Activists rally in Morristown to protest end of ‘protected’ status for Hondurans

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By Ben Slattery

Around 60 people gathered on the historic Morristown Green on Saturday in a show of solidarity for immigrants from Honduras, Nepal, Haiti and El Salvador who are facing the loss of their Temporary Protected Status.

Demonstrators at the Morristown Green protest end of TPS status for Honduran immigrants, May 5, 2018. Photo by Ben Slattery.
Demonstrators at the Morristown Green protest end of TPS status for Honduran immigrants, May 5, 2018. Photo by Ben Slattery.

Morristown’s Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center organized the rally on the Green as a response to the Trump administration rescinding Temporary Protected Status for Hondurans, who have been allowed to live and work in the United States for nearly two decades.

Brian Lozano of Wind of the Spirit led a march around the Green that ended in front of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s (R-11th Dist.) office on Schuyler Place.

Lozano led chants in Spanish, translating to “united the people will never be defeated.”

Activists carried signs stating “no human being is illegal” and “we are not temporary.”

Ann-Marie Cantarero speaks outside Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's office, May 5, 2018. Photo by Ben Slattery
Ann-Marie Cantarero speaks outside Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s office, May 5, 2018. Photo by Ben Slattery

The United States has offered Temporary Protected Status to people who are unable to return safely to their home countries because of ongoing armed conflict or environmental disasters. The program provides immigrants already in the United States with temporary legal status and work permits, regardless of whether they entered legally.

But tens of thousands of Hondurans must depart by January 2020. On Friday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security decided the situation in Honduras has improved enough for its expatriates to return.

According to Wind of the Spirit, expelling these immigrants to their native countries will splinter families, disrupt local economies and endanger many TPS recipients.

TPS holders shared their fears as they congregated outside Frelinghuysen’s office.

Jessika Giron said her family was kidnapped and robbed on a visit back to Honduras. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Jessika Giron of Dover said she does not want to return to her native Honduras, where she said her family was kidnapped and robbed on a visit. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Nov. 10, 2017.

Jessika Giron said she is frightened by the possibility of having to return to Honduras, where she was kidnapped while taking a taxi in Comayagua.

“The situation in Honduras is very bad, the violence is very dramatic,” she said. “They took me at  and all the money and things we took for vacation was taken. I thought that was the end of my life.”

Pastora Vasquez expressed similar sentiments on the harsh reality of life in Honduras.

“It pains me to talk about the situation in Honduras, that is where I am from,” she said. “The politics there are beneath us, if they want to separate us they will not, my daughter will remain here, she is a U.S. citizen.”

Vasquez emigrated to the U.S. in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch, and has created a life here for her daughter and herself. If Vazquez is forced to return to Honduras, she fears that her daughter, an 8th grade honor student, may have to drop out and work to survive without her mother’s support.

Ben Slattery is a senior at Drew University.

Activists outside Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's office, protesting end of TPS status for Honduran immigrants, May 5, 2018. Photo by Ben Slattery.
Activists outside Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s office, protesting end of TPS status for Honduran immigrants, May 5, 2018. Photo by Ben Slattery.
TPS rally in Morristown, May 5, 2018. Photo by Ben Slattery.
TPS rally in Morristown, May 5, 2018. Photo by Ben Slattery.
TPS rally in Morristown, May 5, 2018. Photo by Ben Slattery.
TPS rally in Morristown, May 5, 2018. Photo by Ben Slattery.
TPS rally in Morristown, May 5, 2018. Photo by Ben Slattery.
TPS rally in Morristown, May 5, 2018. Photo by Ben Slattery.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. The “temporary” part of TPS means “lasting for a limited amount of time and not permanent.” Why did they not apply for citizenship or legal residence in the decades that they have been living here?

  2. A reason your vote is important:

    The decision to terminate TPS for 60,000 people from Honduras who have been living in the U.S. is a cruel and completely unnecessary attempt to destroy the lives of immigrants and their American children. This decision is a clear result of deep-seated anti-immigrant sentiment and clearly did not come from a sound evaluation of the conditions faced by Hondurans abroad. They are members of our communities that make substantial contributions to our economy and culture.

    It is more important than ever that we have a Congress that will provide a permanent solution for the TPS holders from many countries.

    It is more important than ever that we vote and spread the word about voting in the upcoming primary election on June 6th.

  3. Unwilling to learn our language or follow our laws, I say: “Depot them!”

    Build the wall!

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