Velazquez Leads 70 Members of Congress in Calling on Biden Administration to Designate TPS for Central American Countries Devastated by Hurricanes Eta and Iota
Lawmakers Say Executive Branch Ought to Use its Authority to Grant TPS Protections to Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador
Washington, DC—Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has led 70 Members of Congress in sending a letter to the Biden Administration urging the executive branch to use its authority to designate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador as a part of the United States’ federal response to a series of devastating Category 4 hurricanes in the region late last year.
“While legislation has been introduced in the House to address the humanitarian crisis in Central America, the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the State Department, have the independent authority to make TPS designations consistent with our national interests,” wrote the lawmakers. “Given the impact of the hurricanes, we strongly support the designation of these countries under section 244 of the INA and encourage the full use of the discretionary powers that Congress has already provided to the executive branch.”
TPS permits qualifying individuals to remain temporarily and work lawfully in the United States. In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, these Central American countries were already battling a massive public health crisis and food insecurity when they were hit by two Category 4 hurricanes, Eta and Iota. The storms impacted over 309,000 homes as well as critical infrastructure such as roads and airports, while also devastating local agriculture. Asserting that conditions on the ground in these countries satisfy the statutory criteria for TPS designation, the lawmakers are urging the Biden Administration to use its executive authority to grant TPS protections.
In addition to Velázquez, the letter is signed by Representatives: Bonnie Watson Coleman; Adriano Espaillat; Mondaire Jones; Zoe Lofgren; Jan Schakowsky; James P. McGovern; Albio Sires; Ruben Gallego; Jerrold Nadler; Alan Lowenthal; Jesús G. “Chuy” García; Sheila Jackson Lee; Deborah K. Ross; Gregory W. Meeks; Grace F. Napolitano; Nanette Diaz Barragán; Lucille Roybal-Allard; André Carson; Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr.; Alcee L. Hastings; Betty McCollum; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Tony Cárdenas; Earl Blumenauer; Barbara Lee; Ayanna Pressley; Jimmy Gomez; Raul M. Grijalva; Veronica Escobar; Jamie Raskin; Carolyn B. Maloney; Pramila Jayapal; Rashida Tlaib; Jerry McNerney; Sylvia R. Garcia; Norma J. Torres; Dina Titus; John Yarmuth; Juan Vargas; Joaquin Castro; Anthony G. Brown; James R. Langevin; Eleanor Holmes Norton; Michael F.Q. San Nicolas; Grace Meng; Ritchie Torres; Salud Carbajal; Mike Quigley; Linda T. Sánchez; Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D.; Ted Deutch; Mark Pocan; Gerald E. Connolly; Lori Trahan; Rashida Tlaib; Lisa Blunt Rochester; Debbie Dingell; Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Darren Soto; Frank Pallone, Jr.; David N. Cicilline; Brendan F. Boyle; Raul Ruiz, M.D.; Peter Welch; Judy Chu; Pete Aguilar; Mary Gay Scanlon; Bill Pascrell, Jr.; and Jason Crow.
The full letter is available here.