January 12, 2018

News from our Partners: SOA Watch condemns TPS cancellation

On January 8th, President decided to cancel Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the people from Haiti and El Salvador. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) return to Haiti and El Salvador can resume because of the humanitarian conditions that once caused citizens from both countries to flee is no more. This is in reference to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2001 earthquake in El Salvador. The removal of immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador will commence in the summer of 2019, making thousands of families subject to separation through deportation. TPS for Nicaragua was removed on November 2017, and the continuation for TPS for Honduras is under negotiation despite the current political crisis after the electoral fraud where Juan Orlando Hernández, supported by the government of the United States, was re-elected as president.

TPS, like DACA, has its limits in that it is not permanent residency and does not lead to citizenship. Recipients of both programs are not allowed to travel outside of the United States, already fueling family separation and interjecting borders in everyday life regardless of the distance from the physical border. The cancellation of such programs destabilize everyday realities and fuel the the racist systems of oppression that criminalize and kill migrants, refugees and communities of color. We recognize the culture of anti-blackness that Haitians must navigate, and recognize the U.S. intervention that fuels political conditions.

SOAW condemns this decision and stands in solidarity with all the individuals and families that now face uncertainty over their futures. Further, we denounce U.S. policy that lead to the intervention in the Salvadoran war and forced migration as a result.

Furthermore, this decision entrenches the notion that migration has little to do with U.S. intervention. But we will not allow our history to be erased or for the crimes of the U.S. government to go unaccounted for. To claim that TPS has been granted solely for natural disaster-related conditions is to deny the involvement in political-related conditions that create refugees and fuel migration; it rewrites history while erasing U.S. involvement.

That’s why when TPS is revoked, we remember the role of School of the Americas in training military death squads that have tortured, murdered, and disappeared whole communities. We will in spite of the U.S. government’s violence towards our communities keep presente the victims of the UCA massacre - in which Elba Ramos, her 16-year-old daughter Celina Ramos, and 6 Jesuit priests - Ignacio Ellacuría, Ignacio Martín Baró, Segundo Montes, Amando López, Juan Ramón Moreno and Joaquín López y López were murdered in El Salvador on November 16, 1989. It was after the anniversary of their murder that Father Roy Bourgeois and other activists held the first vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, and did so for 26 years. In 2016, SOAW relocated to Arizona to host the Border Encuentro acknowledging the intersection of the deadly border militarization and the legacy of School of the Americas.

Regardless of the intimidations and threats reigning down from the Trump administration that, we are fully committed to continuing our resistance, and to uplifting the struggle of the 11 million undocumented people. We acknowledge the difficulty and uncertainty in families after the cancellation of TPS and DACA; we recognize the intention of increased border militarization through immigration reform, and we remember the tortures, deaths, and disappearances by SOA graduates. We hold the United States and Trump administration accountable. We will not forget.

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