/ Modified oct 23, 2017 9:52 a.m.

Government Mulls Axing Temporary Protected Status, Clouding Future for 1,100 Arizonans

The construction, health care, hospitality and manufacturing industries would especially suffer from loss of workers if status stripped.

The federal government will soon decide whether to extend or cancel "temporary protected status" for roughly 1,100 Salvadorans, Hondurans and Haitians living in Arizona, according to a new report by the Center for American Progress.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security grants temporary protected status for three reasons: safety concerns due to an ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster or other extraordinary conditions. By law, the government has to decide whether to extend or cancel the designation 60 days before it expires, officials said.

The deadlines for Honduras and Haiti are in November, and El Salvador’s is in January, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“From our view, the issue of temporary protected status that affects over 300,000 immigrants who are deeply rooted in the United States, is the most important issue that most people have never heard of,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund, who took part in a press call about the report.

Honduras has had temporary protected status since 1999, El Salvador since 2001 and Haiti since 2010, according to USCIS. Recipients of temporary protected status are allowed to work and cannot be deported. The report by the Center for American Progress also found the U.S. could lose $164 billion worth of gross domestic product in a decade if the government cancels temporary protected status for the three countries.

The construction, health care, hospitality and manufacturing industries would especially suffer, said Laura Reiff, co-chair of the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition.

“As the unemployment is so low at this point, ripping over 300,000 people out of a workforce that is looking for workers just doesn’t make sense,” Reiff said.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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