McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Senate Democrats in Washington on Monday asked the Biden administration to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) be extended to migrants of four Central American countries from where most are migrating to the U.S. Southwest border.
The request was made to re-designate TPS for migrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. And for the first time, they are asking that Guatemalan migrants also be granted TPS.
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the senators cited worsening humanitarian conditions across Central America, as well as rising coronavirus cases and multiple natural disasters, including back-to-back hurricanes and drought, have led to a surge of migrants from the region to flee North to try to claim asylum in the United States.
“The crisis in Central America is urgent,” reads the letter from Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, of New Jersey, and 32 Democratic colleagues. “The effects of the natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic have profoundly exacerbated food insecurity, violence, and led to rising social tensions. Forced displacement continues to plague the region.”
Democrats say drought has led to food insecurity and farmers in the region face the worst dry farming season in 35 years, according to the World Food Program.
Over 8 million people in 2021 went hungry, up from 2.2 million in the region in 2018, WFP reports.
TPS is a humanitarian tool that allows Congress to provide relief for those unable to return to their countries due to extraordinary conditions.
“The Biden administration must act and provide certainty for eligible individuals from Central American during this challenging moment. These temporary designations would give the U.S. government more time to partner with governments and civil society in the region to ensure that the return of a large number of individuals to Central America does not create further instability and volatility,” according to the letter, which was signed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, both California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, and both New Mexico Senators Ben Ray Lujan and Martin Heinrich.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.