Extending Honduran migrants’ protected status is the “right thing to do” because of the dangerous situation in their country, the U.S. bishops have said.
Hondurans with temporary protected status have “deep ties to our communities, parishes, and country,” said Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration.
“They are businesses owners, successful professionals, home owners, parents of U.S. citizen children, and most importantly, children of God,” he said Nov. 8. “We must find a solution for these individuals and their families, and we stand ready to support Congress in its effort to do so.”
An estimated 57,000 Hondurans’ protected status was automatically extended through July 5, 2018 after the Department of Homeland Security announced Nov. 6 that it needed more time to assess conditions in their country.
Renewed protected status for Hondurans comes under a humanitarian migration program that allows individuals to remain and work lawfully in the U.S. as long as it is considered unsafe for nationals to return to their home country.
Bishop Vasquez, citing a recent U.S. bishops’ report on the temporary protected status designation as it relates to Central America, said there are ongoing problems of violence and security threats, poverty, and environmental degradation.
The bishop voiced appreciation that the Department of Homeland Security is making a serious evaluation of conditions in Honduras. The extension of protected status would aid continued prosperity and growth of Honduran and regional security, he said.
He pledged the U.S. bishops’ continued engagement, information gathering, and cooperation with both the U.S. government and Catholic partners in Honduras. Their Honduran partners provide “extensive social welfare services”, working with both the U.S. and Honduran governments.
Vasquez also remembered the individuals affected by U.S. policy, saying, “my continued thoughts and prayers are with Honduran temporary protected status recipients and their families who still face uncertainty in their situation here in the United States.”
He voiced support for bipartisan efforts to find a legislative solution for Hondurans who have received protected status.