On April 26th, The Department of Homeland Security ended the TPS program for Nepal, giving the roughly 9,000 current TPS holders until June 24, 2019 to adjust their status or “self-deport.”
This month, Kajal reported on Nepali-American activists’ fight to preserve TPS for their country, and the consequences that could come from revoking this already bare-bones immigration protection from the many Nepalis who have lived, worked and built families in the US. Upon hearing the DHS decision, the advocacy and worker’s rights center Adhikaar, which serves the Nepali-speaking community, released a statement, quoting their director Pabitra Khati Benjamin: “Terminating TPS for Nepal is not just wrong but immoral. Less than 13.3% of the homes affected [by the 2015 Nepal earthquake] have been rebuilt. . . Canceling TPS adds to the immigration crisis our country is suffocating under as a result of our political leaders’ inability to address immigration reform.”
Without TPS, the remaining hope for the Nepali beneficiaries– as well as for others from countries like Haiti and El Salvador who also lost their TPS status– is a legislative fix. Last year, two bills were proposed in Congress, known as the American Promise Act of 2017 and the SECURE Act, that would give current and recently lapsed TPS holders a path to apply for permanent residency, commonly known as a green card. Another bill introduced in 2017, the ASPIRE-TPS Act, would create a new “protected status” that would last for six years at a time with the possibility of renewal.
Obviously, none of these bills have made it very far in the legislative process yet. TPS holders and advocates in the immigrant justice community are encouraging the public to put pressure on their representatives to pass one of these bills and redress some of the wrongs done to thousands of immigrants by the Trump administration’s xenophobic policies.