Guatemala TPS Follow-up
Hey everyone... I just received the following information from NISGUA, the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala. It is provides a perfect follow-up to yesterday's post on Guatemala's request for Temporary Protection Status.
Please read the following information and then contact the Department of Homeland Security (which now oversees all immigration enforcement) to voice your support for protecting Guatemalan immigrants under the TPS.
Included in this post are:
- Information from NISGUA
- A letter from the National Immigration Forum
- A sample letter to fax or email to Secretary Michael Chertoff of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- A brief explanation of Temporary Protected Status
Dear NISGUA friends,
Below is an action alert is regarding immigration issues, asking for Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for Guatemalan nationals in the U.S. in response to the destruction caused by Hurricane Stan. The alert was issued by the National Immigration Forum, with a sample letter for organizations. However, you can easily use the same format as an individual.
Granting TPS to Guatemalans does not correct the underlying injustice in economic and immigration policies, but is an acknowledgement of the enormous humanitarian crisis caused by Hurricane Stan. The call for TPS has been a rare case of agreement among the Guatemalan government and Guatemalan civil society, as well as Guatemalan organizations in the U.S. such as Conguate, Guatemalan Peace and Development Network, and Mayas in Exile (OPME). We hope you can respond to this alert.
Andrew de Sousa, NISGUA
To: Interested Immigration Advocates
From: Maurice Belanger
Re: Temporary Protected Status for Guatemalans in the Wake of Hurricane Stan
As was widely reported in the press, Guatemala was hit by a tropical storm early in October that killed many people, left thousands homeless, and caused widespread damage to the country’s agricultural production.
The Guatemalan government has made a request to the U.S. government that Guatemalans in the U.S. be granted Temporary Protected Status.
The Forum has sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff supporting the request for Temporary Protected Status.
Your organization can assist in this effort by submitting your own letter. A sample letter, with address and fax number, is copied below.
Via Fax: (202) 282-8236
or click here to post the letter on the DHS website.
I'd also encourage you to forward this letter to your elected members of Congress!
November 16, 2005
Secretary Michael Chertoff
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Secretary Chertoff,
I am writing to you to support the Guatemalan Government’s request that, in the wake of Hurricane Stan, Guatemalans in the U.S. be given protection from deportation by a grant of Temporary Protected Status.
On the first week of October of this year, extremely heavy rainfall caused by Hurricane Stan fell over Central America and southern Mexico. Guatemala was most affected by the disaster, with loss of life, widespread damage to infrastructure, and agricultural losses.
In Guatemala, there are hundreds of confirmed deaths, and thousands are missing, with entire communities buried. More than 120,000 people have been displaced. Some 700 communities have been affected. Thousands of homes have been destroyed, and tens of thousands have been damaged.
A preliminary assessment of damage to the infrastructure has found more than five thousand kilometers of road severely damaged, with nineteen main bridges out. Damage to hydroelectric plants is considerable, as is damage to the electrical distribution system. Food shortages for the general population are acute. News reports of the disaster indicate that more than one third of the countries’ agriculture was wiped out as a result of the storm.
The Guatemalan community here in the U.S. sends more than $2 billion worth of remittances that help maintain social stability and provide basic needs to relatives in Guatemala. These remittances take on added importance while Guatemala recovers from the storm.
Until the country can get back on its feet, we believe that granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Guatemalans in the United States will help ameliorate the desperate situation of those victims that may benefit from funds sent by relatives in the U.S. We also believe that it is in the interest of the U.S. not to return people so soon after this natural disaster, as that may create instability in a country that is only recently coming back from civil war, and where poverty was already very high before the storm.
Such a grant would certainly not be without precedent, as Nicaraguans and Hondurans were granted Temporary Protected Status after suffering widespread destruction from Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
We are aware that the Guatemalan Government has officially requested TPS for Guatemalans in the United States, as the conditions that justify this are widely prevalent in the country. Therefore we strongly support granting TPS, and we ask that you give this request serious consideration.
END SAMPLE LETTER
Temporary Protected Status
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is sometimes granted to nationals of countries in crisis who are presently in the U.S. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may designate a country for TPS if the people from that country who are currently in the U.S. would face "on-going armed conflict," natural disaster, or "extraordinary temporary conditions" that would place them in danger if they were to be returned to their home country.
People are granted TPS if they can prove they are from a designated country and that they were present in the U.S. on or before the date the DHS Secretary made the designation. A country's designation for Temporary Protected Status may last for 6, 12, or 18 months. Persons with TPS will not be deported, and may live and work legally in the U.S. until the designated period expires.
TPS can be renewed if the Secretary of DHS determines that unsafe conditions in the country persist. As of January 2005, nationals of eight designated countries were protected by TPS. Those countries were: Burundi, El Salvador, Honduras, Liberia, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Somalia, and Sudan.
Revised January 2005
From The National Immigration Forum
Tags: Guatemala, TPS, Immigration, Stan
Posted by elcanche at November 16, 2005 03:22 PM