If Temporary Protected Status Is Cut, Long Island’s Economy Will Suffer

Photo courtesy of Britt Selvitelle

As the Trump administration moves closer to end the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) program for immigrants from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Haiti, 10,000-15,000 people may lose their work permits and legal status as soon as January 2018.

While all of the TPS programs would not end on the same day, by the fall of 2018, they may have all been extinguished if the administration doesn’t seek to renew them.

According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), there are approximately 186,403 Salvadorans, 70,281 Hondurans, and 46,558 Haitians who have been granted TPS, totaling about 300,000 individuals.

The ILRC estimates that Long Island’s TPS holders will contribute over $2 billion to our economy. The organization added that deporting all Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS holders would cost taxpayers a staggering $3.1 billion dollars.

Looking back, the TPS designations for Honduras and Nicaragua stem from the Clinton administration. Thousands of Long Island’s Salvadorans have secured TPS since 2001. These are often people who have already lived and worked on Long Island for decades.

As Elise Damas pointed out in an op-ed in Newsday last week, “they are also the backbone of Long Island’s economy.”

“The overwhelming majority of TPS holders, who are allowed to live and work in the United States and are not eligible for public assistance, have made the most of the opportunity to create better lives for themselves and their families,” Damas wrote. “And, in doing so, they contribute mightily to Long Island’s economy.”

Coupled with the possible termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the end of TPS will have dire consequences for Long Island’s economy.

Long Island’s unemployment rate is at a very low 4.2 percent. The sudden removal of so many workers from the labor force could be devastating for many employers, causing ripples that will spread the potential suffering to those not directly affected by TPS.

“[If] TPS is not renewed, thousands of homes could be foreclosed, hundreds of businesses could be shuttered, and nearly 14,000 U.S.-born children, previously supported by parents with TPS, could be thrown into public assistance if their parents are deported,” added Damas, who’s also attorney at the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN).