For Immediate Release

New Report Finds Over 750,000 Undocumented Central Americans Would Get Relief from Immigration Raids Under Expansion of Temporary Protected Status

Report from Immigrant Legal Resource Center Finds President Obama has Legal Authority to Expand Relief for Vulnerable Immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras

WASHINGTON - Over 750,000 undocumented Central Americans from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras would likely receive temporary protection from the Administration’s recent immigration raids, according to a new report issued today by the San Francisco-based Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC).

In response to the immigration raids conducted by U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Senator Bernie Sanders, and 146 members of the House of Representatives have called upon President Obama to end the raids and instead expand “Temporary Protected Status” to Central American refugees fleeing violence. Temporary Protected Status provides employment authorization and short-term deportation protection for immigrants who cannot be safely returned to their home countries. 

ILRC’s report, Relief Not Raids, analyzes the factual and legal grounds for such an expansion and provides estimates regarding how many individuals are likely to benefit. Among the report’s findings, are the following:

  • Expansion of TPS for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras would provide protection from deportation and employment authorization for 757,422 undocumented Central Americans, representing 6.7% of the nation’s undocumented population;
  • Expansion of TPS would benefit 258,555 individuals from El Salvador, 294,463 from Guatemala, and 204,424 from Honduras;
  • The Secretary of the DHS has the legal authority and factual basis to designate El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras for TPS as a result of escalating violence and various environmental disasters; and
  • As TPS was explicitly authorized by Congress and contains provisions preventing certain legal challenges, litigation against its expansive and broad use would be unlikely to succeed.


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“Unprecedented violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala has caused a humanitarian crisis that has forced migrants from those countries seek refuge in the United States,” said Bill Hing, Founder of the ILRC. “Unfortunately, our nation's response of detention and prioritizing the removal of unaccompanied children and mothers with children has resulted in a human rights crisis of our own making. To reverse the path toward an indignity that our nation will come to regret, the Obama Administration should grant Temporary Protected Status to those who have fled the violence.”

Over New Year’s weekend, the federal government apprehended 121 individuals for deportation to the Northern Triangle Central American countries. The ILRC report notes that between January 2014 and September 2015 more than 80 nationals deported to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala were subsequently murdered, according to reports.

“Immigration raids are a grossly inappropriate and ineffective response to a genuine humanitarian crisis,” said Jose Magaña-Salgado, Immigration Policy Attorney at ILRC and the report’s author. “Instead, President Obama must exercise his legal authority to expand Temporary Protected Status to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as individuals from those countries simply cannot safely return to their homes. To do otherwise would be to continue sending Central American refugees to their deaths.”


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The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, law enforcement, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC’s mission is to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities.

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