Retaining Temporary Protected Status is critical to nationals from 10 countries who live in the United States—where they work to support themselves—and family members who remain in their country of origin, where there is scarce opportunity for stable living.
Each of these 10 countries continues to face conditions that should qualify it for TPS designation and afford their nationals protection in the United States. Terminating TPS for any of these countries would place thousands of people in imminent danger of facing war, famine, disease, or devastating hunger.
Here's a snapshot of conditions in these countries, based on information provided by the Interfaith Immigration Coalition:
Salvadoran citizens initially received TPS after two major earthquakes devastated the country in 2001, killing more than 1,000 people and affecting approximately 1.5 million residents. Hurricanes and tropical storms, heavy rains and flooding, volcanic and seismic activity, an ongoing coffee rust epidemic, and a prolonged regional drought all have slowed the recovery process. Basic needs, such as water, housing, and electricity remain scarce for significant portions of the population. In addition, robbery, extortion, and murder rates remain high. Health crises such as the Zika epidemic, dengue, and chikungunya have plagued the country. Salvadoran nationals are the largest group of TPS recipients.
TPS was originally granted to Haitians following a devastating earthquake of 7.0 magnitude that occurred Jan. 12, 2010, affecting 3 million people—one-third of Haiti's population. Together with several aftershocks, Haiti was left without infrastructure for electricity, telephone services, and fuel. Basic needs such as food and water are also scarce. Then, Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti on Oct. 4, 2016, leaving 175,000 people without housing. Heavy rain in late April 2017 additionally destroyed an estimated 80 percent of the spring harvest in southern Haiti and affected 350,000 people. U.N. peacekeepers introduced a cholera epidemic, which was contracted by 800,000 and killed 10,000 Haitians. Altogether, 30 percent of Haitians have limited access to food, 40 percent lack access to fundamental health care, and there remains limited water, food, and sanitation. The need for TPS renewal as it applies to Haitians is vital while the country continues to rebuild.
Hurricane Mitch struck Honduras in 1998, leading to the initial TPS designation for the country. The hurricane killed more 5,000 people and displaced 1.1 million individuals, destroying 70 percent of the roads, housing, communication infrastructure, and water and sanitation systems in Honduras—altogether setting Honduras back 20 years. Climate fluctuations between heavy rainfall and prolonged drought continue to challenge recovery efforts, because extreme rain exacerbates mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and chikungunya, and drought leads to crop losses and food insecurity. In addition, Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world, along with extremely high levels of femicide, extortion, and other dangerous crimes.
TPS was originally designated to Nepal due to the earthquake on April 25, 2015, which affected more than a quarter of the country's population, killed nearly 9,000 people, and displaced millions of people. Nepal was redesignated in October of 2016 because country conditions remain significantly damaged from the earthquake. In August 2017, the country was hit by severe rain, flooding, and landslides, affecting 1.7 million people and displacing 21,000 families.
TPS for Nicaraguans began in 1998 following Hurricane Mitch, a catastrophic storm that affected close to 868,000 people and caused $1.5 billion in damage. Severe environmental disasters have slowed repairs: Only a small portion of the 41,000 homes have been rebuilt, only 12 percent of Nicaragua's roads have been repaired, and many schools and health care facilities remain in need of repair. The hurricane’s impact has made Nicaragua the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. In 2011, heavy rain caused by tropical depression resulted in landslides and flooding, damaging property, infrastructure, and agriculture. Approximately 2,800 Nicaraguans are currently in the United States under TPS.
Approximately 5,800 Syrians reside in the U.S. under TPS. Since 2011, millions of people have fled violence in Syria. More than 6 million are internally displaced, and 13.5 million people in the country need humanitarian assistance as the war continues. The widespread violence threatens everyone in Syria.
TPS was originally designated for Yemen as a result of ongoing conflict and civil war. Because of the conflict, Yemen is undergoing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world with $2.3 billion needed in funds, 14 million people who are food insecure, 14.8 million people who lack access to basic health care, 462,000 children under age five who are severely acutely malnourished, and 2.9 million internally displaced people. An average of 75 people are killed or injured every day. The country is on the brink of famine. Currently 1,000 Yemenis reside in the U.S. under TPS.
TPS for Sudan was originally designated in 1997 due to internal conflict and a large displacement of Sudanese nationals. In Sudan, violent armed conflict, especially in Darfur and the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states), has continued into 2017. In their 2017 report, Human Rights Watch found that government forces were killing civilians, raping women and girls, and destroying villages, displacing 190,000 people by September of 2016. Around 4.8 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance, 3.6 million Sudanese needed food of livelihood assistance, including 2.2 million acutely malnourished children below the age five.
South Sudan was designated for TPS in 2011 in response to ongoing armed conflict, internal displacement, forced migration, and food insecurity. Since its independence in 2011, famine, border conflicts with Sudan, and violent armed conflict with rebel groups have destabilized the country, limiting aid access, and causing widespread displacement. In April of 2017, Human Rights Watch has reported that the South Sudanese government is committing repeated ethnic killings and other forms of violence against civilians. As of February of 2017, 4.8 million people in South Sudan are facing hunger, more than 5.1 million are in need of aid, and 2.1 million are internally displaced.
TPS was originally designated for Somalia in 1991 due to severe armed conflict. This designation has been renewed 23 times as the conflict continues and prevents Somalis from returning in safety. The situation in Somalia is exacerbated by a volatile security situation, unstable access to health care and clean water, rampant food insecurity, and adverse weather effects like those of 2015-2016 El Nino, which caused natural disasters including drought and flooding. Currently, 6.2 million people are in need of assistance, 388,000 are severely malnourished children under age five, and 1.1 million people are internally displaced.