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Sisters of Mercy Condemn Decision to End Temporary Protected Status for Honduran Nationals

May 04, 2018

Today’s decision by the Trump Administration to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 57,000 Honduran nationals is the latest in a series of inhumane and indefensible decisions that are uprooting and disrupting the lives of hundreds of thousands families and their communities.

The elimination of TPS will result in the removal of women and men who have been in the U.S. for 20 years, who worship by our side, who have families, own homes, pay taxes and work every day to improve their communities. These individuals will be forced to make the horrific choice of either bringing their U.S. citizen children to a dangerous and impoverished country in which they are strangers, or leaving them behind in the only country they have known.

“The termination of TPS for Honduran nationals is both disgraceful and immoral,” said Sister Patricia McDermott, RSM, president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. “Many of these individuals have been in the U.S. for 20 years, raising families and creating vibrant communities. Forcing their return to a country that is wracked by endemic violence and poverty will put their lives in danger, separate families, and have devastating effects on communities both in Honduras and the United States.”

TPS was originally granted in the wake of Hurricane Mitch, which wrought tremendous destruction on the Honduran agricultural and transportation infrastructures in 1998. It has repeatedly been extended by presidents – of both parties – as political and economic conditions deteriorated and levels of gang-related violence exploded, making the return to Honduras extraordinarily perilous and potentially deadly. The recent disputed presidential election in Nov. 2017 and the ensuing popular protests – which have been met with government repression and human rights violations committed by security forces – have only exacerbated the situation.

It has been distressing in recent weeks to witness the callous indifference to human suffering that has been the response to the “caravan” of refugees, many of them from Honduras, now seeking asylum in the United States. Rather than approach the complex issue of human migration with a willingness to seek solutions that respect the human dignity of migrants, President Trump has chosen to vilify people who have been driven from their homes by violence, persecution, poverty and corruption. During a campaign-style rally in Michigan on April 28, the president led his audience of thousands in a chorus of disdain for people in desperate circumstances.

Decades of U.S. policies and intervention, aimed at enshrining pro-U.S. governments and protecting the economic interests of American companies, have contributed in large part to the current conditions in Honduras.

Forcible repatriation of Honduran nationals will cause unspeakable disruptions to families, livelihoods and communities in both countries. Moreover, Honduras has neither the political stability nor the economic resources needed for the long-term integration of those returning, leaving people no choice but to again attempt a northward migration.

The Sisters of Mercy call for immediate just and humane treatment of all migrants and refugees, the extension of TPS for foreign nationals – including Hondurans – whose home countries lack the conditions that would afford them safety, security and opportunity, and the immediate termination of U.S. aid to Honduran military and security forces.

As Pope Francis wrote in his recent exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate: “We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the “grave” bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children. Can we not realize that this is exactly what Jesus demands of us, when he tells us that in welcoming the stranger we welcome him?”

See related media coverage:

  • USA Today Trump administration ends special immigration protections for 57,000 Hondurans, May 4, 2018
  • National Catholic Reporter End of Hondurans' protected status endangers 57,000 immigrants, advocates say, May 9, 2018
  • The Hill, Honduran lives at risk (editorial by Father Ismael Moreno, "Padre Melo"), May 12, 2018
  • Catholic News Service (subscription-only content) Catholic groups decry end to Temporary Protected Status for Hondurans, May 5, 2018
  • Crux Catholic groups decry end to Temporary Protected Status for Hondurans, May 5, 2018
  • Millennial Journal Catholic Leaders Criticize Trump Decision to End TPS for Tens of Thousands of Hondurans in US
  • The Arlington Catholic Herald Hondurans face change in protected status, May 9, 2018
  • Catholic Philly Catholic groups decry end to Temporary Protected Status for Hondurans, May 7, 2018
  • Arkansas Catholic End to Honduran Temporary Protected Status "immoral", May 8, 2018
  • Splinter Trump Administration Stripping Tens of Thousands of Hondurans of Protected Status, May 4, 2018
  • Inland News Today Trump administration gives 57,000 Hondurans 18 months to leave U.S., May 6, 2018
  • Courier Post Trump administration ends special immigration protections for 57,000 Hondurans, May 5, 2018
  • PressReader 57,000 migrants to lose status, May 5, 2018

 

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