WNPR

Union Leaders Criticize End Of Temporary Protected Status For Honduras

May 9, 2018

Union leaders representing janitors, maintenance, and food service workers in Connecticut say the end of Temporary Protected Status for Honduras is unfair and will tear families apart.

Hundreds of Hondurans have been living and working legally under the TPS program in Connecticut and Massachusetts since 1999, after a major hurricane slammed into the Central American country. Last week, the Trump administration announced conditions related to the storm have improved, so Hondurans with TPS must prepare to leave the U.S. by January 2020.

Alberto Bernardez is district leader for 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union in Connecticut, which has many Honduran members.

“Most of these people have been living continuously in the United States for decades now,” he said. “The possibilities of going back to Honduras is hard. Hondurans are running from the country at this particular time because of danger and uncertainty.”

While the 1999 hurricane was a major event in Honduran immigration to the U.S., the issue today is violence. The largest single group of people in the migrant caravan that recently arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border is from Honduras, fleeing gang violence, and political unrest.

Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Bernardez, who is originally from Honduras, says 32BJ is offering legal services to its members, and speaking with legislators to try and reverse the decision.

“Not only because many of our members in this case are Hondurans,” he said. “Thousands of members of 32BJ are born in a foreign country. So we’re going to be engaged in trying to find a solution and helping our members individually too.”

Hundreds of thousands of people will soon be forced to leave the U.S. The Trump administration has opted to end TPS for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Nepal, Liberia, and Sudan.