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NASW opposes President Trump’s Revocation of Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for Immigrants

Association condemns President's racist comments toward Haiti, El Salvador and African nations


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Association of Social Workers and its D.C. Metro Chapter oppose the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement that it will end Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for El Salvador. The action is misguided and could lead to disturbing humanitarian consequences. In the Washington, D.C. metro area alone there are more than 30,000 Salvadorans who will be directly impacted by this decision. 

Congress created TPS in 1990 to grant temporary protection to people who could not return to their home countries because of a political or environmental catastrophe. El Salvador was designated for TPS when the country was struck by a a massive earthquake in 2001. DHS gave this rationale for terminating TPS status for El Salvador: 

The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador was made after a review of the disaster-related conditions upon which the country’s original designation was based and an assessment of whether those originating conditions continue to exist as required by statute. Based on careful consideration of available information, including recommendations received as part of an inter-agency consultation process, the Secretary determined that the original conditions caused by the 2001 earthquakes no longer exist. Thus, under the applicable statute, the current TPS designation must be terminated.  

The Trump administration failed to consider the fate of as many as 200,000 Salvadorians who have been living legally in the United State as TPS residents for almost 20 years. With the initial phase of deportations scheduled to begin in September 2019, most of those affected will have a relatively short time period to reorganize their lives to relocate to El Salvador. 

Many of these individuals are children and young adults who have never lived in El Salvador and know little about the culture or language. Others are heads of households who have established deep roots in the United States, including employment. The Trump administration’s decision fails to recognize that El Salvador is beset with economic and public safety problems that could negatively affect returning TPS residents. 

Trump Administration plans to cancel TPS status for Haiti in 2019

Compounding this action is the fact that not only are Salvadorans being impacted by the administration’s aggressive TPS policy but Haitians will soon suffer the same fate. More than 50,000 Haitians who have lived and worked in the United States since a catastrophic 2010 earthquake were informed by DHS that their TPS designation will be canceled in 2019. LikeSalvadorans, Haitians will be forced to return to a country that younger children know nothing about. They will also be forced to leave jobs and return to a place with high adult unemployment. 

The social work profession is adamantly opposed to all governmental policies that result in massive disruptions of the lives of individuals, families, and children. The Trump TPS revocation policy does just that. 

Unfortunately, the debate over the fate of Salvadorans and Haitians turned even uglier when - during a negotiating session with a small group of members of Congress - President Trump made racially charged disparaging and profane remarks about the country of Haiti, the entire African continent, and El Salvador. Trump’s remarks were an overt indication of his apparent deeply held views that citizens from black and brown nations are inherently undesirable as immigrants to the United States, as compared with citizens of European countries such as Norway. 

NASW condemns Trump's racially charged and demeaning remarks about Haiti, African nations and El Salvador

Trump’s demeaning statement about his preferences as to which racial and ethnic groups should be allowed in the United States most certainly indicated what drove his decision to revoke TPS eligibility from Salvadorans and Haitians. 

What’s more, we can also assume that his strong opposition to the “diversity lottery” is racially motivated. The administration clings to the misinformed notion that the lottery is akin to a racial quota system, but the history of U.S. immigration policy refutes that position. 

Modern African migration increased after 1990 with the diversity lottery. It is a little-known fact that when Congress authorized 50,000 new immigrants a year as a diversity category, it primarily intended to bring in people from prosperous European countries where the desire to migrate to the United States was very low. 

The irony was that many well-educated Africans used the diversity lottery to their advantage to emigrate to this country. African immigrants did not leave their “huts” to come here. In fact, their legal use of the diversity lottery allowed them to bring highly desirable skills that contributed to the U.S. economy. 

NASW and its D.C. Metro Chapter urge the Trump administration to consider the consequences of its order to revoke TPS classification for Salvadorans and Haitians. From a humanitarian point of view, the administration must immediately rescind this order. 

At the same time, NASW condemns President Trump’s racist comments directed at prospective immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and the 54 countries on the African continent. It is time for American leaders to fully embrace diversity and fairness in a comprehensive immigration policy. Our country cannot allow itself to regress to accepting immigration policies that explicitly exclude immigrants from black and brown countries. 


If you are affected by this order and have questions about your status, please call 800-375-5283 or visit the Temporary Protected Status website.


The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.