worked, had children, and graduated from American high schools and colleges. It is only right that they get their fair share of the services that they paid for.

These individuals are also working in industries that are the backbone of our neighborhoods and cities. TPS holders are concentrated in the construction, food service, landscaping, child day care, and grocery store industries. They are watching our children while we work, taking care of our homes and helping build our communities.[7]

Across the United States, among the three main TPS groups, there are 200,000 households, and  31 percent have mortgages and own their own homes. [8] If all TPS recipients are deported, cities and neighborhoods around the U.S. will see an increase in vacant property, population decline and even the vibrancy of some neighborhoods lost. Loss of TPS status for individuals will lead to job loss, which ultimately will likely lead to foreclosed homes, depressed housing prices and unoccupied “Zombie Homes.” This impact will be particularly severe because tens of thousands of people will lose their work authorization on the same day, and abandonment of homes will likely occur around the same time.

Parts of New York have seen this story before. Patrick Young, the director of the Long Island-based Central American Refugee Center, points out that “in 2007-2009 during the foreclosure crisis Zombie Homes proliferated in Long Island’s communities of color. Many of these were left vacant for years. They quickly became the scenes of drug dealing, prostitution, and gang activity. This further depressed the value of neighboring homes. The presence of Zombie Homes, where gang business could be transacted, helped foster the expansion of MS-13 in Central Islip and Brentwood.”

Young anticipates that the areas on Long Island that will experience the most severe impacts are Central Islip, Brentwood, North Bay Shore, Huntington Station, Hempstead, Roosevelt, Freeport, Westbury, Glen Cove, New Cassel and Uniondale.

Many TPS recipients have been in the United States for years or even decades, trying to escape devastating conditions in their home country. It is unlikely that they will return to a country that is in no condition to receive them and will remain in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants. This is not good for our communities, as their labor may be exploited, and they may even fear to call the police when witnessing a crime.

These individuals have spent years building a life in the United States, while paying their taxes, going to work, starting businesses, purchasing homes, and doing things that are expected of all residents of the U.S. Taking away TPS doesn’t do anything to help American-born workers, and it does real harm to communities around New York State, and around the country.

By: Cyierra Roldan

 

[1] D’vera Cohn and Jeffrey S. Passel, “More than 100,000 Haitian and Central American Immigrants Face Decision on Their Status in the U.S.,” (Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center, 2017).

[2] Dates collected from USCIS website. See: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/temporary-protected-status

[3] Robert Warren and Donald Kerwin, “A Statistical and Demographic Profile of the US Temporary Protected Status Populations from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti,” (New York: Center for Migration Studies of New York, 2017). This is an estimate for children just from the three main countries of origin for TPS recipients.

[4] “Data Tables Offer Detailed Characteristics of Temporary Protection Status Recipients from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti by State” from the Center for Migration Studies. See: http://cmsny.org/tpstablesbystate/

[5] Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, Angie Bautista-Chavez and Laura Muñoz Lopez, “TPS Holders Are Integral Members of the U.S. Economy and Society,” (Washington, D.C.: Center for American Progress, 2017).

[6] Cecilia Menjivar, “Temporary Protected Status in the United States: The Experiences of Honduran and Salvadoran Immigrants,” (Center for Migration Research, 2017).

[7] D’vera Cohn and Jeffrey S. Passel, “More than 100,000 Haitian and Central American Immigrants Face Decision on Their Status in the U.S.,” (Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center, 2017).

[8] “Data Tables Offer Detailed Characteristics of Temporary Protection Status Recipients from El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti by State” from the Center for Migration Studies. See: http://cmsny.org/tpstablesbystate/