In the wake of the Ecuadorian earthquake, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today called for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ecuadorian nationals currently residing in the United States. The TPS designation is a temporary benefit aimed at providing relief to foreign nationals in the United States and countries devastated by natural disasters. It would allow Ecuadorian nationals, now in the country, to stay in the U.S. for a set period of time while their home nation recovers. In response to past natural disasters, the U.S. has extended TPS to Honduras, Nicaragua and Haiti. As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Immigration & the National Interest, Schumer, joined by Gillibrand, is asking that Ecuadorian nationals be granted TPS to prevent possible deportation to a ravaged country.
“This is a compassionate and commonsense action that will remove a burden of worry from Ecuadorian nationals residing here in the states whose visas may expire or may otherwise be required to return home. As Ecuador recovers from this disaster, the U.S. can help in many ways, including granting Temporary Protected Status to Ecuadorian nationals residing here in the United States. Granting TPS will provide reprieve to those in danger of being deported or in violation of law for overstaying their visas. I am urging the Department of Homeland Security to grant TPS immediately as it is the right thing to do,” said Senator Schumer.
“The extreme loss of life and thousands still missing from the devastating earthquake in Ecuador is truly heartbreaking,” said Senator Gillibrand. “My thoughts and prayers are with the New York families that are fearing for their loved ones in Ecuador right now. Many of these families have experienced far too much anguish already from this tragedy. I am urging the Department of Homeland Security to grant these families temporary protected status so they do not have to live in fear of having to immediately return to a country ravaged with widespread devastation – during a natural disaster, safety should be the first priority.”
State Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens), who represents more than 46,000 people of Ecuadorian descent in his district, said, “Ecuador and its people need all the help we can provide them as they recover from one of the worst earthquakes in their history. As we continue to mourn those who tragically lost their lives, I encourage the United States to grant Temporary Protection Status to Ecuadorians living in my district, in the City and throughout the nation. This is simply about compassion. I want to thank Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and all other elected officials requesting TPS for Ecuadorians residing in the U.S.”
“As the first and only Ecuadorian-American elected official in New York, representing thousands of Ecuadorians in my district and beyond, I applaud Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand’s call to the federal government to grant Ecuadorian nationals the Temporary Protected Status (TPS),” said Assemblyman Francisco Moya. “The TPS would ensure that all Ecuadorian citizens with a visa living in the U.S. would be protected from deportation, and have their work authorization so they can support themselves while helping their relatives in Ecuador to recover from the devastation and the loss of hundreds of lives, caused by the 7.8 earthquake.”
The TPS designation is implemented through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and is a temporary benefit aimed at providing relief to immigrants residing in the United States who are unable to safely return to their home country. TPS can be granted in the event of an ongoing armed conflict, an environment disaster as well as other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
Once granted TPS, individuals may not be deported, can obtain an employment authorization document and may be granted travel authorization. In addition, individuals cannot be detained by DHS on the basis of their immigration status.
TPS has been granted to beneficiaries in the past. TPS designation was granted and extended for Honduras due to Hurricane Mitch. TPS designation was also granted to Haiti due to the 2010 earthquake.