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RELEASE: U.S. Would Lose $164B in GDP Over 10 Years If TPS Holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti Were Removed from Labor Force, Finds New CAP Analysis

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Washington, D.C. — As the deadlines to make a decision about whether to continue Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti draw closer, the Center for American Progress released today new analysis providing an overview of the demographics and contributions of the more than 300,000 Salvadorans, Hondurans, and Haitians currently living in the United States under TPS, along with fact sheets for 21 states painting a picture of the TPS holders living in those states, their provenance, and their economic impact on the state’s economy. This temporary legal status is granted to individuals from designated countries facing ongoing armed conflict, disaster, or other exigent circumstances by the secretary of homeland security in consultation with the U.S. secretary of state for set periods of time, and a decision about whether to continue TPS for these three groups, which make up 90 percent of TPS holders in the United States, must be made by January 8, 2018, November 6, 2017, and November 23, 2017, respectively.

New CAP analysis finds that if Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian workers with TPS were removed from the labor force, the United States would lose $164 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) over the next decade. This adds to the impact calculated by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), which found that if TPS holders lost their work authorization, it would result in a $6.9 billion reduction to Social Security and Medicare contributions over a decade, and if they could no longer work in their current jobs, employers would experience $967 million in turnover costs.

In order to receive a work permit and time-limited protection from deportation, individuals granted TPS undergo a rigorous and continuous application and reapplication process and background checks every six to 18 months. They pay substantial fees each time, and most prove over and over that they do not pose a threat to national security. They contribute to and integrate into the United States’ economic, social, and civic spheres, and are long-term, integrated members of communities across the United States.

“Immigrants who hold TPS are deeply embedded, long time members of their communities. They are home owners and parents to U.S. citizens, they contribute to the economy, and they provide critical financial support to assist recovery and stability in their home countries—all things the Trump administration should consider as it decides the future of TPS,” said Nicole Svajlenka, senior policy analyst for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, and a co-author of the analysis. “If the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ends TPS, the program’s beneficiaries face an unthinkable choice: either returning to countries that still face many of the same conditions that led them to the initial grant of TPS, or remaining in the United States without lawful immigration status.”

Important facts about TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti:

  • On average, recipients from Honduras have lived in the United States for 22 years, from El Salvador an average of 21 years, and from Haiti an average of 13 years.
  • TPS holders are long-term, integrated members of communities across the United States, and are mostly concentrated in six states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Virginia, and Maryland.
  • Nearly one-third of households with Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS holders have mortgages, which is indicative of their active pursuit of homeownership, which brings along with it important contributions to the local economies in the form of sales and property taxes. Ending TPS would remove the ability of recipients to work legally, increasing the risk of foreclosure for families with TPS members that could have negative economic reverberations for entire communities.
  • Salvadoran, Honduran, and Haitian TPS holders have a total of 273,200 U.S.-born citizen children, who would face serious risks if TPS were eliminated.
  • A recent survey of Salvadoran and Honduran TPS holders showed that 29.7 percent of respondents reported participation in a variety of organizations, including neighborhood and work associations, schools, and sports teams, demonstrating strong ties to their communities.
  • TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti are employed at high rates, and are key contributors in the following industries: construction, restaurant and other food services, landscaping, child care, and grocery stores.
  • A recent survey found that 77 percent of Salvadoran and Honduran TPS holders send remittances amounting to 9 percent of their monthly wages back to their home countries, which are essential to facilitating the recovery and bolstering the economies of countries designated for TPS, particularly at a time when U.S. foreign aid to these countries is on the decline.

Click here to view CAP’s analysis.

Click here for the state-by-state fact sheets.

For more information or to speak to an expert on this topic, please contact Tanya Arditi at or 202-741-6258.