Families Torn Apart

American Friends Service Committee

Families Torn Apart

At 19, Jorge Velasquez fled the violence in his country of origin of El Salvador and came to the United States in 1995. Since 2001, he’s been legally able to work and support his wife and three children, thanks to Temporary Protected Status (TPS)—a government program that grants protection from deportation to people from certain countries afflicted by natural disasters, war, or other dangerous conditions. In January 2018, Jorge received shocking news—the Trump Administration cancelled TPS for El Salvador.

There are nearly 200,000 TPS holders like Jorge from El Salvador, who are currently living and building their lives and families in the United States. For the past 17 years, Jorge has created a life for himself in Colorado, away from the violence and insecurity in El Salvador.

The U.S. is his home. “We are contributing to this country,” says Jorge, ”What we want is to work hard and be well. And what we need is to be granted residency.”

Now, Jorge is left with few options. In August of 2019, Jorge’s TPS status— and that of hundreds of thousands of other Salvadorans’—will expire permanently. Without TPS, Jorge can’t legally work and our laws do not allow him a path to apply for residency. His wife is currently in sanctuary, to protect herself from deportation. His extended family—brothers, uncles, and aunts—have also built lives for themselves in Colorado as TPS holders. He has three U.S. citizen children, ages 5 and under. The US is the only country they have ever known.

That’s why AFSC’s Coloradans for Immigrant Rights (CFIR) Program and other programs across the country—in Newark, Miami, Des Moines, and Cambridge—have been working hard on the Residency Now! Campaign, which calls for legal permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship for all TPS recipients. AFSC works directly with TPS holders and their children and provides opportunities for them to share their powerful stories while organizing for change.

Listen and share Jorge’s full story here, and join us as we work to save TPS and advocate for permanent residency.

Kristin Kumpf
Director of Human Migration and Mobility, U.S. Programs
American Friends Service Committee

American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
United States

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