Over the next few weeks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for more than 300,000 recipients who have fled wars, natural disasters, and pandemics in their countries.
In Florida, there are 45,000 TPS recipients, mostly from Haiti, Honduras, and El Salvador and who have been living and working peacefully for years. At least 5,000 recipients are homeowners; thousands more have children. Some are small business owners who have built up vibrant neighborhoods such as Little Haiti and Sweetwater. Others are integral to key industries, like the hospitality and service sectors. They wheel our grandmothers at the airport, check us into hotels, cook our food, and clean our public institutions.
Eliminating TPS would create massive, costly damage to our communities and would result in a $164 billion loss from the U.S. GDP over the next decade, according to the Center for American Progress. Companies would incur $967 million in turnover costs as they are forced to lay off workers, hire and retrain new ones, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. Florida’s GDP would lose a whopping $1.7 billion annually.
How will we feel when we see the mom-and-pop restaurants and shops that we love boarded up? What about when we come home to find our neighbor’s house has been abandoned? What will we tell our child when they come home crying because their best friend had to flee the country with their parents?
Renewing TPS is the right thing to do for humanitarian and economic reasons. That is why it has broad support from Republicans, Democrats, business leaders, and workers. Immigrants are crucial to Florida’s diverse and fast growing economy. We urge DHS to extend TPS for these hard-working members of our society.
Mike Fernandez, founder, Immigration Partnership and Coalition Fund, Miami
Helene O’Brien, Florida state director, 32BJ SEIU, Miami