On Friday, May 4th, 2018, the Administration announced that it will end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for approximately 60,000 Hondurans. TPS is a legal immigration status that allows citizens from other countries who are present in the U.S. during a catastrophe in their country to remain in the U.S. until it is safe to return home. As a church that affirms that earthly peace requires safeguarding the dignity and well-being of every person, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is disappointed by the Administration’s decision that will separate families and harm communities.

Just this week, over 600 faith leaders and organizations delivered a letter in support of continuing TPS for Hondurans.

“Lutherans are blessed with the gifts that Hondurans bring to our communities throughout the United States and in Central America,” Mary Campbell, Program Director for AMMPARO, said in the letter. “Thanks to the programs we accompany in Honduras, we know that the vast majority of Hondurans that are deported have little to no long-term support despite returning to unsafe conditions, and facing trauma and stigma. Ending TPS would create a crisis in the face of an already challenging landscape in Honduras.”

Through the AMMPARO Strategy, the ELCA strengthened our commitment to walk alongside children and families who are forced to flee their homes in Central America. We did this to respond to the suffering of thousands of unaccompanied children and families that are displaced from their communities due to violence, lack of opportunities and environmental issues.

This marks the 7th time the Administration has rescinded an immigration status that provides protection to members of our communities. Children and family members of TPS or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders from El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua, Liberia, Nepal, and Honduras, many of whom are U.S. citizens, will bear the brunt of these Administrative decisions.

We pray today for all who are suffering due to these decisions and ask members of our church to join us in prayer and action. At the same time, we urge Congress to pass timely legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship these important members of our communities.