Interfaith Toolkit: Top 5 Ways to Take Action in the New Year
January 1 - 7, 2018
Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, is a life-saving immigration program that allows foreign nationals to remain in the U.S. if, while they were in the U.S., something catastrophic happened in their country of origin that prevented their safe return. TPS protects people from deportation and allows them to work legally while they remain in the U.S. Right now, TPS protects approximately 330,000 people in the U.S. who would otherwise be subjected to disease, violence, starvation, the aftermath of natural disasters, and other life-threatening conditions.
On September 18th, the administration terminated TPS for Sudan, effective November 2, 2018, despite ongoing conflict and displacement, while extending TPS for South Sudan for 18 months. On November 6th, the administration terminated TPS for Nicaragua, effective January 5, 2019, and was unable to decide whether to extend TPS for Honduras, resulting in an automatic six-month extension until July 5, 2018. Acting Secretary Duke signaled the possibility that the TPS designation for Honduras might also be terminated at the end of the six-month automatic extension. Most recently, on November 20th, the administration terminated TPS for Haiti, effective July 22, 2019, despite the ongoing hunger, displacement, and public health crises. The administration’s decisions are cruel, inhumane, and immoral.
Up next, we are approaching the deadline for DHS to decide whether to extend TPS for El Salvador (due January 8, 2018). As communities of faith, we urge the administration to reinstate TPS for Sudan, Nicaragua, and Haiti and extend TPS for El Salvador and Honduras for another 18 months, as the safe return of these individuals is forestalled by dire humanitarian circumstances. Terminating TPS designations places countless lives at risk of deportation back to life-threatening conditions and will tear TPS holder parents from their 273,000 U.S. citizen children. It will also separate families, devastate our economy, and destabilize regional security that drive displacement.
5 Ways to Take Action:
#1: Click Here to Urge Congress to Support TPS Holders!
Sample Script: “I’m your constituent from [CITY/TOWN], and I support Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador, and I am calling to ask you to take a stand regarding the upcoming decision about TPS for El Salvador. I urge you to do everything in your power to see that the administration extends it for at least another 18 months, and to issue statements and make floor remarks supporting Salvadoran TPS holders. I call on you to demonstrate bold leadership and support a permanent, legislative solution that protects all TPS holders from being separated from their families. My community welcomes immigrants, and I urge you to reflect the best of our American values of compassion and welcome.”
#2: Join the Prayer Chain and Share on Social Media
Take over social media with our prayers with all TPS holders and offer prayerful witness to defend TPS:
Record a video of yourself holding a printed, filled out #Faith4TPS sign: PNG
Say: My name is _________________ and I’m ______________ (faith tradition)
I am from ___________________ (city, state)
I pray with Salvadoran TPS holders to protect TPS because_______________________.
Upload your video to Twitter with the hashtags #Faith4TPS #SaveTPS #ProtectTPS and tag the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (@interfaithimm) and tweet at your members of Congress.
Post the video to Instagram and Facebook with #Faith4TPS #SaveTPS #ProtectTPS. Make the post public on Facebook and tag Interfaith Immigration Coalition and your Members of Congress!
TPS recipients are our caretakers. They're childcare workers, small business owners, gardeners, cooks, builders, and janitors. #SaveTPS #Faith4TPS #ProtectTPS
If we want to remain a compassionate nation, we cannot turn our backs on those in need. People of faith call on @realDonaldTrump to #SaveTPS #Faith4TPS #ProtectTPS
Pledge your support for Salvadoran TPS and urge the administration to extend it by 18 months! #ProtectTPS #Faith4TPS
172,000 US citizen children have a Salvadoran TPS holder parent. Extend TPS, do not separate these families. #ProtectTPS
I urge you to support TPS for El Salvador, and to find a permanent legislative solution for all TPS holders. #Faith4TPS
@DHS I call on you to make the right decision and to extend TPS for El Salvador for at least 18 months. #ProtectTPS
#3: Epiphany Resources / Local #Faith4TPS Events
FOLLOW the actions for each day’s reflections to be sure your faith voice is heard loudly in these critical days--and especially ahead of this coming Monday’s anticipated decision by DHS for Salvadorans!
Engage your Members of Congress and their staffers in conversations and visits about what you have learned--and especially share stories of TPS recipients who may be in your congregations!
Consider connecting with local TPS holders and holding a vigil on your college or university campus in support of TPS for Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, and Haitians. Invite Congress members/staff to attend these events!
Promote your actions with local media outlets. (How-to guides contained in the toolkit.)
Use the Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s Toolkit to Defend TPS to incorporate TPS holder stories and solidarity into your faith-led advocacy, worship services, scripture study, educational events, vigils, and public witness.
#4: Write for Media
Elevate the public call by publishing a letter to the editor ASAP condemning the TPS termination for Haiti, urging the administration to reinstate the designation for 18 months, and calling on Congress to pass a permanent solution for TPS holders.
Include your faith tradition, scriptural grounding, and congregational affiliation to demonstrate your connection to the community.
Call on your Member of Congress (by name!) to work to support legislation that would protect TPS holders from deportation, and do everything they can to see the administration reinstate these designations, and calling on Congress to pass a permanent solution for TPS holders.
This toolkit contains sample op-eds and letters to the editor to pitch to local media outlets.
Let us know if you get published by sending a link and the text of your media piece to email@example.com so that we can share these with your Member of Congress.
If you are a faith leader and would like support writing, pitching, or placing a faith leader piece, please reach out to Wardah Khalid and Bilal Askaryar at firstname.lastname@example.org.
#5: Write & Share Press Releases Urging an 18-month TPS Extension
Press releases increase public education and raise the public profile of why TPS is important to our communities. We encourage faith organizations to take a public stance urging the administration to extend TPS for El Salvador for at least another 18 months. Sample talking points and key facts about TPS holders are available here.
TPS Press Release Template:
Headline: [Faith organization calls on the administration to extend Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador for at least another 18 months]
[FAITH ORGANIZATION] urges the administration to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador for at least another 18 months. TPS protects individuals and families who would otherwise be in harm’s way in their countries of origin, which are recovering from catastrophic events such as natural disaster, war, famine, or disease. As [PEOPLE OF FAITH] we believe in the dignity of human life and would denounce a decision to return people to conditions where their lives will be immediately put in danger.
[INSERT QUOTE FROM LEADER OF YOUR ORGANIZATION describing country conditions--check recent reports from the United Nations or International Office of Migration--and stating that returning people to those conditions is a violation of American, moral, and faith values.]
[INSERT QUOTE FROM TPS HOLDER or family member of TPS holder in your congregation or community and what it means to have to leave the U.S. and return to unsafe conditions.]
[INSERT QUOTE FROM LEADER OF YOUR ORGANIZATION about concern with breaking up families and removing people from their communities. End by calling on the administration to extend TPS for El Salvador for 18 months and urge Congress to act to provide a permanent solution for TPS holders.]