Libraries and Resources for Temporary Protected Status Holders

By Johana Orellana

The Secretary of Homeland Security designates Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to countries based on conditions in that  country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.  

TPS was established by Congress in the Immigration Act of 1990. Foreign nationals with TPS protections are generally able to obtain work authorization and a driver’s license, but the TPS designation is subject to U.S. government review and can only be extended for up to 18 months. Salvadorans are by far the largest group of TPS holders. There is ongoing debate about whether migrants who have been living in the United States for long periods of time with TPS should receive a pathway to legal permanent resident (LPR) status.

The following countries were designated with TPS set to expire in 2019, except for Honduras, which is set to expire in July 2018. The figures included are the number of individuals with TPS, as of October 2017: Salvadorians (262,528), Haitians (58,557), Honduras (86,031), and Nicaraguans (5,306).

Why is this important to libraries? Libraries provide access to all members of our communities, not matter their gender, race, status, or human condition. The Core Values of Librarianship states,  “We value our nation’s diversity and strive to reflect that diversity by providing a full spectrum of resources and services to the communities we serve.” With this in mind, many communities will be affected by the termination of TPS to previously designated countries of El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, and Nicaragua. Particularly large cities like Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York, Houston, etc., where many TPS holders reside. In particular, the 273,000 children who are U.S. citizens, but whose parents are TPS holders. The following are some ways that libraries can help families affected by the termination of TPS.  

One agency that librarians should be aware of is local Salvadorian, Haitian, Honduran, and Nicaraguan consulates. Patrons may need to go to their consulates to obtain birth certificates or other official documents. Librarians should know and provide patrons with consulate contact information. Consulates may not be able to help answer specific questions regarding the TPS application process. However, if you notice an increase in referrals or questions about consulates reach out to the individual consulate to prepare the agency to help their citizens.

Libraries can also refer patrons to CARECEN, the Central American Resource Center, a nonprofit organization that offers low-cost immigration legal services, community education programs, and advocacy and organizing to achieve fair and more inclusive immigration, education, and labor laws and policies in Los Angeles and the rest of the nation.

Librarians should refer patrons to USCIS approved list of DOJ-accredited representatives and organizations.

Librarians can order or print and supply Know Your Rights Cards in multiple languages to community members affected.

Librarians should use TPS fact sheets to inform Congress Members, Representatives, and Local officials of the impact TPS holders have on the economy and our country at large.

If you are unsure about what services are available to patrons in the area, call 2-1-1, a free and confidential community information and referral service.

These resources are available to help our immigrant communities find answers. Librarians are doing amazing work in serving TPS holders at a time when there are many questions and insecurity about their futures. Keep up the great work!

How to use this site

WELCOME!

This site is designed to provide high quality, relevant, reliable, and timely resources for persons assisting immigrant, refugee, and displaced persons populations and for the members of those populations themselves. We have broke out the contents into sections about Advocacy, Employment, Government Agencies, Health, Legal Aid, Libraries, and Youth and Family. There are also breakouts based on geographic location. You can also search the site and we have used metadata tags to cross reference everything as much as possible.

Please browse around and find the resources that are best for you and your populations.

Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County

JFS of Washtenaw County assists with pre-arrival processing and reception for refugees resettling in the Ann Arbor area. They provide orientation, case management, basic necessities, English and citizenship classes, short-term counseling, classes in American culture, employment services, and document translation.

Website includes Request for Help form, email address, phone number, physical address, and hours of operation.

https://jfsannarbor.org/programs-services/international-services/resettlement/

Somali Association of Arizona

The Somali Association of Arizona provides educational and community resources to help the Somali community to integrate into American society. Services include English classes, cultural orientation, housing, assistance, home furnishings, immigration services, health and wellness, women’s and children’s services, youth services, employment services, and tutoring.

http://somaliaz.com/

Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition

Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) is a statewide immigrant and refugee advocacy group that hold citizenship and rights awareness workshops. TIRRC works in local communities to provide integration services for immigrants as well as outreach to community members to build support for new immigrant communities. Citizenship workshops provide practical assistance to eligible individuals. TIRRC also offers programs that promote civic engagement for new citizens. The Coalition also provides a forum to report rights abuses, register vote, and submit Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications.

http://www.tnimmigrant.org/

The Accompany Project

Muslims, undocumented immigrants, and others who face potential violence while commuting or traveling alone can request a companion from The Accompany Project, which trains New Yorkers “to disrupt violence – particularly against Arab, Muslim and undocumented residents – and to organize for stronger, safer neighborhoods.” Those wishing to request that someone commute or travel with them can contact the Arab American Association of New York (hours, address, and contact information available on website), which to date has more than 8,000 volunteers for the project. The Accompany Project is also soliciting volunteers to assist with bystander training and organizing sessions around the city.

http://www.arabamericanny.org/accompany